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Carpenters Union Cosolidations Affect Thousands

There is a feeling of uneasiness among thousands of local union members who are slowly finding out about a mass consolidation. The Mid-Central Illinois Regional Council of Carpenters covers 41 counties and represents nearly 5,000 workers in the state.               

The parking lot at Carpenter's Local Union #16 in Springfield is empty, the door is locked, and union members are greeted by a letter from Washington D.C. outlining the ten central Illinois unions now dissolved.               

Here is a breakdown of consolidations:

  • Locals 63, 183 and 2189 are now Local Union 237, which will be based in Peoria.
  • Locals 44 and 347 will now be Local Union 243 in Champaign.
  • Locals 16, 189, 904, 742 and 725 are now Local 270 in Springfield.

Several Local 16 members stopped by the union hall on West Lawrence Avenue after hearing the news on the street. They expressed concerns about their wages and their pensions.               

Regional Council Executive Secretary/Treasurer Steve Heckwine said they have nothing to worry about.

“Their pension is still secure, the amounts that they're paying into their pension will remain the same, their hourly wage rate will remain the same," he said.               
Heckwine also said the regional council staff will keep their jobs. While all ten carpenter union halls in central Illinois while either close or be re-chartered, the opportunities for union members will grow.

“It does put new resources in the hands of the local unions, and it does give them more of an ability to go out there and protect the member's market share, to protect their jobs, to find more work opportunities," Heckwine said.

Heckwine said he was just notified of the changes this week, and the regional council is now working on sending out a letter to all union members affected, as well as updating the locals’ websites.

In addition to the consolidations, $200,000 will be pooled from the closing union halls and put back into the newly chartered locals.