New York, NY – New York City District Council of Carpenters Local 45 is a Carpenters union whose jurisdiction is Queens and Southern Nassau County. They have built and worked on a plethora of iconic buildings and structures that thousands of people use every day. That includes such places as airports, Citifield, and a new Soccer Stadium that is in the works.

Joseph Reilly, President of New York District Council of Carpenters, Local 45, was born in Spanish Harlem in New York City, raised in Queens, and currently resides in Westbury, Long Island with his two teenage daughters. A Golden Hammer winner, he has over twenty years’ experience in the union. Reilly began his career as an apprentice in Local 45 before becoming shop steward, a trustee on the Executive Board, a recording secretary, Vice President, and finally, President of the Local 45.

Reilly says he loves his job because it allows for him to give back to his community. A self-described “die-hard union man,” Joseph said the union is important because it sets the standard for labor. “I worked non-union where I saw the abuse and safety violations and the unprofessionalism of the non-union sector. When I got into the union and saw the safety regulations and the professionalism, I knew these guys were the real deal.”

When asked what he loves best about the union, Reilly said the camaraderie and diversity. “Your race, gender, or sexual orientation do not matter. We’re all in this together and our diversity is our strength. Diversity is how we’re going to last for the next 100 years.”

As far as his beginnings, that led up to where he is now, Reilly says, “I started in construction as a kid, working with my friend’s dad, a bricklayer. He taught me a lot about the trades, and when I graduated H.S. he introduced me to a General Contractor who I worked for, for years. I finally got an offer from a Union Carpenter Company at Kennedy Airport and started as a second year Apprentice and never looked back.”

Reilly explained to LaborPress what exactly he means by being a “die-hard union man”, and who inspires him in his work and the fight for Labor rights. “I’ve been inspired by figures such as P.J. Maguire and Mother Jones and their fights to start the Labor Movement in America.

“I’m ‘die-hard’’ because Unions are more than just people doing their jobs. It’s the idea of equality, brotherhood and the collective. The concept of looking out for each other: cooperation over competition.”

Local 45 also finds ways to give back to the community, as well as benefiting from it, by welcoming new members from such essential programs as Helmets to Hardhats, which provides entry in the Union for those who have come from the military, and Non-traditional Employment for Women (NEW), which trains women in fields traditionally thought of as the purview of men, such as construction, carpentry, electrical, and more.

Says Reilly, “We have many members from HTH and NEW. They already know the biggest part of the job. They show up on time and ready to work.”

When asked what is most important to him as leader of Local 45, Reilly answers, “Local 45 has been well-respected by other Locals and other Trades. I aim to keep it that way, by continuing our community service and volunteer work.

His goals for the future of the Union? “To continue moving the Local forward with honesty and integrity that elevates the Labor Movement in New York City.”

Joseph Reilly, President, NYCDCC Local 45: “Diversity Is Our Strength”


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