In 1978, Mike McCarron joined Local 1506 in Los Angeles, California. He completed the drywall-lathing apprenticeship program and earned his journeyman card. While working with his tools, he attended all union meetings, volunteered for all needed activities, including the subcontractors strike of 1983, and was union steward on several large projects in the Los Angeles area. Mike took numerous labor law and organizing classes in the evening, so he could prepare himself to be a representative of the Brotherhood.
Mike was very active in Local 1506 and was hired as a field investigator in 1986, for the Drywall Contract Administration Trust (CAT). Two years later Mike became an organizer for Local 1506, working with some of the best in the industry. As an organizer Mike came up with innovative tactics for organizing that were met with lots of success. He also maintained good working relationships with the Local’s contractor base. In 1989, Mike was elected warden of Local 1506, and elected delegate to the then Los Angeles District Council.
In 1996, Mike was elected president of Local 1506. During this time, Mike created the “Contract ’98 Program.” The program consisted of a series of meetings held at local unions throughout the Council, in the months leading up to the expiration of the Master-Labor Agreement. Thousands of Carpenters attended these pre-negotiation meetings. Mike knew that if contractors understood that their skilled, talented, and productive crews stood with the Union, the Union would retain its contractor base. It was the right program at the right time. Mike knew the Union’s greatest strength was its membership. If contractors knew that skilled, talented, and productive Carpenters were ready to strike, and not break ranks, then a new Master-Labor Agreement could be achieved. The “Contract ’98 Program” was a success and a first in the brotherhood. The “Contract” tactic spread to every state in the Council and many other Council’s have adopted similar programs. The “Contract ’98 Program” was so successful that the membership got its Vacation Pay back. The Contract Program has been used at every expiration throughout the Council. The 2012 Southern California Master-Labor Agreement was so successful that a $6.25 four year contract was achieved.
In August of 1999, Mike McCarron was elected Executive Secretary-Treasure (EST) of the then Southern California Nevada Regional Council of Carpenters. In 2001, the International Brotherhood gave (merged) the Gold Coast District Council and the Arizona Regional Council to Mike McCarron, because of his leadership and innovative approaches to organizing. Soon after this merger, the Council was renamed the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (SWRCC). In 2003, the International gave the State of Utah to the SWRCC, and in 2006, gave the state of New Mexico to the SWRCC. Then in 2010, the International gave the State of Colorado to the SWRCC. The State of Colorado had been neglected by the Kansas City Regional Council, and required the SWRCC to use an exorbitant amount of resources to get Colorado back on track for its membership.
During his tenure as EST, Mike McCarron and his team grew the Southwest Regional Council from approximately $30 million dollars to a high point of $155 million dollars and built several state of the art, multi-million dollar training centers. Through cutting edge organizing efforts the Southwest Regional Council’s membership grew to over 65,000 Carpenters.
Mike McCarron has worked tirelessly to increase the contractor base and membership hours. He feels a deep personal responsibility to the union members and families that he represented.
It is a shame that a personal matter between brothers Mike McCarron and Doug McCarron (general president), which started in December of 2011, and escalated after the death of their mother in May 2013, has lead to an abuse of power by the General President and his Executive Board. This abuse resulted in false charges, improper use of emergency supervision, and the ultimate firing of EST Mike McCarron.