Carpenters’ Union Voting Guide

October 9, 2023

Joining a union for carpenters comes with some major advantages, including higher pay, better fringe benefits, and better working conditions. All of these would not be possible without union voting. 

In most cases, any employee can form a union–even workers at a small business can unionize. Unions aren’t reserved for employees at large corporate jobs, and many union members find that it isn’t hard to unionize as long as you know your rights.

Carpenters aren’t the exception. While it may seem like a gray area, given that the majority of independent contractors do not qualify for unions, carpenters can work for union contractors. Even in states with right-to-work laws, carpenters can get union-negotiated wage rates, participate in union health and pension plans, and attend other training programs or apprenticeship programs provided by the union.

In this article, we’ll dive into popular unions for carpenters in the United States, how to join your local carpenters’ union, and how to vote in union elections.

Popular Unions for Carpenters

The largest union for carpenters in the United States is the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC). It has over a half-million members and more than 135 years of history with the goal of establishing job fairness and family-sustaining wages and benefits. This union has a large national network, and in order to join, you should start by contacting your nearest UBC council. The UBC website has a link that allows you to search for the nearest UBC council in your region.

Other popular unions in the United States include:

  • North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters: This council is chartered by the UBC and represents more than 27,000 union members in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
  • Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters: This council is also chartered by the UBC and represents West Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
  • Southwest Mountain States Regional Council of Carpenters: This UBC-affiliated union represents more than 90,000 members in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Alaska.
  • North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters: This union represents more than 30,000 carpenters, pile drivers, millmen, and more in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.
  • Mid-American Carpenters Regional Council: With more than 52,000 members, this union services carpenters in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Eastern Iowa.

Many of these councils are growing or merging with other councils to increase the power in numbers and benefits for union members. We recommend researching a local chapter of any of these unions in your city or state.

Joining a Union

If you are looking to join a carpenter’s union, there are two ways to go about it: start an apprenticeship, or apply to join the union if you are already an established carpenter. Keep in mind that different chapters and local councils have varying rules and regulations regarding membership, so contact the union representatives in your area.

You may find committing to a smaller, local union meets your specific needs best. But larger chapters or national unions generally have a larger wealth of resources to advocate for your rights.

Typically, members will have to apply and offer proof of their skills and ability to perform the duties demanded on a worksite. After acceptance, members pay dues and may have to take additional training before officially joining the union.

How to Vote

The larger the chapter, the more difficult it can be to keep members engaged in the union. It can be more difficult to arrange for large populations to participate in elections due to finding physical space, spending time and money on setting up physical ballots or complicated voting systems, and finding a time that works for the majority of your union.

ElectionBuddy offers the streamlined election services and resources you need for a successful election. Your members can vote from anywhere at their convenience with our secure digital ballot system. Members can receive reminders to vote via email or SMS and submit their votes online or in-person to maximize your voter turnout! 

Additionally, monthly dues can be allocated towards member development instead of expensive voting systems that leave users scratching their heads. If you’re ready to take your union participation to the next level, contact ElectionBuddy for a consultation today.

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