The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America is one of the oldest organized labor unions in the United States. Formed in 1881 in Washington, D.C., it was first called the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and later took on its current name in 1916. Local 132 received its charter on October 25, 1905, after a consolidation of four local unions: 884, 190, 1651, and 1103. One of these unions, Local 190, was the first local union of the national organization. Consolidation of the unions took place on October 27, 1905, at Pythian Temple in Washington, D.C.
The first officers of Local 132 were installed in office on January 5, 1906. Jacob Nussbaum was the first president of the newly consolidated union and had been the president of Local 884 before the consolidation. John Chift held the position of vice president, while E.B. Burns was the first recording secretary. M. J. Deery was the financial secretary, and G. Francis Davis served as treasurer. B.C. Stine was the first conductor, and J. J. Deery held the position of warden. W. G. Phillips and Frank Gardener were trustee and auditor, respectively, for an eighteen-month period.
Meetings were held every Friday at the Typographical Temple in Washington, D.C. In 1926, the union members broke ground on the Carpenter’s Hall, an eight-story building that they would call home until moving to Maryland in 1981. The district council for the Washington, D.C., area shared this building with Local 132.
During 105 years as a local carpenters union of the UBCJA, Local 132 has shaped the early careers of several important general executive board members of the national union. Gabriel Edmonston, the first president of the UBCJA, was a member of Local 190. To honor him, members of Local 132 erected a bronze tablet in the lobby of the General Headquarters in 1920. Edmonston then joined Local 132 when the four unions consolidated. Santiago Iglesias Pantin, the leading organizer of labor unions and worker relief in Puerto Rico, was a member of Local 132 at his death in 1939. Anthony Gianquanta, a delegate to the district council in the 1970s, was instrumental in the continued growth of Local 132. He became president in 1985, a position he held until 2003 when H. Pierre Desperes, was elected to the position.
With the consolidation, Local 132 became the major carpenters union located in the Washington, D.C. area, and has continued to be a prominent labor union in the region. There was another consolidation on October 27, 1925, when Local 1103 became part of Local 132. Local 132 is part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters (MARCC), the regional council that serves Maryland, D.C., and Virginia local unions of the UBCJA. Today, Local 132 has over 1,400 trained and qualified carpenters, both male and female. In 2011, the president was H. Pierre Desperes, and the General Executive Board included vice president Belmont Thompson and recording secretary Benjamin G. Glenn, among others.
Over the years, members of Local 132 have contributed to several major construction projects, including projects that have had a major impact on the D.C./Maryland area. For example, they helped to build the region's public transportation system, the Metro, in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1986, members of Local 132 helped create an exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. They constructed an area in the museum to show The Treasure Houses of Britain: Five Hundred Years of Private Patronage and Art Collecting. At the time, the members worked to create an exhibit that imitated English country houses from the fifteenth through twentieth centuries.
According to the Local 132 website in 2011, this local union of the UBCJA continues to work toward bettering social and intellectual conditions of all working men and women. Members of Local 132 frequently assist MARCC in rallies to improve working conditions for union members in the region. Apprenticeship training is very important to the UBCJA, and MARCC provides members of all local unions under its jurisdiction, including Local 132, with free training so they can become proficient in all aspects of the profession.