Machinists and Carpenters Constructing Labor Solidarity in Puerto Rico

The Machinists Union entered their second phase of the agreement with the Carpenters Union of Puerto Rico (UCPR) by scheduling a Field Education Module for 21 members of the newly affiliated Carpenters Union of Puerto Rico Local Lodge 2252C from June 5 to June 7, 2019.

Hector DeJesus asks a question during Role of Steward

The three-day education module consisted of  basic union leadership classes that address the priorities required to help the Carpenters Union establish a sound steward network, understand and navigate the Puerto Rican political machine, organize the Puerto Rican construction industry, and administer their local lodge.

“I want to say thank you to Mr. Bob Martinez, when I was first aware of the IAM/UCPR affiliation I was a bit hesitant but now going through this week’s intense program I clearly see the IAM’s commitment. More importantly I see the promise made by IP Bob Martinez to make the IAM’s resources available for the betterment of our union with this week’s training” said Luis D. Rosario, a Builder at Las Piedras Construction Project.

Representatives of the IAMAW, including Business Representatives Jose “Lole” Rodriguez Baez, Grand Lodge Representative Javier Almazan, Eastern Territory Chief of Staff Juan Negron, Winpisinger Education Representatives Jorge Bonilla and Edmundo Osorio, delved into the critical topics that would benefit the Carpenters union immediately while providing a foundation for further education later on in the year.

UCPR President Miguel Alvarez said of the class, “I know now that affiliating with the Machinists Union was the best decision, their efficiency and detail to education and organizational structure is a huge benefit to the Carpenters Union. I learned things and insight that I didn’t know before, I will be able to communicate to our brothers and sisters and get the message out to our members.”

The next educative phase will take place in a few months and will focus on targeting a non-union construction site for Organizing. The W3 Center will design a program specifically for this construction industry bargaining unit and deliver the training within the next couple of months. IAM and UCPR entered into this affiliation with the purpose of helping each other in the areas of organizing, servicing, political action and financial stability. 

“In our union, educating our membership has always been of high importance and this will also be a priority with the affiliated Carpenters/IAMAW Puerto Rico membership,” said Southern Territory General Vice President Rickey Wallace. “These newest members deserve nothing less and moving forward the training obtained will be instrumental in helping the Carpenters lay a strong foundation in which to build on for years to come.”

Understanding that with joint and collective efforts we stand to gain stronger bargain power, growth opportunities, political influence and financial peace of mind will help expand our presence and footprint in Puerto Rico as we build into the future.