Member Spotlight: Nor Cal Carpenters Union Works to Advance a Culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The Nor Cal Carpenters Union has fought to change the culture of our industry since new leadership was elected to power in August 2021. Since that time, they have won an historic master agreement with the many contractors with whom they work in 46 counties across Northern California. And they are focusing intensely on creating new generations of carpenters across the spectrum, particularly with women and historically underrepresented groups within the industry.
The master agreement, negotiated by Executive Secretary-Treasurer Jay Bradshaw with the help of rank-and-file members, including five women, includes language that prioritizes promoting career opportunities for groups that have historically been underrepresented in our trade. The agreement reads: “The Employer and Union shall work collaboratively to improve recruitment, retention, and viable work opportunities for minorities, women, and any other protected class.”
One of the first initiatives towards this goal was the establishment of their women’s empowerment group, the Focused Outreach Committee Uniting Sisters (FOCUS), to advance initiatives supporting women in the industry, including training, apprenticeships and mentoring, among others. The Nor Cal Carpenters Union also conducted two all-female pre-apprenticeship classes, with 23 women graduating and 100% getting placed in jobs immediately upon graduation. In addition to recruitment campaigns focused on women, the union, working with their contractors and trust funds, launched a program to assist with childcare costs for apprentices and another to provide maternity benefits for women carpenters.
Through its continued efforts, the Nor Cal Carpenters Union and its many members are working to build an organization that benefits workers from all walks of life, regardless of race, sex, or background. To learn more, visit Nor Cal Carpenters Union.