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

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

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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 »

Union Construction Training Program Graduates First All-Female Class in CT

For the first time since its inception in 1999, New Haven County’s own Construction Worker Initiative 2 (CWI2) graduated its first all-female class. On October 23rd, 37 women collected certifications in carpentry or painting and taping from the training school. The program, which prepares the city’s un- and underemployed residents for careers in construction, generally trains 200-300 males and females each year. Read more »

Union coalition launches “Shop at Your Own Risk” ad campaign

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Members of a coalition of 28 unions gathered outside Ridgedale Mall on Wednesday to launch a “Shop at your Own Risk” ad campaign warning shoppers of potentially serious safety hazards at the mall. Despite documenting and reporting many hazards at several of the mall’s construction sites over the past six months, the unions’ concerns have gone unheeded. Read more »

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 »