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Chris Campbell named president of Carpenters’ Union Local 27

Angela Gismondi
Chris Campbell named president of Carpenters’ Union Local 27

As the new president of the Carpenters’ Union Local 27, Chris Campbell wants to continue to grow and unite the organization.

Campbell is the first Black president in the union’s 140-year history in Ontario.

“My vision is to encourage people from all backgrounds who aspire to work in the industry or to become carpenters to step forward and become a member,” Campbell told the Daily Commercial News. “My vision is to continue to grow the organization. My vision is to have the organization be a symbol of what our construction unions should be in terms of representation, in terms of community involvement, in terms of reflecting the local community that they’re serving.

“I want to continue to build on the legacy of previous presidents and leadership.”

Campbell, who was previously the vice-president, is taking over the role from Paul Daly, who assumed the position at the end of 2021.

He is also the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the Carpenters’ Regional Council.

Over the years he has gained a lot of knowledge and experience in the sector which began when he attended a technical school in Kingston, Jamaica. When he came to Canada he wanted to attend university but didn’t have the resources to do so.

Chris Campbell Carpenters’ Union Local 27
Chris Campbell
Carpenters’ Union Local 27

“My dad and uncles were tradespeople,” Campbell recalled. “I went back to what was traditionally done in my family. I just gravitated to that. I came here, I got hooked up with a mentor…he directed me to the Carpenters’ Union. That’s how my career got started.”

About 35 years ago he walked through the doors of the union at the 64 Signet Dr. office as a first-year apprentice.

“My journey to the presidency has been one of commitment, sacrifice and perseverance,” Campbell said.

“It is an honour to serve as president, representing all members of the Carpenters’ Union. I am eager to continue fostering growth and strengthening the relationships between our membership, executive board, representatives and administrative staff.”

It was former president Mike Yorke who first encouraged him to go to meetings and get involved in the union.

“He was a new business representative. He took pictures for the union magazine and told me I should start attending meetings,” Campbell recalled.

So he decided to give it a shot.

“To be honest I saw representatives that looked like me at the podium…and it influenced me,” he said. “The saying is, ‘If you can see it, you can be it.’ Representation matters.”

“Since then a lot of people in the local community, when they attend meetings and they see me sitting up there as the vice-president at the podium, I’ve been told that inspires them to want to be involved. I feel I’m just paying it forward.”

Some of the most important accomplishments for Campbell over the years have been taking part in humanitarian efforts and giving back. He helped build homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was also part of the team to build schools in Haiti and Jamaica.

Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela

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