STATE — The union that represents construction workers is consolidating its New Jersey locals into one office that will be based in Raritan Center in Edison.
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is dissolving local unions in Cranford, Edison, Madison, Milltown, Princeton and Trenton and creating a new Local 254 that will include 800 to 900 members.
The move is part of a larger merger that combines the Empire State Regional Council of Carpenters and the New Jersey Regional Council of Carpenters to form the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters. The new organization will include approximately 30,000 members throughout the New York and New Jersey region.
“The formation of the NRCC is an exciting opportunity for our union. It will bring many benefits to our members, including more organizational efficiency, enhanced market share and an increase in the value of carpenter brand throughout both regions,” said Frank Spencer, vice president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
Not everyone is happy about the move. Members of the former locals have questioned the disposition of assets contributed to various benefit funds before the merger.
“They took our money, $900,000 out of Local 155 in Cranford,” said one unemployed carpenter.
A new website — http://newjerseycarpentersunited.com/ — is attempting to organize New Jersey carpenters and “Separate ourselves from the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and become an independent union in control of our own destiny.”
Eric Franklin, communications director for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, says such consolidations are taking place across the country. He says it will allow the union to get rid of buildings that aren’t used often enough, reduced duplicated work and help reduce union dues.
Franklin says the statewide restructuring would eliminate the jobs of five or six secretaries.
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