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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
    Cesar Chavez

    :: Wednesday, August 24, 2005 ::

    While Sullivan wrestled with the impact of the departure of the Carpenters and Teamsters, Carpenters President McCarron faced a slate of challengers at his union's convention, which opened in Las Vegas on Aug. 24.

    Led by Tom Lewandowski of Rockford, Ill., a 28-year UBC member and former Business Manager and Financial Secretary-Treasurer of Local 792, the insurgents are challenging McCarron on a platform of more union democracy and questioning the incumbent president's decision to withdraw from the AFL-CIO four years ago, among other issues.

    "It's time for rank and file members to take back control of our union," Lewandowski said in a statement before balloting began. "Our members should be able to vote on their representation, elect their business agents and ratify contracts."

    Lewandowski said Carpenters district councils in Chicago, Kentucky and the Pacific Northwest already voted not to endorse McCarron for re-election. Lewandowski did not say whether they endorsed his slate. He admits he has an uphill battle.

    "I want to restore local union sovereignty," he told The Labor Paper in an interview during the AFL-CIO convention, where he was introducing himself to delegates as an insurgent in his non-AFL-CIO union. "The contractor base is different everywhere. Our union was built on locals that worked with contractors in their area."
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