Frequently Asked Questions

You can pay your dues at your Local Union office or by mailing a check with your UBCID number written on it to your Local Union. Most Local Unions also accept payment with a credit card by phone

Check for address, contact information and meeting night by clicking on your Local Union’s page in our Local Union Directory.  You should also call your Local Union for information about your dues status and how to reinstate or rejoin if you need to do that.

It depends on what plan you are a participant of. Most of our members are part of the Southwest Carpenters Trust Fund.  For eligible participants in this plan you qualify by working 360 hours in a Work Quarter to have benefits in the following Eligibility Quarter.

For example, if you work 360 hours combined in January, February and March then you will be eligible for benefits in May, June and July.

Hours worked in excess of 360 in a Work Quarter can be applied to your Hour Bank.  You can bank up to 720 hours.  You can then deduct hours from your Hour Bank for any quarter where you work less than 360 hours.

Eligible participants who qualify have the option of Kaiser, United HealthCare/Pacific Care or (after one year of continuous eligibility) Carpenters PPO.  There are numerous plan choices for Dental and Vision benefits.

For complete information please visit or call (800) 293-1370.

Most Locals in the Southwest participate in the council’s automated ready-to-work list system. With this system you can call toll-free and put yourself on the ready-to-work list for one Local Union list.  Call 800/338-4599 and enter your Social Security number to use the system.

Remember, you must roll-call every week to maintain your spot on the ready-to-work list but you can do it anytime between Friday and Monday at noon.

For a list of active job sites that may be hiring in your Local Union’s work area please contact your Local Union.

The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC) is part of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC).

The UBC is led by General President Douglas J. McCarron and the other members of the General Executive Board.  The general officers are elected by Delegates to the UBC’s General Convention which occurs every five years.  Delegates are elected by members at Local Unions.

The UBC is divided into five Districts.  The SWRCC is in the Western District along with the Hawaii Regional Council, Northern California Regional Council and the Pacific Northwest Regional Council.

The SWRCC represents more than 50,000 carpenters in six states.  It is comprised of 16 Local Unions.

The Southwest Regional Council is led by Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dan Langford and the other officers of the council.

Dan Langford – Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Pete Rodriguez – President, Local 951
Frank Hawk – Vice President, Local 1977

Executive Committee members:
Harry Beggs, Local 1607
Sean Hartranft, Local 909
Jacob Lopez, Local 714
Louis Ontiveros, Local 951
Josh Raper, Local 661
Fabian Sandez, Local 1912
Mercy Urrea, Local 805

Warden: Oscar Cordova, Local 721

Conductor: Mark Thompson, Local 555

Frank Pena, Local 619
Tracy Wert, Local 562
Frank Zambrano, Local 562

A union is a group of people who band together for mutual benefit. A union may link people with similar job duties, like the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, or connect workers in different fields who have something important in common, like the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal

Union members are united by their desire to earn a fair wage and benefits in a safe work environment. By standing together, union members can secure fair wage packages that include medical benefits for themselves and their families, and benefits that help ensure dignity and a decent standard of living when they retire.

Unions do not discriminate. Opportunities for membership, education, skills training, and job advancement are open to all members without regard to sex, race, creed, or color.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is a democratic organization. Members elect their leaders, and each member has a say in how the UBC is operated and governed. With those rights come responsibility: every member is responsible for voicing an opinion and attending meetings so each can make informed choices about UBC leadership and activities.

Unions also strive to improve the standards of the industry with which they are connected. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters improves safety, quality, and productivity in the construction industry through high-quality training programs for apprentices and journeyman, and through specialty training programs developed in partnership with government, manufacturers, and industry organizations.

The history of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (BCJA) dates back to the 1880s. Its founding father, Peter J. McGuire, was just 29 years old when he and carpenters from 11 other cities met in Chicago to lay the foundation of today’s.

The BCJA, later known as the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, attracted  craftsman who brought from  Europe  their skills and tradition of craft guilds. They came to the United States because the young country’s rapid growth offered what seemed like unlimited opportunities for those who could shape commercial buildings, houses, ships, wharves, and warehouses.   Craftsman hoped union membership would improve working conditions and wages, and, by 1885, more than 5,700 carpenters had joined McGuire’s brotherhood.

