Carpenters Local Union 58
3545 W. Peterson Ave. Chicago, IL. 60659
Our Office Information:
Location & Hours:
3545 W. Peterson Ave. Chicago, IL. 60659
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.)
Meetings: Are held the Second Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. unless held by special called meeting
Installation July 10, 2018
Officers and Committee Members:
President: Jeffrey S. Isaacson
Vice President: Thomas Passarello
Financial Secretary/Treasurer: Ian Main
Recording Secretary: William J. Close
Trustees: William Jordan, William J. Murphy, Randal L. Wuestenberg
Warden: Joshua W. Close
Conductor: Robert W. Piane
Examining Committee: Edward L. Mullard & Alvin Mullard
Mentoring Committee: Alex Burnside, Chair
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- Officers and Committee Members
To organize workers for the economic, social and moral advancement of their condition and status.
Our Story......as far as we can tell.
There were many independent locals on the north side of Chicago in the mid to late nineteenth century. Many belonged to the Amalgamated Carpenters in Europe and carried their membership across the Atlantic. Others had joined the independent locals that were popping up in every neighborhood and still others joined branches of the Knights of Labor. Most local's included the carpenter contractors and general contractors. The north side of Chicago was being organized along ethnic lines as in the rest of Chicago. The Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America was established at a small convention here in Chicago in 1881. This was after several years of lobbying carpenters around the county by Peter J. McGuire, the Brotherhood's first General Secretary to form a single international. It didn't take long for the stoic mostly immigrant carpenters of Sweden to see that the Brotherhood was organizing nationwide like no International had before. Some of what we know of Carpenters Local 58 is taken from the Local's minutes and other papers. We know that there were repeated attempts by different employer groups to eradicate unions in Chicago the most famous was the after the so-called "Haymarket Riot" now known simply as the "Haymarket" which the media of the day was able to use to whip the public into a hysterical frenzy over "foreign anarchists" and "socialist agitators". This hysteria is similar to what we see playing out in the press and in Washington today.
The police of the day were little more that a private militia for the Citizens Committee (one of the predecessors to the Chicago Chamber of Commerce). They were ordered to break into union meetings and drag out attendees sometimes arresting them for "agitation" or "conspiracy". A young anarchist carpenter that emigrated from Germany by way of Switzerland named Louis Lingg was pulled from such a meeting and charged with conspiracy in the Haymarket affair. No proof was ever produce that he or any of the Haymarket Martyrs were involved. Lingg is said to have been an elected organizer for the newly formed Brotherhood of Carpenters. Barely in his twenties he was murdered in Cook County Jail by his keepers while awaiting execution. His remains are buried at Forest Home Cemetery (former Waldheim Cemetery) with the Haymarket Martyrs. Although known to be innocent of the charges Lingg is not generally referred to as a martyr as he was not hanged with the other martyrs and it is known that he did advocate violence.
There years of terrible repression, strikes and organizing that followed the Haymarket affair. There lockouts of union men in 1900 and 1901. There was "The Great Lock-out of 1914" when the employers attempted unsuccessfully to break the unions once and for all. We are told that it was during this time that the offices of Carpenters Local Union No. 58 suffered from a devastating fire and that all previous membership records and papers were lost. Our surviving meeting minutes date to 1922 and we are told that all prior minutes were written in Swedish.
On February 22, 1896 in Lakeview Township (the area north of North Avenue was annexed to Chicago in 1889) Local 269 and Local 730 were Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners locals which are believed to been consolidated from the old Amalgamated Carpenters Union, or perhaps the Knights of Labor. Many of the locals in Chicago came from branches of the old Local 21 which was Chicago's first Brotherhood of Carpenters local. The mostly ethnic Swedish carpenters and contractors consolidated into Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America as Carpenters Local Union No.58. Swedish and Scandinavian carpenters got on well enough with the German and German language carpenters that had moved north of the Chicago River. The German carpenters were also dedicated union men that had organized much of the work on the North Side of Chicago going north on the old Green Bay Road (now Clark Street) into the towns of Evanston and Gross Pointe and up Lincoln Avenue into Skokie. There were already many Swedish and German local unions on the south of the south branch of the Chicago River. The area we now know as "The Loop" or downtown had been heavily organized or contested at least since the end of the Civil War.
Local 58 had been primarily a Swedish language local but soon began taking in Danish carpenters. Sometime during the building boom of the 1920's, Norwegian and Finnish carpenters joined the local as well. It wasn't long before Local 58 became a "mixed" local taking all who worked at the trade. The earliest recorded meetings were at the Lincoln Turners Hall located at 1005 W. Diversey just west of Sheffield. Local 58 also had a small office in the building until in the late 1930's, when a dispute over rent sent them to the Lincoln Auditorium at 4221 N. Lincoln Ave., ending a fifty year, sometimes antagonistic relationship with the Turners. Carpenters Local 58 later purchased the current hall and business office location in 1988, when the hall on Lincoln was sold.
Our Contribution to the Carpenters District Council of Chicago
At times Carpenters Local 58 members held several elected positions at the District Council simultaneously. Most worth noting is the large number of consecutive years the Office of Executive Secretary/Treasurer has been held by a Local 58 member. Charles Sand, President of Carpenters Local 58 was Secretary/Treasurer of the Carpenters District Council of Chicago and was charged with erecting first council building at 12 E. Erie Street, completed in 1925. He was followed by Charles Thompson, President of Carpenters Local 58 and then by Wesley Isaacson of the same office and shortly thereafter Jeffrey S. Isaacson, currently president. It could be argued that old country Swedish values enabled the Council to acquire several of the surrounding properties and eventually erect the tower that stands today at 12 E. Erie Street.
Our Working Relationship with other Carpenter Locals
Werner Johanson, Local 58 Business Representative in the 1920's and through the depression of the 1930's was "loaned out" or "directed" by the coucil to organize the "inside work" downtown with Carpenters Local 1, which at that time shared a border with Carpenters Local 58 along North Avenue. Brother Johanson's motto, "faithful service".
A young Michael J. Sexton from Carpenters Local 13 our neighbor to the south had made several attempts to run for office at the District Council and eventually went on to be President of the council with the backing of the EST from Carpenters Local 58.
At the turn of the century it was a battle to get into the city from the northern suburbs to attend the weekly Tuesday night meeting to pay one's dues. In 1906 Carpenters Local 1307 was chartered to eight members of Local 58 and they established an office in the Evanston Labor Temple. Carpenters Local Union 1307 has since merged in residential shingling, siding and insulation locals has released their construction jurisdiction and is no longer attached to a geographic area.
The only Local Union known that "consolidated" into Carpenters Local 58 was Carpenters Local Union 980, chartered as the Chicago District Council's "Ship & Boat Builders". A couple of those contracts are still in force.
For a short period in 1999 when it was once again fashionable to merge locals for ecnomy of scale, not realizing that presence in the community is a local union's greatest asset, Local 58 merged into Carpenters Local 181 which is to the immediate geographic the west of Carpenters Local 58. This resulted in several months of dissension and turmoil at Carpenters Local 181. Carpenters Local 58 reinstated their charter and remain independent to date.
Local 58 is located in Chicago and must deal with the City politics in general but within our local jurisdiction we deal with specific wards and districts that include townships and commissioners as well as state senate and representative districts as well as a few congressional districts located in the northeast Chicago and northeast Cook County area. Local 58 strongly urges members to be active in their ward organization
City of Chicago;