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Discontented With Carpenters' Union

April 21, 2002

As Nancy Cleeland documented in her article ("Organize or Die," March 10), Douglas McCarron's approach to organizing the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners has been a failure. McCarron justifies his dictatorship on the grounds that it is streamlining the union, cutting out the fat, getting rid of the old bureaucracy. But just about every old conservative bureaucrat has retained his job under McCarron's rule. The new ones who have been added usually have no history of concern for the union. So how can the membership take them seriously as union leaders?

If the union is to survive and grow, it must fight for the interests of the members, regain their loyalty and mobilize the present rank and file to win over the nonunion carpenters. We need a raise that enables us to buy the homes we build, an earlier retirement, a shorter workweek with no loss in pay and strict contract enforcement. In the future we will see new and bigger strikes as members fight to regain their union and use it to better their lives.

John Reimann

Former recording secretary

Carpenters Local 713

Oakland

*

Two of the trustee defendants of McCarron's 1986 civil lawsuit were Warren Driver and Jack Bernard. Warren is my father and Jack is a longtime family friend who recently passed away. Investment errors may have occurred with the carpenters' pension fund, but the underlying motive of these men was to create jobs for the carpenters and fulfill their duties as trustees. My father ran Los Angeles' oldest construction company, C.W. Driver, which was founded by my grandfather in 1919. Its reputation was impeccable.

The lawsuit never sat well with Jack or my father in their retirement years. Prior to my father's retiring, I started a small construction company. Years after the lawsuit, McCarron's staff staged a picket line at one of our job sites because we were nonunion. The protesters vandalized our site in the early morning hours and hurled insults and threats at me when I showed up. I will never forget these criminal acts toward my good company or the unjust treatment of Warren Driver and Jack Bernard.

Curtis W. Driver

Los Angeles

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