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Open Letter To John Sweeney
John Sweeney
President AFL-CIO
815 16th St, NW
Washington DC 20006
Fax 202-637-5058

Dear President Sweeney,

With regard to the pending disaffiliation of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJ), we are appalled at the situation and angered that Douglas McCarron, General President, would make this careless decision and force it on the membership of the UBCJ who have been left completely left out of the decision-making process. While UBCJ leadership may lay claim to a delegate vote at our last convention, we have found no local or membership gathering where this issue was discussed and at this time, most members are unaware of the issue. Where we have raised the issue, the overwhelming sentiment is against pulling out of the AFL-CIO; not only by UBCJ members, but other skilled trades members as well.

We have no illusions, President Sweeney; this event will be catastrophic for the entire labor movement and will touch off a devastating internal labor war that has the potential to destroy our precious union. A war that will lead violence and bloodshed in the workplace, union raiding, and open a chasm for the Business Roundtable to sound the death rattle for the house of labor. The UBCJ will become the next labor-ready workforce in America, as we cannibalize jobs from our brothers and Sisters in other unions. We will become the Scab and Rat contractors we have every right to despise.

With regard to McCarron's request to suspend portions of the AFL-CIO constitution concerning jurisdiction; we urge you to refuse to do so. Again, McCarron is not representing the will of rank and file UBCJ members; but instead reinforcing his cozy and questionable relationships with employers at the expense of our members. At the same time, he is asking for permission to steal work belonging to other union members, create tiered wages, and create a race to the bottom for all union members. All of these actions are "Anti-Union" behaviors that deny fundamental union values. In the UBCJ, members are denied representation, democracy and denied even the right to enforce safety without fear of repercussion. We have no voice in who represents us; no vote on business agents, no vote on District Council representation, no vote on national leaders, and in many cases, no vote on contracts. These anti-union dynamics are much of the reason we are faced with the crisis we have today, not only in the UBCJ, but other unions as well; including the AFL-CIO itself. McCarron and his staff have behaved like "Thugs" in their efforts to take total control over the members they are supposed to represent, while they perpetuate the biggest lie in the labor movement; "we did it for the good of the union".

We were shocked, President Sweeney, to learn the UBCJ was millions of dollars in arrears in per capita payments to the AFL-CIO; shocked to learn that UBCJ leadership misrepresented the number of members it had to avoid those payments. We are angered that UBCJ leadership has failed to represent us in AFL-CIO conventions and Executive Council meetings. We have grave concerns as to where the money has gone that we pay in dues for those purposes. We are deeply concerned by the large-scale corruption we see throughout affiliated unions, the AFL-CIO, and the damage it is doing to our creditability and effectiveness.

Make no mistake President Sweeney, McCarron and his dictatorship does not deserve all the blame for the crisis in the house of labor. The AFL-CIO and its Executive Council have failed to effectively deal with jurisdictional disputes; have failed to organize; and purposely failed to mobilize and empower the memberships where our collective strength lies. They have failed to build effective coalitions, sought "partnerships" with the bastards of the boardrooms and cut sweetheart deals; they have become the mirror image of our natural enemies. The AFL-CIO has failed to provide a vehicle for local bodies or members who are increasingly victims of national leaders who violate their own constitutions, impose unwarranted trustee-ships, or decertify locals unjustly. The AFL-CIO has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on democrats who betrayed America with NAFTA, GATT, and attempted to pass the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment. Money that could have been spent organizing, mobilizing, and building coalitions with working America to save the democracy and sovereignty of this nation. There is a moral and social deficit in the house of labor; so visible, many working people no longer feel the desire to organize. Labor has lost and failed to support every major struggle in the last two decades; those we hope to organize have been watching. Business unionism is accomplishing what Corporate America never could; much of it during your watch.

We hope, President Sweeney, you will give serious consideration to our concerns and recognize that McCarron's actions do not represent the membership of the UBCJ or the good of the all unions. Clearly, the membership must be a consideration in any decisions on this matter and there must be a mechanism available to membership bodies wishing to remain in the AFL-CIO. We are convinced McCarron's actions should we disaffiliate, will destroy the UBCJ as we know it. If the AFL-CIO suspends the articles concerning jurisdiction, it will damage every union.

Steering Committee
Carpenters for a Democratic Union International.

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