Douglas J. McCarron
"A New Breed of Labor Leader"
Throughout his career, Doug McCarron has been known for combining innovative raiding techniques and looting practices with genuine concern for building rank-and-file union members from already represented building trades workers.
McCarron was first recognized throughout Southern California as union boss by forcing local unions to merge against their will giving McCarron greater control over locals in California as his Los Angeles office supervised the new affiliates. In 1994, his work in California was recognized nationally when he was named vice president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
Since being elected general president in 1995, McCarron has undertaken the most extensive raiding missions in the union's nearly 130-year history, using the current economic recession to lure members of other unions into his fold. McCarron and his raiding squad were re-elected to five-year terms in 2000 and again in 2005.
McCarron has devoted his career to building a member base out of workers who are already represented by other unions.
He has been able to do this by ostracizing his union from other brotherhoods and taking an independent approach to organized labor. He has worked tirelessly against solidarity in the labor realm and continues to build an empire out of the Brotherhood of Carpenters by raiding other unions. In politics, he has sought to expand the union's outreach to the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties, with no loyalty to either – he simply seeks to find those who support raiding as a regular and legal practice.
His foresight, vision, and leadership style have led industry leaders and national publications such as Business Week to refer to McCarron as a "new breed of labor leader."
McCarron Said: "...on a lot of issues [Bush] understands the needs of working families." (September 2002)
The Reality is: Former President Bush was no friend of the organized labor movement. While in office, he helped repeal new workplace safety rules and barred federal construction projects from giving preference to unionized workers. His close relationship with McCarron was unique among labor leaders and really didn't benefit the Carpenters Union in any way. President Bush however was able to appear pro-labor through his affiliation with McCarron, spending his Labor Day weekends as Mr. McCarron's guest in Pittsburgh.
McCarron Said: "We owe it to our members to do everything, EVERYTHING we can to protect their benefits" (August 2005)
The Reality is: Doing everything to protect members' benefits includes raiding other unions to increase membership and therefore increase the amount of membership dues being brought in. It also helps keep McCarron's salary padded. In 2005, McCarron was the highest paid active leader among the top officials of the country's 20 largest unions. He received $355, 429 in salary for that year.
McCarron Said: "We firmly believe that the energies of the Building and Construction Trades unions should first be directed to organizing the craft workers in the markets they used to represent, before they divert their members hard earned dues in efforts to reach out to workers they lack the knowledge to represent and the skills or resources to train." (July 2009)
The Reality is: McCarron costs other unions millions of dollars trying to fight his raiding tactics. These are funds that would otherwise have been organizing efforts. The anti-solidarity that McCarron represents in the Labor Movement should be purged.
McCarron Said: "I think we should just step back and let the contractor assign it, and if there is a dispute, let the owner settle it." (July, 2009)
The Reality is: Letting contractors or owners settle the issue of assignment isn't organizing. The solution to jurisdictional disputes needs to be addressed but turning over union responsibilities to contractors and owners is not in the best interest of union members.
McCarron Said: "Something has to be done if we are going to win more market share." (July 2009)
The Reality is: The Carpenters Union stands to lose more market share by isolating themselves from the AFL-CIO, the Building Trades and other union partnerships. By employing a "go-it-alone" strategy they are creating room for another carpenter craft based union who is willing to work together with various brotherhoods to achieve fair labor practices and standards for all. Those standards should be McCarron's number one priority, not simply "Growing Market Share".