In the mid-1880s, new technology was dramatically changing many jobs, and the Industrial Revolution transformed the way people did-and viewed- business. The image of the fair and considerate employer was replaced with cartoons of railroad barons and speculators. The fledgling labor movement turned militant, and the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (the predecessor of the American Federation of Labor) called for a general strike in support of the eight-hour workday in 1886. McGuire put UBC business on hold and crisscrossed the country to rally support for the shorter workday movement.

On May 1, 1886, carpenters led marches in major cities when more than 300,000 worker walked off their jobs. The labor action demonstrated the UBC’s power, and carpenters won increased wages and shorter workdays in 53 cities. The success of the effort brought craftsman flocking to the UBC, and, by September 1886, membership had grown to more than 21,000. The AFL asked the carpenters to lead a second wave in 1890, and more key markets set workday length at eight or nine hours-and UBC membership reached 55,000.

The UBC began to address issues such as work site standards, death and disability benefits, and upgrading skills.

Many in the construction industry fought to curb the UBC’s influence; between 1900 and 1910, employers in major cities launched an open-shop counterattack. But the benefits of UBC apprenticeship training and the convenience of tapping a ready labor pool through the union hiring hall reduced the effectiveness of the open-shop movements. By 1910, UBC membership had reached 200,000.

Peter McGuire dies in 1902, and his successor, Frank Duffy, shifted to a more conservative approach. McGuire had been deeply interested in far-reaching social change, but Duffy and his successor, William Hutcheson, focused on the rights of union carpenters and the smooth administration of The UBC.

During World War L the UBC fought to preserve established union shops on federal construction sites. After the war, anti-union associations launched an assault labeled the America Plan, forcing trade unions into arbitration hearings that slashed wages and weakened work rules. UBC membership dropped from 400,000 in 1920 to 345,000 in 1928. But as anti­union sentiment waned and trade unions began to recover, the economy staggered, then plummeted into the Great Depression.

By 1932, national spending on construction slumped to less than 30 percent of the 1928 spending levels.  Out-of-work carpenters dropped out of the union, and UBC membership slipped to 242,000. And while the New

Deal programs helped put some people back to work, the U.S. entry into World War II marked the true end to the Depression.

The demands of the wartime economy and the postwar prosperity in the United States fueled the growth of labor organizations in general and the UBC in particular. In the 25 years after World War IL organized labor gathered in nearly a third of the workforce, and UBC membership reached its peak of 850,000 members. Even so, the post war building boom outstripped the UBC’s ability to meet labor demands-and nonunion contractors established a presence, especially in residential housing.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, inflation, politics, and dramatic economic shifts combined created a climate that encouraged an open-shop philosophy.  Unions were caught off-guard; most, including the UBC, tried to counter the nonunion sector’s growing clout with outdated tactics.

Although unions moved successfully to organize workers in new areas like government, union membership and influence slipped.

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, the UBC “suffered a hemorrhage of members, signatories and market share,” wrote General President Douglas J. McCarron.  “We had lost wages and benefits and political clout …. We had to restructure our union. The old structure simply could not do the job.       We had to replace it with a structure that could organize.”

The restructuring began in 1995 with McCarron’s election to the UBC general presidency.  McCarron started at the top, eliminating unnecessary officer and staff positions-in some cases, entire departments-at the UBC General Office. An inefficient district council structure was reorganized into 65 regional councils that were created to reflect construction markets. And union politics were removed from the selection of business agents and organizers, and replaced with accountability.

The structural reorganization freed up funds and staff for the UBC’s top priorities: training and organizing. The UBC committed $100 million annually to training nationwide; a national center dedicated to training UBC instructors opened in 2001 in Las Vegas, and nearly 50,000 apprentices were receiving top-quality training in UBC programs.  Training also supports organizing efforts. Nonunion contractors are beginning to recognize the cost/value benefit of hiring skilled, professional craftsman, and nonunion workers are beginning to see how UBC training puts them on a career track with potential-the potential to earn fair wages with benefits.

In August 2000, McCarron was elected to a second term as general president of the UBC at the 38th General Convention. At the convention, McCarron reported that the UBS’s new direction was working, more than 60,000 new members had joined the UBC, and, after decades of decline, the union’s market share had begun to grow.

“The challenge is to take an active role in protecting our standards and our families in the down times. Instead of being victims of the boom­ and-bust cycle,” President McCarron wrote in the January issue of the Carpenter.” The long term forecast depends on each of us individually-on what we do now.