JUNEAU — A local Juneau carpenters union has closed after more than 70 years, part of a nationwide trend aimed at cost savings and efficiencies.
Juneau’s Carpenter Union Local 2247, which represented about 150 carpenters and was in existence since 1939, has been absorbed by Anchorage’s local 1281 after recently shutting down, KTOO reported. About 35 carpenter union locals in the Pacific Northwest have closed in the past three years to join larger local unions.
Chris Dimond, a 10-year member of Local 2247, found out about the closure on Facebook.
“For me, personally, that was kind of a kick, when we’re supposed to have this brotherhood and this tight-knit community amongst ourselves and then to have that taken away without any forewarning or any real clear explanation of why it was being done,” he said.
Ben Basom, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters that represents 26,000 members in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska, said having the Juneau local absorbed by the Anchorage local is part of a nationwide effort by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters to run more efficiently and save costs.
He said an immediate benefit to members as the effort has rolled out has been a reduction in dues, though it’s too early to say if dues will go down for members of Local 1281 in Anchorage.
Without a local union hall, carpenters in Southeast Alaska fear losing their voice. There’s concern, too, that Southeast carpenters will have to share regional jobs with Anchorage carpenters.
Basom said transitions can be frightening.
“But as far as the standard order of business such as finding jobs and having contractors and dispatching members to work, it is not going to change. It’s going to be business as usual,” Basom said.