COVID-19 has challenged union workers to adapt under pressure

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented challenges on workers, particularly for essential workers on construction sites, hospitals and other potentially dangerous settings.

Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss how the pandemic has transformed labor in America.

McGarvey also discussed the need to grow union apprenticeships and why he is seeing more people with college degrees seek professions in the building trades. Continue reading

Union fills jobs during New England construction boom

Iron Workers Local 7 represents over 3,800 workers in the steel industry, covering Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. The Union has grown steadily over the years and currently seeks to recruit more apprentices to help fill jobs during the ongoing construction boom.

Grant Provost, a Business Agent of Iron Workers Local 7, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss efforts to grow the Union, the demand for ironworkers in New England and how the Union is preparing to fill that need. Continue reading

Unions fight for worker health and safety in the midst of a pandemic

Unions strive to ensure members stay safe from disease and receive compensation when they cannot work if they become sick or need to quarantine. This can be an uphill battle in so-called “Right to Work” states.

Glenn Kelly, President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Local 8 Southeast, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the challenges of navigating health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle to keep workers paid when they are sick and cannot work. Continue reading

Union careers offer good pay, benefits and the means to raise a family

Following eight years under Gov. Scott Walker’s leadership, the climate in Wisconsin was decidedly anti-union, with So-Called “Right to Work” laws in the state and the loss of Prevailing Wage. Now thanks to Gov. Tony Evers, the labor climate is recovering and unions are regaining their strength.

Dan Bukiewicz, President of the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the infrastructure bill recently passed by the U.S. Senate means for the trades, as well as the great opportunities apprenticeship brings to high school and college graduates looking to start union careers. Continue reading

Infrastructure bill to bring good paying union jobs to the trades

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, recently passed by the U.S. Senate, includes $550 billion in new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over the next five years. The bill would invest $110 billion for roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, including $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement and rehabilitation.

That kind of investment is good news for American workers, particularly organized labor.

Brian Farmer, an Apprenticeship Coordinator with the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons International Association (OPCMIA) Local 633, recently joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the bill means for workers and why apprenticeship is becoming more popular. Continue reading

Boston Insulators push apprenticeship as a quality education

Union building trades apprenticeships can lead people to a prosperous life with great career skills. For generations, these programs have been the gold standard of construction training.

The members of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers go through one of these rigorous training programs, as apprentices learn the mechanical insulation trade. Insulators Union Local 6 Business Agent Jeff Saliba discussed apprenticeships and why the training is necessary on the AWF Union Podcast. He also discussed Prevailing Wage and other issues in the Boston area. Continue reading

Union tradesmen, tradeswomen keep busy as COVID-19 restrictions ease

Construction projects are taking off all over the U.S. 

Part of the building boom is driven by a number of projects put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while other projects are being driven by the favorable economy.

On a recent America’s Work Force Union Podcast, Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA) International Representative Joe Ciacchi discussed how union members are handling the building boom and the benefits of a registered apprenticeship program. Continue reading

Carpenters organize a diverse workforce in Tennessee

Union organizing is picking up, with more diverse populations becoming members of the building trades. Even in So-Called “Right to Work” states, unions are finding some organizing success.

United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 74 Business Representative Rodney Graham discussed his Local’s organizing progress on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast. He also discussed immigration reform and other issues. Continue reading

Apprenticeship returns to the classroom as COVID-19 threat subsides

With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to subside as more Americans become vaccinated and herd immunity is reached, registered building trades apprenticeship classes are getting back into full swing.

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 38 President Mike Muzic expressed gratitude for things returning to normal when he appeared on the AWF Union Podcast. He also provided listeners with an update on work in the Local 38 jurisdiction. Continue reading

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. Continue reading