According to hearing documents obtained by the Center for Union Facts, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) confirmed that leaders from its Pacific Northwest Regional Council rigged votes and double-paid leaders.
The Council was placed under a trusteeship during the investigation which began last October. The Council notified the UBC that it would “welcome” an independent investigation after it noticed many irregularities following a ratification vote for a Master Labor Agreement in western Washington. UBC obliged and this is what was found:
- In 2021, the Associated General Contractors of America’s agreement with the region was up for ratification. After two votes failed, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council’s executive secretary-treasurer, Evelyn Shapiro, came up with a plot to fix the vote.
- Shapiro, along with Juan Sanchez, the Council’s Director of Organizing, began using the voter identification numbers of members who had not yet voted to tip the scales in their favor. The scheme fell apart after many members began to receive notices that they could not vote because they had already voted.
- This wasn’t Shapiro’s first rodeo. The investigation uncovered that she had also ordered Dan Hutchins, the Council’s Contract Administrator, to “fix the fucking vote” during the Eastern Washington Master Labor Agreement, which Hutchins admitted doing.
- Shapiro also failed to disclose that the union’s pension was underwater. To top things off, she also failed to increase the liability insurance on the pension – which could have helped mitigate the losses. (Shapiro resigned from the union mid-investigation.)
- While digging into Shapiro’s mess, the investigation also found that Ken Ervin, a Council Representative, and Kristine Cole, his Lead – both officers of Local Union 129 – had established a double-dipping pay scheme in which Ervin collected overtime pay to attend meetings for the Local. After Ervin was outed for double-dipping, he turned on Cole and told investigators that Cole remodeled her home while claiming to be a worker for the union. She was only able to get away with this because Ervin covered for her.
- Auditors found that the union had multiple serious irregularities, including excessive political donations beyond the legal limits, failure to file a scholarship fund with the state, failure to collect dues, and even providing a pension and a vehicle to non-members.
- The union also had excessive hiring of staff – including one hilariously inept comptroller who “did not understand the rudimentary obligations of her position” more than 8 months into the job. Another full-time employee reported that he visited one job site per week and took occasional calls from home.
The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters embodied the incompetence and unethical behavior unions have championed for years. The investigation should outrage members, but it shouldn’t surprise them.