Historic Contract Overwhelmingly Ratified

Showing true Unity in Action, our hard-working members stepped up to participate in their future by actively involving themselves in the negotiation process for our new Master Agreement. With the collective input of our membership and a disciplined and well-prepared Negotiating Committee atthe table, this contract brings the single largest economic increase negotiated in the history of the Nor Cal Carpenters Union! With the ratification vote being97%, we should all be proud of a job well done. (See article on page 4.)

Extension letters have now been sent out to our independent signatory contractors to sign. Between June 1 and July 1 of this year, all contractor snot affiliated with an employer association will have the opportunity to sign the extension agreement as negotiated. Some may choose not to. Make no mistake: those who balk shall feel the full strength of our union, including our Organizing Department. We do not doubt that we will retain our current contractor base and, just as importantly, organize new employers and markets in the coming period.

While I am proud of what we have accomplished, we need to understand that now is when the heavy lifting begins. As your elected leader, it is my responsibility to utilize every tool at our disposal to grow our union density throughout the construction market. Included in that is our recent historic agreement with major end-users that locks up 15,000 new housing units for union labor to construct. We will continue to grow out of the areas we are strong, which means we must redouble our efforts as the continued growth of our wages and fringe benefits will require it.

We need to utilize new tactics, strategies, and platforms to organize the non-union contractors – particularly in housing – to help the thousands of non-union workers who are being exploited in these industries rise up and into our union. In addition, we will have to develop new tools and points of leverage to organize markets where we no longer have control or have little presence. The alignment of Organizing, Rank and File Participation and Political Action is crucial. Our newly focused and energized political program,particularly our campaigns in San Francisco and the State Assembly to have more housing built with union labor, are but an augury of what we can achieve together.

I will always communicate openly and honestly with the membership, the delegates, and the Executive Board. I believe that honest communication, in all directions, is the key to moving our union forward. Such communication sallow for unity, new ideas, and success to be cultivated. I have always acted and will continue to act with each of your interests at the forefront of my mind. We can and will grow from strength to strength as we bring on new organizers,land historic union agreements, and build our Action Committees.

I am excited to continue this fight and take hold of our future; I hope you are too! Visit Union Action Committees to join an action committee.