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Consolidation of Montana Locals (with comments)
— by anonymous anonymous
http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_52594c31-a331-50d8-9acb-132075fae833.html
Takeover of carpenters' union locals is shameful

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2011 12:00 am

I would like to comment on the recently announced consolidation of the carpenters local union halls across Montana. This action was taken by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters without any input by the members of the local unions.

The UBC thought it necessary to slip into Billings under the cover of darkness and call the locals president and financial secretary at 6 a.m. to announce their arrival and demand access to all financial documents and files.

lt took two days for them to make sure that they were not going to leave anything of value behind and shred all the files so no one would know that Local 1172 ever was a part of Billings or eastern Montana. We carpenters have been conducting business out of our local halls with our dues money for years without financial assistance from anyone and use all our facilities regularly.

The democratic process that has served all Americans and carpenters alike has also been taken away. The officers of our new "local" have been appointed for us. These new officers appear to be made up of Regional Council staff members with a few exceptions.

I have also learned that they will all be flying to Las Vegas for "training." Now that should save the members money. If they are really serious about saving the working carpenters in Montana money and reducing the dues we pay, they could stop sucking nearly 4 percent out of our paycheck every week.

There has been no announcement as to how they plan to use the $125,000 that left Billings. Our pension fund could sure use the help.

Mark Lincoln

Bridger

http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/mailbag/article_52594c31-a331-50d8-9acb-132075fae833.html?mode=comments
(20) Comments

1. KarnakTM said on: April 22, 2011, 6:06 pm
          Gooooooooooaaaallllllll, a twofer with home town traveler. Pathetic indeed. Maybe you need to get into your medical marijuana as well. Gotta mellow out, not take life so seriously, as "Dear Leader" and his ilk will take care of you. Won't he? Maybe you were in Madison as well.

2. home town traveler said on: April 22, 2011, 5:45 pm
          Karnak, Unless you have field experience in Montana locals do as The CarsonCityKid says and STFU. If the jobs done were easy the likes of yu could do them.
         
3. KarnakTM said on: April 22, 2011, 4:34 pm
          CarsonCityKid; whoa a hot button. Typical bottom feeder leftist, when one runs out of argument resort to cursing at and silencing the opposition. Did I see you on TV in Madison? So in the spirit of equality, you are a government dependent leftist so you should be all about equality, you also may take this opportunity to "Stifle Yourself Edith". Maybe get into your medical Marijuana a little and then you can mellow out.
          In closing, it is more than common knowledge that unions of all stripe donated heavily to elect "Dear Leader" and his Democrat ilk. Have a great evening, unless you have made other plans.

4. CarsonCityKid said on: April 22, 2011, 3:26 pm
          KarnakTM, you don't have a clue so STFU!
          In 1953, there were 30 Carpenter Locals in Montana with a membership of several thousand. By March of 2011, there were six Locals left. There were other Local unions affiliated with the International Carpenters Union that worked in the sawmills and pulp industries. We were your neighbors and your friends and we were respected by the communities that we lived in because of our dedication to our families, our communities and our work ethic. Many of the homes and business built during that time were built with union carpenters. Most of the Carpenters were veterans that learned their craft in the military and honed their skills on the job and in apprenticeship training after they mustered out. Today, the younger members know nothing of the past sacrifices,unsafe working conditions, no pensions, no health care, no BIG FAT WAGES, etc.
          Since the early 1960's, there has not been one Montana Carpenter Union Officer or member charged with theft of union funds or of spending the members money fraudulently. I cannot speak for what went on in other areas of the country, but here, the Carpenters Union has always operated legally and every dime of the memberships monies was accounted for through monthly audits by Union Trustees and by semi-annual and annual audits by outside CPA firms. The requirements for reporting to the federal government on monies collected and spent by Unions is well documented in the DOL's files. In fact the reporting requirements have been increased at a great expense for all unions.
          There is a lot more to this story than the newspapers are printing and you will not find the answers here in these comment sections unless you know the cast of characters involved. I been there for over 36 years and watched the international organization destroy a very good group of guys and gals that helped build this state. So unless you know the factual information, just please keep your caustic comments to yourselves and let us die in peace.

