Building Strong for 140 Years

Our union long ago became the path for millions of men and women to create a decent life for their families and train for success and safety in an ever-changing industry.

On anniversaries we think about how much things have changed and what has stayed the same. We know we still face adversity that isn’t so different from challenges of the past. We still have to fight hard for good contracts and against the greed that has allowed construction industry tax fraud to explode.

We work with more sophisticated tools than ever before as technology evolves on the jobsite and within the union. But we still swing hammers, hang drywall, tune turbines, build foundations and a variety of other work.

This year we celebrate the UBC’s 140th anniversary and we remember what it took just to survive, as a union, from one year to the next. It took a focus on the things we have in common, a recognition that we are stronger when we are together—and a determination to stay united.

Visit this page regularly in 2021 for stories from the UBC’s proud history.

UBC Founder Peter J. McGuire, at right, traveled extensively to organize carpenters and served as general secretary from 1881 to 1902. Succeeding him was Frank Duffy, who served until 1948.

Becoming a United Organization

The UBC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1931 and published historical information in the July edition of The Carpenter that year.

Here are excerpts from “Our Organization,” an article written by General Secretary Frank Duffy, who had succeeded founder P.J. McGuire.

“The Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America was organized in convention held in Chicago, Illinois, from August 8 – 12, 1881. It was a question at that time whether or not it would be a success as several attempts had been made previously…but without success…

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