Retiree Spotlight

Retiree Spotlight: Boyd Martin

“We’re union carpenters. We understand what we do takes care of other people. A large part of this is not what I’m doing for myself, but what I’m doing for other people.”

photo of retired union carpenter, Boyd Martin

Boyd Martin (LU 271) has been a part of the Carpenters Union for almost 30 years. A carpenter before he left high school, he joined later in life when he began working for a friend’s father who happened to be a union contractor. First a job site steward and later a union representative, Martin shared thoughts on his career as a carpenter and how it has affected his life.

“Our work; it’s a lifestyle.” Martin said, “it opens so many doors for people and their families. When people come in and have limited education, you can give them that. The union can turn them into someone amazing.” Today, many are learning that there is a different path to a middle-class lifestyle. Union apprenticeships are a great alternative to high-cost colleges. They are a place where hard-working people can learn the skills to build their own success.

“One thing that stands out in all my years being a part of the Carpenters Union is being involved in the apprenticeship. You bring in people and give them the opportunity to learn.”

“You meet so many people that want to elevate you, at the local, regional, and international levels. Some people can turn into leaders in our industry and you’d never known if they hadn’t joined. People want you to succeed.”

I have family members who have joined. I could tell you all the things the union’s done for me–it’s all positive–but I’m able to give that gift to other family members too. I have a brother-in-law and a son-in-law who both joined. Now, I look at all my grandchildren and the insurance that covers them. I’m proud of that.”

As times change, we should not forget to look at our past to see what we can discover. Our retired members have not only seen change–they have lived it. There is so much to learn from them as we move through the changes brought about by COVID-19.

“We’re stuck between a rock and a hard spot right now.” Martin replied, “down the road, we might have a vaccine or develop immunity, but until then we’ve got to do what we’ve gotta do to keep each other safe.”

“Even now, we’re adapting in order to see my grandkids and friends. We got coffee not too long ago and sat on the lawn together, 8 feet apart.”

When asked about new safety regulations and how some have shown resistance, Martin had this to say:

“When people don’t want to wear masks, it sounds like they’re frustrated. They really want to do something and take action, but you can’t. It’s outside your control and there’s no quick fix thing you can do that will make it go away.

When you’re on a job site, it’s good to know you can rely on your Union Brother or Sister. You want to know they’re respecting themselves and you, their neighbor. Most union guys will do that for each other.”

“We’re finding out how it’s affecting young people too. It attacks them differently. Nobody knows at this time what the long term effects are going to be. We should do our part to protect other people.”

illustration of a worker in a mask, text reads: Join Northwest Carpenters Union in the #WA Mask Challenge

Looking for ways to help out?

Take part in the Washington Mask Challenge. Help make masks to donate to those working during the pandemic. The Local Union that donates the most masks wins a catered lunch! The deadline for mask submission is June 30th.

For more information, contact Pedro Espinoza ( for materials or how you can get involved!

“We’re Union Carpenters. We understand what we do takes care of other people. A large part of this is not what I’m doing for myself, but what I’m doing for other people.”

Did You Know?

PNWRCC offers scholarships for your kids.

The Northwest Carpenters’ Union values education, and offers both our members and their families access to the high quality college education that working members of the Northwest’s middle class deserve. Apply Now


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