5. beans said on: April 22, 2011, 2:50 pm
          Its a shame that the people can't realize the monies donated by Local 1172 to the town of Billings ie; baseball teams, special olympics, Billings Young Marines, Zoo Montana, (not to mention the other locals that were ousted) the list goes on and on. Wake up America before its too late.

6. Donny said on: April 22, 2011, 1:30 pm
          KarnakTM
          "Just think, all of that dues that was mismanaged probably ended up in the coffers of "Dear Leader" to get him elected."

          You may not know but against the wishes of the membership the CEO of the Carpenters, Doug McCarron" donated significant amounts of the members dues money to Republican candidates. He regularly flew on Air Force 1 with GW Bush who used the Carpenters as a backdrop for many photo opportunities.

          Doug McCarron also endorsed Scott Walker for Governor of Wisconsin, and Norm Coleman in Minnesota.

          One of the first action items undertook by the McCarron family after seizing power was to withdraw the Carpenters Union from the AFL-CIO against the wishes of the membership.

          The problem that we now face is the fact the Carpenters are no longer a Union but a business. Rank and file members are no longer able to vote on contracts or elect their Business Representatives. The membership simply pays a fee to get a job, just like a temp agency. Our contracts were recently cut by $10 an hour without a vote of the membership. Many of us wish we were what you think of when you say Union.

          Those on the political right should love the new Carpenters. Clearly it does not stand for workplace democracy, job site safty or collective bargaining. Now we talk about "market share" and "return on investment" and kicking out workers who the employers say don't meet their expectations. We are no different than Labor Ready.

          So if you don't object to Labor Ready you shouldn't have a problem with the new carpenters organization under Doug McCarron.

7. GGpap said on: April 22, 2011, 12:49 pm
          It's time to form your own "local" union, Mark. Chalk up your losses and start anew.

         GGpap

8. KarnakTM said on: April 22, 2011, 11:51 am
          Just think, all of that dues that was mismanaged probably ended up in the coffers of "Dear Leader" to get him elected.
         
9. Donny said on: April 22, 2011, 10:13 am
          Understand that though the International had a role in this action, the Regional Council had two staff members write a letter to Doug McCarron requesting the closing of Local Unions and the creation of new Locals. The Regional Council states that the reasons closing Local Union were fiscal and that it lowered over the counter dues. What was not said was that the Regional Council is increasing dues check off. This is by far a greater increase in dues than the savings realized by lowering over the counter dues. The consolidation started when the Regional Council was found to be cheating in Local 1144's elections. The Regional Council was found to have brought in a bunch of non-members to vote and get their slate elected. Local 1144's members had to pay to have another election because of the Regional Council's actions, and in the second election the entire Regional Council slate was rejected by the membership. This infuriated Doug Tweedy, Rob Van Alstyne, Eric Franklyn,Jimmy Haun, and Jimmy Matta. How did they deal with it? They simply dissolved the Local Unions, threw every delegate who was elected by the rank and file membership out of office and appointed the Regional Council slate who had been defeated in the earlier election. Along with this the Regional Council seized all Local Union assets, ($2.4 million from lu 1144 alone), and fired all office staff, some of which had worked for the Local Unions for over a decade. The Regional Council then replaced the all secretarial staff who were members of opeiu, (the secretaries union), with non union personal. Now Doug Tweedy says he is no longer a Union but a business and he is the ceo. The staff have also changed their classifications to things like the Assistant to the ceo or the cfo, coo or the cco. It obvious that the Carpenters Union is now Carpenters Temp Agency Inc. While our pensions are on the rocks due to the Regional Council's Trusties fiscal mismanagement, the Assistant to the CEO, Rob Van Alstyne is allowing contractors not to pay their trust fund obligations or deposit vacation funds into the members accounts. The Regional Council leadership has lost their way and it's time to run these goons out of office and restore control back to the members.
         
10. Donny said on: April 22, 2011, 10:10 am
          Understand that though the International had a role in this action, the Regional Council had two staff members write a letter to Doug McCarron requesting the closing of Local Unions and the creation of new Locals.

