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by (info [at]
Friday Jan 2nd, 2004 3:17 AM
Spokane UBC members have pensions reduced to $11.00/month for a years' work.
How do you retire on $250.00 per month?

What do you do after working 25 years as a Union Carpenter when you learn that your retirement benefit is $250.00 per month? That's right, 25 years of often back-breaking work building schools for education, bridges to improve our infrastructure and courts and jails for the community, and you are then rewarded with a pension of $250.00 per month. That is what every UBC member belonging to the Washington, Idaho, Montana Carpenters-Employers Retirement Trust can now expect from their union.

The recent reduction of pension benefits in the Spokane area violates everything the United Brotherhood of Carpenters stands for and is an unfathomable act. Even Wal-Mart employees accumulate greater pensions than UBC members in Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana. Here is an example:

* The hourly contribution rate is $2.50/hr.

* Eastern Washington Trust immediately reduces that amount
by 20% for the 80 and out program.

* The remaining balance is then reduced by 50%

* The new multiplier to determine future monthly pension amount is 0.75% of what is left.

You work 1500 hours in a year.
$2.50 times 1500 = $3,750.00
3,750 less 20% = 3,000
3,000 less 50% = 1,500
1,500 times .75% = $11.25 per month for your retirement

At this pathetic rate, it would take 100 YEARS of working as a Union Carpenter to receive $1,125.00 per month for retirement! Over a 10 year period, a Spokane area UBC member could accumulate all of $125.00 per month for retirement.....a hundred bucks a month for 10 years service! This is beyond wrong and P.J. McGuire, founder of the UBC, is turning in his grave at what is happening to the men who build this country.

When the crews at Wal-Mart and McDonalds are receiving more for retirement than members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, it is time to take a stand. This pension reduction is unacceptable and the working carpenter is not at fault. We work our tails off for our families and all we see is our paycheck. We do not manage or handle our retirement money. The blame for this horrendous blow to the working carpenter lies squarely with our local representatives. The UBC officials who we pay to manage our money have breached their fiduciary duty to the general membership in failing to ensure that a living wage is reflected in our pensions.

There is no excuse for this type of behavior and it is a slap in the face, if not a down right 2x4 shot to the head, for our representatives to expect our tolerance of this situation. The time for action is now!

It is obvious that the predicament Spokane area carpenters now face will not be changed any time soon. To effect any type of change within the UBC is an uphill battle and even if a majority of members stood in solidarity against this violation of the working man, it would take years to accomplish. It can be done, but in the interim, we will have lost hundreds of dollars for our future monthly retirement benefit.

With our future and financial stability at the forefront of issues at hand, it is imperative that we protect our families and their future. A living wage today is great, but if that wage is not reflected in our pensions, then our retirement will be a nightmare. We will not only be a burden on society and its various programs ( we will qualify for welfare ), but we will also pose undue hardship to our children who may feel obligated to assist us in our plight with this absolutely pathetic pension.

There are several locals under the jurisdiction of different Trusts available to the Union Carpenter with pension plans far superior to that of Eastern Washington. Accordingly, to protect our future, the first order of business is to transfer your book to another Trust's jurisdiction. Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles locals all have separate Trusts and each one is unique in the benefits provided.

Here is a link to the various Trusts and a summary of what they offer

They all have reciprocity agreements with Eastern Washington, so after you switch your book to another jurisdiction and sign a reciprocity agreement, all of the money paid into the Spokane area Trust for pension and health and welfare are forwarded to your new Trust.

This is a common practice and many members have engaged in it for years. The contribution rate in the Spokane area is less than the other Trusts so contributions are often, but not always, pro-rated to the Trust's package. This is the only area of concern in switching your book to another jurisdiction. Check with the new Trust and determine if any unresolvable issues exist.

Medical insurance is usually the issue. Eastern Washington pays $3.80/hour to health and welfare and the other Trusts generally have a higher rate. This may result in more hours being required for eligibility if one works in Spokane rather than Seattle or L.A. If 250 hours are required in a quarter to be eligible for insurance in the LA Trust, then at the Spokane rate of contribution, 300 hours of work may be required for eligibility. Again, this is an item that should be discussed with any potential new Trust.

In any event, the lowest pension rate among the other Western Trusts is 6 times higher than the pittance now being offered by the Spokane-Eastern Washington Trust. Any member who makes the move to another Trust will receive a better pension and health insurance similar to what they now have. Unless a member already has a substantial pension built up in Eastern Washington and is going to retire in the next few years, they would be an absolute fool not to switch their book to another hall and Trust - TODAY!

Knowing that officials of the Regional Council and our locals determined that we would work for an $11.00/month retirement for a years work, it is difficult to comprehend how any self-respecting Union Man could keep giving them money each month in the form of dues. Remember, the UBC and its locals exist because of us and the money we earn. We work for our families and a better life with or without the union. The UBC cannot exist without us!


Switching your book to another jurisdiction accomplishes the immediate task of protecting ourselves and our families' future by providing a much better pension than the pennies Spokane carpenters are receiving now. It also sends a message to area UBC reps that we will not be taken advantage of and will not be subjected to their gross mismanagement of our pension plan.

As stated previously, we can effect change within the parameters of the UBC structure, however, it will take time and cost us a great deal of retirement money. The quickest and most effective method to put a stop to this deliberate act of sabotaging our future is to simply switch your book out of the jurisdiction of the jackals that are eating away our retirement.

If there are 500 local 98 members and half of the members transfer to another hall and jurisdiction this year, then the message is loud and clear. There is no need to join the rodeo of monthly meetings, there is no one to argue with at the hall and there is no BA telling lies to us in an attempt to "candy coat" the undermining of our futures. There are only Union Carpenters looking out for their best interests by obtaining better representation and finding the best deal available to them within the UBC.

Let there be no confusion of the issue, when 100 members transfer their book from local 98 and the Eastern Washington Trust, the National UBC will come down like a hawk on those responsible for the mismanagement of our retirement funds. No letters need to be written or sent to the Regional Council or National UBC because our actions are much louder than letters and words. Our voices may fall upon deaf ears now, but when our money is sent to another Trust, they will sit up, take notice and listen.

It was P.J. Mcguire who founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and first coined the phrase "Educate - Agitate - Organize". It is in his spirit of brotherhood and solidarity that Spokane, Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana Union Carpenters are urged to switch their books out of the jurisdiction of the Eastern Washington Trust and avail themselves of the increased benefits under another Trust. No one should work 10 years of their life for a hundred bucks a month retirement...not even a RAT!

This information is accurate and those UBC members who are with the Eastern Washington Trust are being treated like third world peasants by the area Union that only exists because of the money that is leached from us and our labor. The quickest method to end this inexcusable treatment is to switch our books to another area.

Hopefully, this situation and information has both Educated and Agitated you. If we stand strong against those who would harm us and our families, then we will be Organized. That is what the UBC was founded upon - men who knew better than to listen to lies and held fast for a better future for all workers involved. We owe it to ourselves and our Union to stop this outrage and those responsible for it - dead in their tracks!
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millwrightKnut BraathenMonday Oct 7th, 2013 12:32 PM
deseptive practicesmissoulahellSaturday Nov 13th, 2010 3:55 PM
Have you paid any attention to the rest of the Country?John PalmerThursday Apr 17th, 2008 10:31 PM
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