EST Engels Presents a State-of-the-Council Report

Dear Brothers and Sisters: 

It’s hard to believe that two months has already flown by in 2020. Before we get even further into the year, I wanted to share information about how our Council did last year and how we intend to grow market share and service members even better in 2020.


First, I want to share this news with you from the UBC Southern District office: We are proud to announce that membership throughout the 11-state UBC Southern District continues its multi-consecutive-year increase! Our 11-state District collectively achieved a 13% increase in membership in 2019 over 2018, finishing last year with more than 22,000 carpenters, millwrights and piledrivers. And, in just January of 2020, we had a near 2% membership increase again! We expect to keep our streak going in 2020. Well done, everyone!


Here at the CSCRC, 2019 was also a year of success and growth on many levels. So far, 2020 has shown no signs of slowing down, so we anticipate matching or beating the numbers of 2019. Take a look at some key areas of growth:



Current membership is around 7,300 members – up 14% from 2018! Last spring, we were happy to welcome nearly 1,300 members from the former Carpenters Industrial Council. These industrial members relayed that a large majority of their co-workers in our industrial jurisdiction were not represented. So, in April of 2019, we set a goal to increase industrial membership by 25%. By the end of 2019, we shattered that goal by gaining 430 new industrial members – a 33% jump.


Man Hours

Our man hours increased by 6%, or nearly 300,000 hours, in 2019, over the previous year. We expect that number to again spike in 2020 because of the large membership increase.


2020 Work Outlook

Our Council goal it to increase scaffold-specific man hours by 125,000 in the Pasadena and Dallas industrial/commercial markets this year. We are teaming with Performance Contracting, Inc. to help reach that goal by offering foreman and skill training for their employees, over a three-year period. Additional opportunities are being pursued in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi at LNG projects, pumping stations and capital projects.

Another Council goal is to increase the interior systems market share in Austin to 25%, with approximately 375-400 working members. Our Operation Bat Fury program launched there in early 2019 to pursue that goal. In 2019 the team:

- Made over 9000 total visits to 300+ job sites

- Made more than 700 house calls to unrepresented carpenters

- Collected 1,400+ names of unrepresented carpenters who are interested in learning more

- Held 70+ member orientations

Another Council goal is to increase work opportunities through our ICRA (occupied healthcare facility construction) program in the Houston metropolitan area. One strategy is to educate the healthcare community. In 2019, we trained 375 professionals from 117 hospitals in 27 classes in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. We have already presented several in 2020, and we have many more scheduled and booked to capacity. We expect to see more work opportunities developing as a result of our efforts.

A few more opportunities where we are fighting to win work for members include:

- Dallas Fort Worth Airport: $3.5 billion expansion over five years

- Harrah’s Casino New Orleans: $350 million expansion and renovation

- Omni Hotel New Orleans: $558 million project

- Charity Hospital, Louisiana State University

- Solar Farms in Wingate, and McCamey, Texas


Training Department

We are growing in the training department as well! In 2019, we focused heavily on partnerships with contractors and manufacturers to present superior skills-upgrade training of our journeymen and apprentices and on recruiting.

In terms of facilities, we opened a Local Union 1846 office at the Gulf Coast Carpenter and Millwright Training Center in Moss Point, Mississippi. In 2020, we are building a new training center in Russellville, Arkansas and we are looking to expand our training facility in Amarillo, Texas.

In order to serve our members in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi as efficiently as possible, a training program/trust fund merger of each state’s organization in late 2019 created the Gulf Coast Training Trust Fund.

In Austin in 2019, we also teamed with American Youthworks and local employers to secure a $50,000 grant to train and employ dozens of Austin’s at-risk youth for careers in the green energy construction industry in the Green Union Jobs program. The group’s proposal took first place in Austin’s Equitable Green Jobs Grant program. The first training kicked off in January 2020.



The re-election of Governor John Bel Edwards in Louisiana is a positive for organized labor. The Governor is a friend of labor and we anticipate an increase in work opportunities in 2020 because Louisiana has a labor-friendly leader. We also work closely with legislators from each of the five states in our Council to keep carpenter issues top-of-mind.


Tax Fraud

In 2019, we ran an aggressive Tax Fraud campaign to fight for your right to a level playing field when competing for work. We are happy to announce that months of work by the Central South Carpenters helped Louisiana authorities secure a multi-count indictment in late 2019 against Louisiana labor broker Manuel Reyes. His prosecution beings in 2020. 


Member Communication

With the rapid pace of growth and success we are seeing from the Central South Carpenters, it is more important than ever for members to stay informed of new opportunities. We operate many communication channels, from social media and texting to emailing and websites.

Please follow us on facebook, instagram, twitter, youtube, and linkedin. To join our texting program, simply text CSCRC to 24587.

We also invested in creating a mobile app so that members can stay updated on Council information at all times. The app is fast becoming the go-to communication system, and I urge all of you download the Central South Carpenters app to your device(s) by searching for CSCARPENTERS in your app store.

Final thoughts...

2020 is going to be an amazing year for our Council. Our members are well-trained professionals who are performing at outstanding levels in all five of our states. That type of professionalism is our key to winning more work and attracting more contractors who employ only our members. Thank you, on behalf of our staff, delegates, and officers, for your dedication and productive work!

Yours in Solidarity 

Jason Engels