Carpenters Who Care

July 29, 2021

Members Helping Members with their Fight for Sobriety 


Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health. (1)


In 2017, a group of carpenters wanted to get together in Philadelphia regarding the rise of addiction-related deaths in the construction industry. This group of carpenters was made up of members who suffered from addiction and wanted to figure out a way to provide assistance to other members who were struggling too. They knew action was needed so now-retired Assistant Executive Secretary-Treasurer Michael Hand called on Joe Scaletti of Local Union 254 to help form an anonymous support group. 


“We saw a problem and we wanted to do something about it,” Hand said, “Carpenters are always leading the industry in every facet of construction. Mental health and substance abuse assistance is another factor that we are proud to lead the effort on.”


For Joe Scaletti, this is a personal cause. He sees his own story of becoming sober as a call to help others. 


“I have been sober since March 17, 1993 when I was 19 years old,” Scaletti explained. “I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. Tired of living that lifestyle where you are constantly chasing drugs and alcohol.”


When it comes to construction Joe understands that the job site is a very specific place and support from a brother or sister of your union can make all the difference. That is why he offers his phone number to any construction worker looking for help. Being sober and being a union carpenter has meant the world to him and he wants to let people know it can do the same for them. 


“Being sober has given me a family, a career, and a purpose. Without recovery, I would have none of this. For over 27 and a half years it has been a rocky road. I realized now that there is not a situation that I will go through in my life that someone else hasn’t gone through who picked up a drink or drugs.” said Scaletti


“Anonymity is a huge part of what makes Carpenters Who Care successful,” Scaletti explained,  “This isn’t big brother checking in, this isn’t the council. This is member-driven and your identity and information stay with us. Leadership and staff get it. They want to help and the best way is to hand the reins to rank and file members to help each other out.” 


Carpenters Who Care is for anyone suffering from addiction and is not affiliated with any 12 step program nor is it monitored or affiliated with the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. This way we can better be a resource to everyone who is suffering from addiction and our members can talk about anything at meetings. “We are a member-to-member group,” Scaletti said, “Helping each other stay or get on the road to recovery.”


Any member who is suffering, has questions, or would like to lead a meeting in their area, can call Joe at (609) 577-3947. 




  1. New York University, “Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine”, October 30, 2019, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191030082825.htm