Celebrating Historic Contract Wins & Building for the Future

As you are aware, the contract that we negotiated in 2022 was historic in terms of the economic increases we fought for and won. I am immensely proud of, and grateful to, the negotiating committee, made up of Rank-and-File Members and staff. You, as the Members of this Union, empowered the leadership team to go out and fight for your interests- and that is what we are doing and will continue to do.

Our victory means that starting July 1, 2024, a Journey-level Carpenter will see an addition $3.62 on their wages, as well as an additional $0.19 to their Vacation, Holiday and Sick Fund, $0.15 cents to their Pension Fund, and $0.28 to their Annuity. That money goes directly to benefit you and your families now, and in the future.

Given the inflation each of us is facing, these increases could not come at a better time. Cost of living has gone up significantly, and while that has slowed in recent months, I am sure many of us are feeling the pinch. Despite the higher cost of necessities, I want to encourage those of you who can, to utilize the 401(K)- plan offered through the Carpenter Funds Administrative Office to put money aside for the future. The 401(K) can be a great addition to your Pension and Annuity benefits when you retire. The Union, its staff and leadership will continue to fight for each of you, but each of you can also do your part to prepare for your families’ futures.

Many of you know that part of the fight to protect your interests has been working to keep costs down for Health and Welfare, especially as Kaiser has been implementing massive price increases. This has included the involvement of dozens of Rank-and-File Members taking our message directly to Kaiser and the public through hand bills and banners.

Fortunately, through the hard work of staff Members, coupled with healthy reserves, we are confident that the allocations in the upcoming increases will not be affected. The Health and Welfare Trustees will continue to keep a sharp eye on this ongoing challenge of ever-escalating health care costs.

In other good news, I am happy to announce that our Stewards Program is beginning to gain traction. We have had trainings throughout the jurisdiction and have dozens of Stewards on job sites and in our shops. These Members who have stepped up are out there protecting our Brothers and Sisters on their jobsites, and their time and energies are crucial to keeping our Union strong. Remember, our Stewards are on the front line in the fight to protect our work, and each Member has the ability to help make sure no other craft tries to undercut us.

I encourage each of you to go to our website and sign up for the Steward’s training. We are our Brother’s and Sister’s keeper— and we should all stand united to fight for our future.

Organizing for the Future

Your Organizing Department continuously works to lock up future job opportunities. One of those drives led to a huge win: construction of 1,200 residential units over a 10 year buildout period. The Serramonte Del Rey Campus project in Daly City is connected to the Jefferson Union High School District. NCCU staff and Rank-and-File Members showed up with strong messages during the public comment period, and drove the fight to make sure these units were built using our labor standards and our Members.

I want to thank the 34 individual Members who spoke to the Board about how these projects impact them and their families. We are also grateful for the support we received from our friends, Senator Scott Wiener, the Bay Area Council, and local elected officials. Carpenter solidarity, combined with effective political action from Local 217 and the Organizing Department, was the key to this success.

We also coordinated efforts with the Western States Regional Council to take on Comstock Homes. Comstock’s 225-room hotel and $200 million dollars of Tenant Improvements to commercial space will provide work opportunities to our Central Coast Members for years to come. Working with the Western States, we hit Comstock on every front, successfully driving the developer- owner to sign a Letter of Intent that formally locks in the work for us. These efforts lead directly to work opportunities for you. I am proud of the combined efforts of both Councils. When we fight as one, the fight is won!

Training for the future

We have been collaborating with, and influencing the positions of, community-based organizations and local tribes to secure work in the Offshore Wind (OSW) market.

The Organizing Department’s renewable energy team’s efforts have led to agreements that will protect our work and create partnerships to meet the workforce training needs of the industry in remote Humboldt County. Technology in our industry will evolve, so it is crucial we have the design and provide training and certifications that ensure our Members are prepared to perform the work in these emerging industries that is rightfully ours.

We are making great strides training our Members as we see the need. Our local training centers, in collaboration with the Divers Institute of Technology, are offering the Helmet Technician Class to our Pile Drivers. We are certifying up to eight Members at a time through a three-day program.

We believe our future is best secured by getting ahead of technological change. We provide training to prepare our Members to be the “go to” employees for utilizing new technologies adopted by our signatory partners.

For example, we now offer Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) training, giving our Members the opportunity to “drive” unoccupied underwater vehicles. Eight members of Pile Drivers Local 34 were sent to the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Commercial Dive Center to get certified, which will allow them to compete for jobs with evolving requirements.

Finally, we are in our second year of joint training with Operating Engineer Apprentices. The partnership has allowed us to purchase our own pile driving hammer, set of leads, and the rigging required to properly train apprentices. We continue to look to the future to know what skills we need to be teaching and learning today.

These are just a few highlights showing what we can achieve when we have focused collaboration between the Union and Training teams that includes robust involvement of our Rank-and- File Members. As we move towards the busy summer months, I encourage all of you to participate in Union activity and help secure our collective futures.

The Union jobs you help organize and create may be your own!