Construction along the Gulf Coast picks up after pandemic slow down

Texas is booming with new construction and renovations of all sorts. Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused some projects to pause or slow down, plenty of work pushed ahead.

Building trades unions in Texas are increasing their market share and taking advantage of the abundance of work. Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Paul Puente joined AWF to discuss the building boom and how union affiliated contractors are helping to train the next generation of tradesmen and tradeswomen.

Construction along the Gulf Coast

The Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council covers Harris county, the home to Houston and 19 other counties. Within those counties there are 24 affiliated building trades unions.

Puente said while work is good in Texas and people and companies are flocking to the state, there was a slight slow down at the beginning of the pandemic while the situation was assessed. However, as proper personal protective equipment and vaccinations became available, projects picked back up and people returned to work.

In terms of local political support, Puente said it is difficult to build outside of the Houston metropolitan area, as state and federal politicians representing Texas have attacked unions for decades.

However, they have proved their work throughout the area. Projects such as Minute Maid Park, much of the work at the University of Houston and Texas Southern University have gone the way of the building trades. They are also trusted with much of the local hospital work.

Increasing apprenticeship opportunity

In order to meet the demand for the influx of work, more resources are being used to better train apprentices. Online learning capabilities were developed and embraced for some portions of the registered apprenticeship program, while much of the learning is done in a hands-on manner.

Safety training has been taken up a notch. These programs have adapted to teach tradesmen and tradeswomen how to work with infectious diseases present, a product of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, Puente said one of the most important teaching points is financial literacy. He said it is important to understand that construction is cyclical. While work is good now, Puente encourages apprentices to learn about saving money in order to weather the drop offs.


America’s Work Force Radio Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you stream your podcasts.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Listen on iHeart Radio


AMERICA’S WORK FORCE IS THE ONLY DAILY LABOR-RADIO PROGRAM IN THE US AND HAS BEEN ON THE AIR SINCE 1993, SUPPLYING LISTENERS WITH USEFUL, RELEVANT INPUT INTO THEIR DAILY LIVES THROUGH FACT-FINDING FEATURES, IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS, INFORMATIVE NEWS SEGMENTS AND PRACTICAL CONSUMER REPORTS. AMERICA’S WORK FORCE IS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING AN ACCESSIBLE VENUE IN WHICH AMERICA’S WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAN HEAR DISCUSSION ON IMPORTANT, RELEVANT TOPICS SUCH AS EMPLOYMENT, HEALTHCARE, LEGISLATIVE ACTION, LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS, CORPORATE PRACTICES, FINANCES, LOCAL AND NATIONAL POLITICS, CONSUMER REPORTS AND LABOR ISSUES.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, BMA MEDIA GROUP, COLUMBUS-CENTRAL OHIO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA, HEAT AND FROST INSULATORS AND ALLIED WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES DISTRICT COUNCIL 6, KELLEY & FERRARO, LLP,  LABOR CITIZEN MAGAZINE, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, NORTH COAST AREA LABOR FEDERATION, MARITIME TRADES DEPARTMENT, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, UNITED STEELWORKERS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.