This year presents tremendous opportunities—and challenges--for the Carpenters Union. In 2022, you made history by winning major housing battles that put California on the path to creating new, affordable homes, and new union jobs for future generations. But we cannot rest on our victories--we have to score more achievements to keep winning the battle for union jobs, affordable housing, and increased inclusion for our Union and our country.

To that end, I am pleased to announce that T.R.U.E. (your diversity and inclusion empowerment committee) has a new coordinator, Falme Lampkins. Falme has shown initiative in moving into this role, and we will update you as this committee continues to make progress. Expect to hear about T.R.U.E. meetings at your Local Union soon.

F.O.C.U.S. (our empowerment and mentorship committee for Sisters) is active and going strong. Susan Rodriguez has stepped up as the coordinator for F.O.C.U.S., which will host our first Nor Cal wide conference for Sisters on March 18. Participation among rank-and-file is growing and there is real momentum to what we have started.

These committees exist to aid our Brothers and Sisters and build unity among our membership. Please scan the QR code, or visit our website, to sign up for any of our committees.

We need to utilize the strength of our members and the opportunities created by new legislation to organize the residential market. We cannot let future Union members be exploited by criminal builders who undercut our members and Union contractors by breaking labor laws, paying cash, and engaging in tax fraud. If we want to stoke the engine that will propel us into the future, we must take wages out of competition in the residential market. California is facing a housing crisis—and we will be the ones to solve that crisis.

The first step is to address the “crime scene” that much of residential construction has become in our state. With that in mind, your leadership team has started working with community and religious organizations to pass new, additional housing legislation. We need to be the canary in the coal mine, alerting our neighbors, communities, and leaders of the twin dangers facing California: no housing, or criminally built housing. With our new partnerships, we are building a coalition powerful enough to move mountains, or in this case, build housing in a state that has erected enormous barriers to creating new housing within existing communities.

The creation of new housing, and the additional jobs it brings, will be even more important for our members as inflation runs rampant. You, the tradespeople building our state, need the security of a steady paycheck and affordable housing. We cannot allow economic issues to stall the progress we have made, or price our members out of the state. The leadership team is looking into partnerships to provide household economic education for our membership. We will not be a Union that provides a good contract without also providing opportunities for members to educate themselves on the life skills required to succeed. We can and will continue to expand what we offer and continue to grow every member’s ability to succeed.

It is my pledge to you that in the year 2023, I will continue to push new initiatives and ideas, all to grow our strengths, opportunities, and skills. I hope to see you soon at one of our committee meetings, rallies, street actions, or your job sites.