Building Better Communities

Communities Do Better When Unions Are Stronger

Studies show that states in which more people are union members are states with higher wages, better benefits and better schools. While unions are just one of the factors that affect the quality of living, the pattern indicates that when workers have a voice, everyone in the community benefits—not just union members.

Ten States with Strongest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Alaska
  • New Jersey
  • Washington State
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Minnesota
  • California
  • Connecticut

Ten States with Weakest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Texas
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Utah
  • Mississippi
  • South Dakota

Ten States Where Unions Are Strongest  ----- Ten States Where Unions Are Weakest

Average Hourly Manufacturing Earnings, 2005 (1)
$17.01 -----$14.39

Median Household Income, 2005 (2)
$53,380  ----- $43,204

Percent of Population With No Medical Insurance, 2005 (3) -----
13.4% 17.5%

Workplace Fatalities Per 100,000 Employees, 2004 (4)
4.0 ----- 5.2

Public Education Spending Per Pupil, 2005-2006 (5)
$10,507----- $7,580

Percent of Eligible Voters Who Voted in Presidential Election, 2004 (6)
60.8% -----55.0%

Crimes Per 100,000 Population, 2004 (7)
3,715----- 4,168

Percent of Population in Poverty, 2005 (8)
10.4% -----13.4%

Sources:

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  2. U.S. Census Bureau
  3. U.S. Census Bureau
  4. BLS, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2004
  5. National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates—Rankings of the States 2005 and Estimates of School Statistics, 2006, November 2006.
  6. Fair Vote, the Center for Voting and Democracy. Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.
  7. Kathleen O’Leary Morgan and Scott Morgan, State Rankings 2006, Morgan Quitno Press, 2006.
  8. U.S. Census Bureau

Over 600 Road and Bridge Improvements Funded by Governor’s Proposal

2,200 miles of roadways and 330 bridges would be repaired or replaced statewide. Governor Mark Dayton and Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle today released a detailed list of more than 600 road and bridge improvements that would be completed if the Legislature passes the Governor’s proposed investments in transportation. The comprehensive list Read more »

Trades volunteers build Royal Courtyard for Winter Carnival

See video

Cutting, pushing, lifting and setting heavy blocks for eight to ten hours a day in the cold - and having fun doing it - over 50 Minnesota building trades volunteers harvested ice and built the Royal Courtyard for the 2015 St. Paul Winter Carnival.

The work began on Saturday, Jan. 17, when the workers harvested 1,000 blocks from Lake Phalen in St. Paul.  They used power rotary and chain saws to cut the blocks, as well as trucks to haul the ice.  Read more »

Minnesota unions make case for Sandpiper oil pipeline

A series of five public hearings on a proposed oil pipeline through Minnesota opened in St. Paul yesterday, and members of several Building Trades unions stepped forward to support the $2.5 billion venture, projected to create 1,500 construction jobs.  Read more »

Construct Tomorrow program grows, has big plans for next year

Rich Krohn is a faculty member at North Hennepin Community College and an enthusiastic supporter of “Construct Tomorrow,” a Job fair for the construction trades that was held in Brooklyn Park on November 14. He is also a member of the Pile Drivers union. His first job when he got out of high school was working on the construction of the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“I understand the value of a craft education and the ability to earn while you learn," said Krohn. "I’d like to see these students get that same kind of opportunity.” Read more »

Comments needed for the Sandpiper Pipeline Project in MN

This article has background about the project and the schedule of weeklong public hearings (that began on January 5) and some topics to consider while making your voice heard. Also,a comprehensive,printable document(pdf)from the MN PUC about this process can be found here. Read more »

Holidays bring increased stress for many workers, but help is available

The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for everyone. Job losses, financial troubles and workplace injuries or accidents often compound the stress faced by workers and their families.

For many union workers, help with these and other problems – substance abuse, depression, anxiety – is available through their employee assistance program, or EAP. Read more »

Unions Warn Black Friday Shoppers of Holiday Hazards at Ridgedale Center

Recent Discovery of Open, Unguarded Skylight Shows Continued Disregard for Public, Workplace Safety.

While holiday shoppers look for gifts this Black Friday at Ridgedale Center, union members say the mall’s owners should expect coal in their stocking due to lax construction safety practices that have repeatedly put shoppers and workers at risk. Read more »

Resurrection shows how the people's house is getting renovated

See video

A film by John Kaul is provides a fascinating look at the renovations going on at the MN State Capitol. You may be surprised at the scope of the project (it's huge), and when you look at work sites and see the incredible changes inside because of this radical overhaul, well, you have to see it to believe it: the tour is riveting.   Read more »

Helmets to Hardhats for our veterans

We offer vets free training for good jobs in the building trades.

The unemployment rate for our military veterans is roughly twice the national average. This is perhaps the most overlooked statistic in stories on the U.S. economy.

American troops have fought overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan for 13 years now — the longest sustained military engagement in our nation’s history. Our troops have been bloodied, bruised and battered on those faraway battlefields. Read more »

Classic CPWR Training Tools: Ahora en Español!

The U.S. construction industry employs upwards of two million Latinos, most of them foreign-born. They suffer death and injury on the job at rates well above the industry average, and many would benefit from quality Spanish-language safety and health materials. Read more »