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.

Benefits of a labor union and apprenticeship

Ciacchi detailed the benefits of strong labor unions, which help expand the middle class. Labor unions are able to deliver high quality work through comprehensive training, decent pay and great benefits.

Registered apprenticeships are the backbone of building trades unions such as the OPCMIA, and offer hands-on training to ensure tradesmen and tradeswomen perform high quality work. Hundreds of jobsite and classroom hours prepare workers for the rest of their careers. Apprentices earn while they learn and get paid for the work they perform during their training. 

Labor unions continued to train apprentices during the pandemic, in part due to the labor shortage. Operations have evolved with the COVID-19 pandemic, as some of the classroom work is now done online.

Although apprentices have returned to the classroom, instructors continue to be cautious to ensure training centers remain clean and safe for everyone.

Work opportunities in the construction industry

As the U.S. lifts itself out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry is booming. Private businesses are restarting projects put on hold due to the pandemic. Businesses and municipalities who took advantage of limited traffic are continuing projects.

Infrastructure plans are ramping up with a great momentum behind a sizable federal plan. Ciacchi said an infrastructure plan will deliver considerable work for the trades and ensure that union tradesmen and tradeswomen have work for years to come.


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