Can I work Non-Union if I’m out of work as a member?

YES. In fact, there will be times when we will actually want you to work non-union.

This is one of our best methods of recruiting more quality tradespeople, more companies, and guaranteeing you – our members – more work.

This is just one way you can help us recruit quality tradespeople, and help us show a non-union company that value of a union-trained workforce.

However the most common reason to work non-union is to help us unionize other non-union workers. Here’s how you do that. 

Remember, you must bid on a union job every six months – or report where you are working non-union to our organizers – or you will lose your spot on the out-of-work list. If you are a member with another trade and working on another union job however, this will not work. You will lose your spot on the out-of-work list, as it is unfair to others who are only a member of our union. This must truly be a non-union job that you are reporting. 

Union Dues

Union dues in the Alberta Carpenters are among the lowest in the industry, and we’re proud of that fact. What do we use them for? Well, we cover the cost of running the union, which is a nonprofit organization. Dues are a tax deduction also, so make sure you wait for both your employer’s forms and your union’s forms before you finish your annual taxes. All union operating expenses are voted on by the membership to ensure accountability. Union representation includes help with WCB and EI problems, access to legal help, and general representation. Remember, your representatives work for you. If you are dissatisfied, please write our Executive Secretary Treasurer Derrick Schulte at  

What is a union anyway?

A union is an organization, made up of all our co-workers with one company or in an individual shop, that uses its collective strength to make improvements in the workplace by bargaining collectively for a system of wages, benefits, and working conditions.

Why do employers try to keep us from being union?

When workers organize a union, employers fight back because they know when workers are united, they have the power to force employers to do the things they don’t want to do – like pay fair wages, improve staffing levels and treat everyone equally. During the organizing process, it is very common for employers to hire union-busting consultants, to hold mandatory meetings designed to threaten and scare employees, and engage in many other practices to divide you.

Who runs the union?

You do. It’s your union. When you form your union, you will elect representatives to be the leaders of your union. You can also put forward the members of the negotiating committee that will represent you at the bargaining table with management. Everyone gets to vote on whether to accept a contract or not.

Get to a union meeting near you to hear the reports on current work and rumors about future work. You’ll make connections and get work leads. You’ll also hear about how your dues are being spent. It’s worth it. 

In Edmonton and Fort McMurray Local 1325 meetings are the first Wednesday of every month at 8 pm, except for four times a year when it is on the second Saturday of the month at 9 am. In Edmonton meetings are at the main union hall. In Fort McMurray they are at the Training Centre. Please email for the meeting schedule. 

In Calgary Local 2103 meetings are the third Thursday of every month at 7 pm at the Calgary union hall. Red Deer joins via conference call. Please contact to join the Red Deer group.


The Strike is the ultimate weapon that you as a producer of wealth with your brain and body have to offer. When we as a collective body withhold our labour, we cost our employer money and production. However, we also cost ourselves our full paycheques – and most certainly damage the positive working relationship we have with that particular employer. Across unionized workplaces in Canada, less than 2% of all negotiations in all industries result in strikes. The reality is that strikes help nobody, least of all our members who suffer the loss of income.

A strike is always a last resort – when all other efforts at peaceful negotiation have failed. We never want to strike – but in Canada, if you are dissatisfied with what your employer is offering as a contract, you and your work mates can vote to do so. It is your legal right. 

Our general philosophy as a union is to find common ground with our employers and find the best deal available. After all, if our contractors aren’t profitable than our members won’t be working. Let’s just say that the strike is the last tool in our toolbox to ensure that our wages, benefits, and working conditions are respected – and fair in the the current marketplace.