• authored by retailworker
  • published Thu, Sep 5, 2002

Who's Playin' Who?

I thought some of the more historically knowledgeable people could shed some light on the Bush/Hoffa/McCarron courtship ritual:

What's up with that?

  • posted by siggy
  • Wed, Sep 4, 2002 9:53pm

Is this for real or just a new political swap meet?

  • posted by licatsplit
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 6:53am

Both McCarron and Hoffa Jr. believe unions should be run by the top down biz union approach with no input from the power source what-so-ever. McCarron and Hoffa have capitalistic ambitions which could utilize the support of the Republicans. Both unions these two preside over have many reformers who are not willing to give up their rights and democratic principles. In the US, labor has always been linked to the Democratic Party through history. McCarron and Hoffa have a format which states they no longer blindly support any particular party but will support whoever supports them. This might mean more if they were themselves supporting a democratic member run union!


McCarron, 46, a former drywall carpenter from Los Angeles, who was recently elected to his second five-year term, is determined to transform the carpenters union into a "wall-to-wall" organization, through which contractors could be assured of lining up the services of ironworkers, bricklayers, laborers, plumbers and other trades for a complete construction job. He has won over a number of contractors who see "wall-to-wall" as a more efficient and less costly way of doing business. McCarron hopes to attract tens of thousands of non-union workers in all crafts who are willing to work at below the union scale and with fewer benefits.

If McCarron goes ahead with his plans, it will amount to a declaration of jurisdictional war with the other crafts, with predictable turmoil for the construction industry.

Some rank-and-file carpenters are dismayed at the McCarron move, but they have little power to change his course. In his first term, McCarron instituted mandatory by-laws for regional councils which virtually stripped local unions of their power.

Kenneth Little, chairman of the Carpenters for a Democratic Union, said: "McCarron is turning our union into a corporate business and is trying to make its members into a 'Labor Ready' organization for the job market. McCarron wants us to steal the work of the other trades." Little ran for president on a rank-and-file ticket against McCarron last year and received 10% of the vote. web page

The new Building Trades Federation being proposed by Carpenters President, Douglas McCarron, will be in the image of the current Carpenters Union, in which the membership is totally disenfranchised from decision-making and no accountability exists in regards to dues and pension fund monies.

The new Building Trades Federation structure being proposed will also lead to chaos within the construction industry as attempts will be made to begin a series of hostile takeovers of some unions by other unions, all without any knowledge or input from their rank and file members. The instability that will result from this will have a tremendous potential for violence on and off construction industry job-sites.

CDUI Carpenters for a Democratic Union International
Ken Little



Hoffa's Claim to Running a Clean Union Again Fails Reality Test

So far, there are no signs that Hoffa will or can mobilize the kind of rank-and-file involvement that made such an outstanding contract possible. A former lawyer, he prefers a top-down leadership style with a minimal role for union members. On the other hand, TDU is determined to organize UPS employees for an active role at every stage of the contract negotiations, as it did so effectively in 1997.

Perhaps the smartest move Hoffa could make would be to work out an arrangement with TDU leaders. He needs their savvy and grassroots mobilizing skills. web page

  • posted by retailworker
  • Thu, Sep 5, 2002 1:12pm


In his first term, McCarron instituted mandatory by-laws for regional councils which virtually stripped local unions of their power.

How do you institute mandatory by-laws? How does that work?

So he's strengthening central control while the workers are actually receiving lower wages as a trade off for wall-to-wall deals with employers which none-the-less allow him to grow membership?

So it's a trade off: more members for less money, less democracy?

How does this compare with unions like the UFCW that were built out of mass consolidation of previously existing unions? What's the new twist (besides courting the Repugs)?

  • posted by licatsplit
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 1:20am


How do you institute mandatory by-laws? How does that work?

When there aren't any democratic principles within a union, they can basically institute any by-law changes they want. The UA has done this many times in the past. My local's national officers actually broke our local into four regions a few years ago with no input or vote from the membership.

I would say the biggest difference between the UFCW in their consolidation techniques and the CJU is the fact that McCarron has stood apart and pulled his union out of the AFL-CIO. In Canada, what would happen if the UFCW walked out of the CLC and said they were no longer a part of their organization? Would they be able to do this is Canada?

  • posted by Scott Mcpherson
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 9:04am


Little ran for president on a rank-and-file ticket against McCarron last year and received 10% of the vote

I just don't buy these election results. If a guy is so willing to take his members out of the equation then what would stop him from fixing the election? if union leaders continue to fix elections to prevent reform than isn't it safe to say union leaders and the politicians that support/protect them are a direct threat to our civil liberties and independence?

Mainstream union leaders like McCarron and Hofa Jr are a direct threat to all working people and they have to be stopped by any means possible. On the on hand we have the business community that wishes us to live like endentured servants, on the other we have union leaders who expect us to live like pawns. Either way working people are going to suffer.

We need a new union, one formed on the principles originally intended to govern unions to emerge. We need the most talented people to help get that union started and unfortunately we need some very serious financial backing to keep it a float until it's fiscally sound enough to go it alone.

Then we need that union to focus primarily on liberating working people trapped in the types of unions lead by McCarron and Hoffa. Workers need a civil war to unify and eliminate unworthy mainstream unions from the face of the earth. We need a grass roots movement who's sole purpose is to unify the left by eliminating right wing imposters that threaten to destroy our very way of life. And we need it fast.

In retail powerful non union employers like Wal-mart are destroying any unionized employers that get in their way. In just a few short years Wal-mart has risen to #1 for overall gross food stuff sales holding down more than 10% of the U.S. market. That number is only going to grow and corrupt and dusfuntional unions like the UFCW have no value to the Wal-marts of the world and disconnected from their members will undoubtedly be wiped out. But their is no such threat for industries like construction and McCarron looks poised to be unstoppable.

A powerful well run union could topple him simply by bankrupting his union via endless raids and legal battles. Being a despot he doesn't have the luxery of grass roots support he has to keep buying the silence and loyalty of his "supporters". That makes him very weak and vulnerable. The same is true of most mainstream unions.

Workers cannot change their existing unions, but if this white knight union[s] can be created and survive long enough to gain momentum they can flock to it in groves and wipe out unions that conspire with our employers to undermine our way of life.

  • posted by Troll
  • Fri, Sep 6, 2002 10:40am

Corporatized unions will never correct corporatized unionism.

It's been so long since real unionism has existed that people who work for a living don't have a real understanding of what it will take to wrest back control of their working lives.

In the short run for especially egregious cases, an existing union from within the corrupted system may be the immediate answer. However, any union that operates on the corporatized or service model may have to be dramatically ripped from the system and forged into a leaderless vehicle that can carry people who work for a living to freedom and prosperity.

If you really want change then you have to change your thinking about what a union is and should be. The history of the IWW will give you a foundation and attention to technology, and "glocalism" (read the above link for an explanation) will create opportunities for freedom and power not available to existing union structures, models and hierarchies.

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