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November 26, 2003

A Profile of Carpenters President McCarron

Carpenters President Doug McCarron is a controversial figure, for being too close to Bush, for leaving the AFL-CIO, for centralizing power in his own union-- and like most folks around the labor movement, it's been hard to figure out if he's a throwback to the worst of union abuses or something more interesting.

This old LA Times interview gives a more favorable verdict, although not without exploring the controversies. But if anything symbolizes the best that can be said about McCarron, it is the demolishing of its D.C. bureucracy in favor of a cutting-edge training center in Las Vegas, where members are trained in both the best skills in their trade and the ways to organize new worksites.

All told, the union spends $110 million a year on training, a truly impressive amount in a country where training for non-college workers is so abysmal.

And the Carpenters devote half of the union's budget to organizing, far beyond the levels by most unions.

The largest complaint is that consolidation is steamrolling dissent and undermining democracy in the union.

Read the interview-- it's a window into an important part of the union movement.

Posted by Nathan at November 26, 2003 12:41 PM