          The Regional Council states that the reasons closing Local Union were fiscal and that it lowered over the counter dues. What was not said was that the Regional Council is increasing dues check off. This is by far a greater increase in dues than the savings realized by lowering over the counter dues.

          The consolidation started when the Regional Council was found to be cheating in Local 1144's elections. The Regional Council was found to have brought in a bunch of non-members to vote and get their slate elected.

          Local 1144's members had to pay to have another election because of the Regional Council's actions, and in the second election the entire Regional Council slate was rejected by the membership. This infuriated Doug Tweedy, Rob Van Alstyne, Eric Franklyn,Jimmy Haun, and Jimmy Matta.

          How did they deal with it? They simply dissolved the Local Unions, threw every delegate who was elected by the rank and file membership out of office and appointed the Regional Council slate who had been defeated in the earlier election. Along with this the Regional Council seized all Local Union assets, ($2.4 million from LU 1144 alone), and fired all office staff, some of which had worked for the Local Unions for over a decade. The Regional Council then replaced the all secretarial staff who were members of OPEIU, (the secretaries union), with non union personal.

          Now Doug Tweedy says he is no longer a Union but a business and he is the CEO. The staff have also changed their classifications to things like the Assistant to the CEO or the CCO, COO or the CFO. It obvious that the Carpenters Union is now Carpenters Temp Agency Inc.

          While our pensions are on the rocks due to the Regional Council's Trusties fiscal mismanagement, the Assistant to the CEO, Rob Van Alstyne is allowing contractors not to pay their trust fund obligations or deposit vacation funds into the members accounts.

          The Regional Council leadership has lost their way and it's time to run these goons out of office and restore control back to the members.
         
11. Veritas said on: April 22, 2011, 9:39 am
          The Unions could care less, as long as they have their members money they will do what they want with it, be damned the members.
         
12. JeffP40 said on: April 22, 2011, 9:24 am
          Typical union, typical leftists, typical totalitarianism. I bet they will say it is all for the good of the workers. Haven't heard that before have we?

          Same thing we are hearing from the idiot dems about how we are balancing the budget on the back of the elderly and poor. It will only stop when the "working man" stops believing liars.

13. Rancher59042 said on: April 22, 2011, 8:10 am
          americans have had it with unions, particularly unionized goverment workers. the unions have out lived there usefullness and they too will fall in 2012 when obama is finally removed from office.

14. EvilTwin said on: April 22, 2011, 7:11 am
         cosmic cowboy, don't feed the trolls.
         
15. cosmic cowboy said on: April 22, 2011, 6:56 am
         Good letter Mark. Billy, too bad someone didn't tell you "If you can't say anything nice don't say anything". That sure would make this blog a better place.
         
16. billmillerjr said on: April 22, 2011, 6:20 am
          another reason why unions are on the way out---
         
17. CarsonCityKid said on: April 22, 2011, 5:21 am
          Libertarian, you don't know nothing so don't speculate. Butte had nothing to do with it and Butte Local 112 is gone also.

          Mark, you served your union well in the office that you held and by your actions in writing a letter that needed to be written. Carpenters Local 1172 was part of Billings since 1905 when it was chartered the second time and in all of those years, many of Billings finest craftsmen worked and made their homes in the area. Many of those early "hands" went on to be successful construction company owners that employed members of the local union.

          Billings lost a good organization that was active in many community affairs throughout the years. Those of us that watched the process unfold were deeply sadden.
         
18. cme said on: April 22, 2011, 3:11 am
          it is just another example of how most unions do business. the country needed them at one point in time. but there is no need for them now, except to keep lazy people working. don't get me wrong,not all union workers are lazy. but when lazy people join the union, you can't hardly fire them. and the unions don't do that much good for an honest, hard working person.
         
19. Last Ride said on: April 22, 2011, 1:08 am
          When are you folks going to learn that the unions support one thing, themselves. Good luck sheep.
         
20. libertarian said on: April 22, 2011, 12:24 am
          This is what happens when members don't control their union. Did the Butte local need the money that bad?