Democracy for Dockbuilders

Democracy for Dockbuilders

A Partnership for a Stronger Labor Movement; for the Members, by the Members.

In early 2011, local New York leaders of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) and the Building Trades were approached by representatives of the newly formed Amalgamated Carpenters and Joiners Union, and its dockbuilders local.  They sought a democratic alternative to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (UBC) and to  rejoin the AFL-CIO and its Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD).

Amalgamated strongly objected to the UBC policies of suppressing rank and file democracy (by denying members the right to vote directly on their contracts), and the unilateral decision to consolidate UBC locals (including the dockbuilders).  It is their firm belief that their best interests are no longer being served by the current leadership of the UBC.

To rejoin the Building Trades, Amalgamated sought to affiliate with a current member of the BCTD.  In the interest of building a stronger AFL-CIO labor movement, and a unified BCTD, and to support the ideal of democratic trade unionism, the IUPAT offered to enter into an agreement of affiliation with the Amalgamated Carpenters.

In September 2011, the IUPAT and Amalgamated formalized this agreement.   Although the two unions continue to act as independent, self-directed trade unions that are run by their respective memberships, the IUPAT is providing Amalgamated Carpenters with assistance on organizing, collective bargaining, contract administration and internal organization. 

Importantly, the IUPAT and Amalgamated have pledged honor the traditional craft lines of all members of the BCTD.

The goal of this partnership is to give the members of Amalgamated every opportunity to rejoin the AFL-CIO and the BCTD as their own union.