Rchard Bermack Photography


Industrial Carpenters Local 2236
at the McRoskey Mattress Factory
Organized Labor
April 2009

When people think of the building trades and union carpenters, they think of massive construction sites and downtown skyscrapers, but Industrial Carpenters Local 2236 represents many small shops building custom products. McRoskey Mattress Company, founded in 1899, is one of those small shops. McRoskey’s main facility, a three-story Victorian building on Market Street, was built in 1925 by the grandfather of Robin Azevedo, the present owner. Walking through the building, with its high ceilings and bay windows, one is taken back to a time when manufacturers cared more about producing a quality product than creating the cheapest; when manufacturers bragged about creating the best product possible, and that meant using skilled union labor. McRoskey’s builds their mattresses from scratch, starting with 700-pound stands of wire that are turned into coils and woven into the steel innersprings that are the heart of their mattress. The work is largely done by hand, with the use of a few machines the company purchased in 1948 from an innersprings manufacturer that was going out of business. Workers can rotate tasks, giving the factory the feel of a workshop rather than an assembly line. The mattresses are custom built to order, including custom sizes and dimensions. The company has a mattress showroom at the Market Street building we visited. Those interested in buying a union-made mattress can also check their website, www.mcroskey.org. The company provides its employees with mattresses at a very affordable rate, so after a hard day’s work, they get to enjoy the comforts of their labor. How is the mattress to sleep on? Wonderful, all the workers replied with pride. Industrial Carpenters Local 2236 represents 1200 workers in over 35 shops in the San Francisco Bay Area. McRoskey employs about 25 Union workers.