Member Spotlight: ISAIAS ARGUETA

07.02.2024 Luke Marino

As a sixteen-year member in the NYC Carpenters Union and proud Local 157 brother, Isaias Argueta knows all about what the union has to offer hardworking New Yorkers.

Can you tell us a little about how you got started in the Carpenters Union?

  • It was right after I left college. I took a few classes and decided it wasn’t for me, and after some thinking I realized I was interested in a career in carpentry. I was living in New Jersey at the time, so I went to a couple of jobsites asking workers about joining a union and they directed me to a New Jersey Carpenters local union. I did that for a year then when the opportunity came, I transferred right into Local 157. Almost two decades later, and here I am building the greatest city in the world!

It’s interesting that you took the step to go to job sites to ask people about joining the union. How has being in the NYC Carpenters Union prepared you to be successful in the industry?

  • I completed my four-year apprenticeship program here and it was probably the best thing for me. I didn’t know any carpentry when I came in, but the Carpenters Training Center taught me everything from framing to sheetrock to safety training and more. The school helped turn me into a success in the union.

Can you talk at all about what the union has provided you over the years?

  • Where do I even start? I was able to purchase my first home 10 years ago. I was able to recently purchase a second home. That’s all from the wages our union negotiates for us. I’m able to provide for my wife and my three children. Plus, I can’t speak enough about our medical insurance. My family is protected, God forbid something happens and they get sick. I’ve had friends without medical insurance and it’s very hard on them. Thanks to our union, health insurance is never a question for myself or any of my fellow union brothers and sisters.

It’s clear you know all about the amazing compensation the union provides. What about the camaraderie within the union? Can you speak on that?

  • There is a lot of community in our union. Tons of pride for our craft, and lots of friends to share the experience with. A bunch of us go out together whether it’s to a ball game or just to our Local 157 meetings. I actually was able to experience the community in a really profound way. I was injured a couple of years ago. It was serious but I pulled through. My union benefits covered every cent of my surgery and recovery. And when I was at home recovering, my Local took up a collection to help me with any expenses while I was out of work. It was amazing. I think you wouldn’t find to many other jobs where your fellow workers are helping take care of you and your family like that.

Would you encourage others to join the union?

  • Is that even a question? I tell everyone to join our union. Great pay, great benefits, and a great brotherhood.

If you could give somebody that works nonunion words of advice and is considering making the leap, what would it be?

  • To the people that work nonunion, I would love to see you getting treated better and having your quality of life improved. You all deserve that. I’m an example. I work hard, and with our union pay, I can afford two houses, extra things for my wife and kids, and more. All of that is possible once you take the leap and join the union. I’m 38 now. I can retire at 55. Every day I can login and see my annuity or call the union and find out how much my pension is worth. All of that is possible for you. Trust me, you won’t regret becoming part of this union family.