Ohio Retired Carpenter Helps Hometown Take Steps Toward Fiscal Stability

Generations have passed through the ranks of the UBC over the organization’s 130+ years, and the Shelby family from the Youngstown, Ohio area is a perfect example. When Joseph Shelby, Sr. chose this father’s profession as a union carpenter, little did he know that he also was to trace his father’s steps into politics.

A 45-year retired member of Local 171 of the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters, Shelby Sr. was a general carpenter, foreman and superintendent, but he also developed superior skills in woodworking. His work is found in high-end private residences throughout the Eastern Ohio region. Shelby Sr. took skills he learned with the UBC and applied them as a five-term Councilman at Large for the City of Girard, Ohio. He’s made some big moves, just like his dad, Peter Shelby, did when he served on council and as the service director for the city.

“I always had admiration for my dad, who was a special carpenter, and he was involved in local city politics. Though I never cared for politics, when my father passed away, I realized that because of the nature of our community, giving my perspective and my dad’s perspective was needed.”

The nature of Girard and its 10,000 residents was grim when Joe Shelby took office. Girard was in the throes of a fiscal emergency from the state of Ohio. Shelby noticed a 192-acre brownfield that was curiously sitting adjacent to Youngstown, Ohio property that was being tapped for a new $1.2 billion factory. He sparked and then led negotiations with Youngstown officials and successfully got the Girard City boundary line moved around those 192 acres, so that it became part of the construction site.

“Now Girard gets 55 percent of all construction income tax and once construction is complete, Girard will share in 50 percent of corporate profits and income tax from the factory’s operations,” he said.
Shelby believes being a UBC member also means getting involved in your community: “Even from the position of a small Ohio town like Girard, a union member who’s involved can have a large impact on everyone.”