With COVID-19 restrictions being eased, the volume of work for tradesmen and tradeswomen is returning to pre-pandemic levels.
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada Local 68 Business Agent Rick Lord discussed the volume of work in the Houston area when he appeared on today’s episode of the America’s Work Force Union Podcast. Lord also talked about the Local 68 apprenticeship program and the expansion of their training center.
Plumbing work in Houston
During the past year, the Houston area suffered through the same perils as the rest of the U.S. The COVID-19 pandemic caused hesitancy in developers and project owners, many of whom indefinitely postponed projects.
The winter storms that caused widespread damage throughout Texas created some work for Local 68 members, however. Lord said it was nice that some members gained work opportunities, but the situation was entirely avoidable.
UA Local 68 apprenticeship
UA Local 68 recently spent $3.5 million to expand their training center in order to accommodate 600 apprentices. Lord is proud of the training center, and said it is the largest plumbing training center in the south and rivals other large training centers such as the one in Chicago.
At this time, Local 68 has no problem recruiting apprentices. Lord explained the problem is apprenticeship retention, as some apprentices realize they are not prepared to wake up early in the morning or work farther away from home than expected.
Finally, Lord said Local 68 is working to encourage apprentices and journeymen to start their own businesses. They have large signatory contractors handling large commercial facilities, but are in need of smaller contractors as well.