No decision announced yet in carpenters’ union merger discussionMarch 9th, 2011 by Rachel Pritchett
No one’s in a talkative mood.
But I’ve learned that Peninsula Carpenters Local 1597 is still in existence, at least as of Wednesday.
Local 1597 leaders joined those from 10 other locals in the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters on Feb. 26 in SeaTac to listen to what their future might look like with some mergers.
The 11 locals are part of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, an affiliate of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC), which called the meeting.
The UBC has merged locals all over the country in recent years as part of a streamlining effort, most recently in Oregon.
After the SeaTac meeting, representatives of locals were given time to write letters to the union suggesting how any possible mergers might occur, or why they shouldn’t occur.
Dave Mounce of Bremerton, a member of Local 470 in Tacoma, said he was upset that the general membership had no voice at SeaTac. Only the invited members of the locals’ executive boards were allowed to attend.
He suspects that in the end, the 11 locals might be consolidated down to two or three, probably along the I-5 corridor and on the Eastside. Under a merger scenario, a likely partner for Local 1597 might be Tacoma 470, Mounce said.
No one at the regional council would return my calls asking for comment.
Ownership of the carpenters’ hall on Fifth Street in Bremerton would go to the UBC, along with some assets of other merged locals, according to the charters of these very old unions. Local 1597 began in 1914.
That doesn’t sit well with some carpenters.
“I want to know where that money’s going, because it’s our money,” Mounce said.
Others say that was always the understanding.
A decision could be come in a month or so.
Local 1597 has 347 active members.
— Rachel Pritchett