Op-Ed: Union Carpenters Leading Labor and Fighting for Working People

09.20.2022 jwatson

Title: Union Carpenters Leading Labor and Fighting for Working People
By: Joseph Geiger, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New York City District Council of Carpenters

Our city is built on union labor, and it will continue to be. From dockbuilders and timbermen, to millwrights and general carpenters, labor is at the forefront of building and modernizing outdated infrastructure in New York City. Hardworking New Yorkers in the trades are putting in millions of hours assembling the buildings that define our iconic skyline, the bridges that connect millions of people, and the streets that New York families drive and walk down every single day.

As the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the New York City District Council of Carpenters, I’m privileged to have been recently named one of the top leaders in New York City labor by City & State. I’ve been in the construction industry for over 38 years, and during that time, I’ve learned how important union labor truly is to the Empire State. Union carpenters strive every day to build to the best of our ability. But our contributions to New York don’t end there. We fight for fair wages, workplace safety, and quality benefits for our members and fiercely advocate for the rights of working people everywhere.

Our union works tirelessly to ensure that all workers get the wages they deserve. Whether that’s advocating for the passage of the Wage Theft Bill or partnering with the New York Attorney General Tish James to hold unscrupulous contractors accountable, we’re committed to making New York more just for all.

This dedication to advancing the rights of working people extends to our members. Union carpenters have become true leaders in labor in their own right through Carpenters RISE, a program that gets members involved in their communities and all levels of government. Community Boards throughout the city are now filled with carpenters advocating for union values and building their communities better and stronger. Elections have consequences and our members have also hung up their hard hats to hit the polls and vote for labor-friendly candidates.

The NYC Carpenters Union prides itself not only in advocating for the rights of our members but also giving them the knowledge and platform to get involved with candidates that they feel will represent their values and beliefs. That’s why our endorsement process is member-led, allowing union carpenters to properly vet candidates and discuss issues that are most important to them. This process ensures that we endorse candidates that our membership truly believes in, resulting in wins at the polls.

Our rallies, our cries, and our voices have been heard. In the August 2022 primaries, 85% of our union-endorsed candidates won their races. Our union is proud of the steadfast labor allies that we endorse and look forward to supporting them through the General Election on November 8th.

As a union leader, I know the impact that labor groups have throughout our State. I also know that our power lies in our members. As the NYC Carpenters Union continues to define itself as a powerhouse in New York City politics and infrastructure, I want to thank our members for their ongoing commitment to uplifting their communities and fellow workers. Here’s to a better future for New York, with labor leading the way.