Another win for Local 1302
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Carpenters Local 1302, representing members working at the Electric Boat Shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, has won a major victory against the AFL-CIO Metal Trades Council's attempts to eliminate the local and move carpenters into unions affiliated with other trades. A decision announced late last week from the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. will allow for the opening of ballots in an election union carpenters held more than eight months ago to decide how they would be represented in contract negotiations.

The fight to protect Local 1302 and its members began when the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO issued a directive to Metal Trades Councils (MTC) across the country to remove UBC-affiliated locals from their councils and prohibit them from representing their carpenter members. Early last year, Local 1302 was barred from participating in contract negotiations, a process which resulted in an agreement without any reference to the Carpenters union. The MTC then stripped Local 1302 of its ability to represent carpenters in grievances.

Local 1302 challenged the Metal Trades Council with a petition to the NLRB and won a decision from the Regional Director allowing for a "severance election," giving carpenters the right to choose the Carpenters union to represent them in bargaining separate from the MTC. After a vote that was expected to be favorable for the Carpenters union, the MTC appealed the decision to the full NLRB in Washington, D.C. Ballots were impounded and left unopened.

While awaiting the Board's decision, the Metal Trades Council took additional moves against members at the facility, stripping the local of any remaining rights and repeatedly attempting to persuade carpenters to join other unions, with little success.

Ballots from the original election will be opened soon, perhaps as early as this week. The result is expected to be a victory for carpenters selecting the UBC and Local 1302 for representation. Following that, the local will begin bargaining for an agreement between Local 1302 and Electric Boat, independent of the Metal Trades Council. All rights and privileges for the local to represent carpenters would also be restored immediately.

"I am pleased by the Board's ruling and proud of the members of Local 1302 for not wavering from their desire to be Union Carpenters," said Mark Erlich, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.