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

Volunteer pipefitters tune up furnaces for homeowners in need

Volunteer members of St. Paul Pipefitters Local 455 serviced furnaces for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners as part of the 29th annual HEAT’S ON day of service Sept. 27. Area union contractors, members of the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, supplied parts and vehicles to the effort, and 147 volunteers from Local 455 and other pipefitters locals provided the labor. Read more »

Gustafson honored for his legacy of leadership

Dan Gustafson, Jr., who began his career as a plasterer and ended as leader of Minnesota’s labor movement, has been honored with a plaque at the Minneapolis Labor Center.

Union officers and members mingled with Gustafson and his family at a reception Aug. 21 at the Union Bank & Trust, located in the labor center, 312 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis. They admired a large plaque with an image of Gustafson that is displayed in the lobby of the labor center. Read more »

Minnesota Laborers' FUNraiser nets thousands for charity

The Minnesota Laborers union inaugural Family FUNraiser & Picnic netted more than $23,000 for local charities, the union announced.

The event was held Aug. 16 at Minnehaha Falls Park in Minneapolis. Proceeds benefitted the Ronald McDonald House and the Laborers Charitable Foundation charities. Read more »

Pipe Trades, Mayo Clinic team up for cancer research

The United Association, a union of more than 370,000 plumbers, pipefitters, sprinkler fitters and service technicians worldwide, teamed up with the Mayo Clinic yesterday to raise an estimated $1 million for cancer research.  The total marks continued growth for the Pipe Trades’ golf tournament, held for the third consecutive year at Hillcrest Country Club, which is owned by St. Paul Pipefitters Local 455. Last year the event raised $800,000. Read more »

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Laborers Family Picnic FUNraiser features live music, kids activities, a car and motorcycle show and the philanthropy that has become the organization’s legacy. The Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota, along with The Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LECET) announced today plans for the first-ever Laborers Family Summer Picnic FUNraiser from 10 a.m. Read more »

Construction trades say job growth is key issue in upcoming elections

With two new stadiums in the works and $1 billion in new state infrastructure investments – as well as jobs-creating regional improvements like the Destination Medical Center here – the Building Trades unions in Minnesota are riding a wave of momentum.

That momentum is at stake in elections up and down the Nov. 4 ballot, speakers warned delegates to the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council’s annual convention at the Kahler Hotel last week. Read more »

Trades showcase apprenticeship programs at Construct Tomorrow career fair

Maria Meza watched intently as Robbie Luukkonen, a journeyman member of Bricklayers Local 1, installed ceramic tile onto a makeshift practice wall. When Luukkonen had finished the demonstration, Meza picked up the tools and tried tiling for herself.

This is the way Meza, who graduated from St. Paul Johnson High School in the spring, learns best. “I’m a hands-on type of person,” she explained. “I’m not the type of person to sit behind a computer all day.” Read more »

Laborers press Minnetonka school board to investigate child-labor charges

On July 24 Laborers Local 563 called on the Minnetonka School Board to commission an independent investigation into possible violations of state and federal child-labor laws stemming from construction work at district’s Scenic Heights Elementary School. Read more »

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The latest numbers from the ADP jobs report show construction at a five-year high.  Last month, construction jobs grew by 36,000, more than double May’s 17,000 added jobs and the largest monthly gain since February of 2006.  

The sharp rise in construction jobs signals a surging housing market.  According to ADP, 6.1 million people are now employed in the construction industry. Read more »

Huge Numbers of Steelworkers Rally for the Save Our Steel Jobs Tour

(This story includes a slideshow of the event, here.) Virginia, Minnesota was the final stop on the national Save Our Steel Jobs (#SOSJobs) campaign and over 2,000 Steelworkers, families and friends attended to let their fellow workers in Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Alabama, where previous rallies were held, that know they stand united. Read more »