‘Labor can be stronger together’

Labor Council’s Pat White responds to Carpenter changes with call for unity


“We should all be under the same tent…. Labor can be stronger together,” said St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White during a St. Louis Public Radio interview last week discussing the recent dissolution of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, removal of the council’s leadership and the transfer of all functions of the council to Chicago.

St. Louis Public Radio invited White to discuss the issue along with Anita Manion, Ph.D., an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Noting that the Carpenters union pulled out of the St. Louis Labor Council and the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council some years ago, White said he hoped the leadership of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters would consider the benefits of reuniting with the rest of the Labor Movement in St. Louis.

“What we can do together was clear in our joint efforts in 1978 and 2018 defeating of ‘right-to-work’ and subsequently fighting to protect prevailing wages and against paycheck deception. Going forward, I’m hoping we can solve issues that have kept us apart and when the dust settles, we can make something good out of what is now a difficult situation,” White said.

Noting that both the Carpenters and Electricians unions were founded in St. Louis, White said he would like to meet with the Chicago leadership at some point to help foster the unity that’s essential to a stronger Labor Movement here that works to improve the lives and livelihoods for the hundreds of thousands of working men, women and families served by the Labor Council’s affiliates.

“We’re all better when we’re fighting for the same thing together,” White said.

Chicago Carpenters Council welcomes local members

Gary Perinar, secretary-treasurer of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, last week welcomed their newest 20,000 members from the now-disbanded St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Council of Carpenters with a simple message: “Welcome to the family!”

Perinar was direct and forthright in addressing how the transfer of leadership will impact local members.  Perinar said the restructuring:

• Will NOT impact the terms of collective bargaining agreements.

• Will NOT change the payment of wages and fringe benefit contributions.

• WILL give the new combined 50,000-member strong union “even more power to negotiate the industry’s best wages, healthcare and retirement benefits.”

“This is a positive development that will benefit our combined membership and grow our market share,” Perinar stressed. “Our new combined Regional Council will gain significant leverage when our signatory contractors bid projects, which in turn will generate even more man-hours for our members.”

Pointing out that his philosophy, “… has always prioritized putting members first, I look forward to building a long and productive working relationship with you and earning your trust and respect.” He thanked his newest members for their “hard work every day to be the best in your craft and set the bar for what is possible in our industry.”

Perinar said more information on how the merger and restructuring of the Chicago Council will work will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.


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