Blocking Carpenters move for more bureaucratic power - by Judith Schneider, Union Democracy Review #164
After a complaint by Jeff Fearon of Chicago Local 58 and other members, the U.S. Department of Labor rejected an effort by the union to make its council structure even more rigid and even less subject to challenge from the membership. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters represents 47,000 members of 42 locals in 82 counties in three states. In May 2006, the department sued to void the July 2005 election of officers of the Chicago council. The key issue in dispute is a provision in the council's bylaws which requires all aspiring candidates to have previously served as council delegates for three successive years to be eligible to run for regional office. The department challenges this rule as unreasonable.
The suit also charged that not all council delegates had been elected by secret ballot. Apparently, if you were a regional officer when the delegate elections occurred, you were automatically declared a delegate from your local. The DOL sought new nominations and elections of all council delegates and all council officers.