Building a Union Career

What makes the construction industry different from other industries?

Jobs can't be exported. It's hard to imagine a day where the building needed in Kansas will be built in China and shipped overseas. According to the Buireau for Labor Statistics, the construction industry has been identified as the only goods-producing sector in which employment is expected to grow between 2002 and 2012.


If you find yourself fascinated with the construction of bridges, skyscrapers, schools and roads, construction might be a career choice for you.

There are many career opportunities in the construction industry. These jobs include carpenters, masons, plumbers and electricians. Employees in these jobs are highly skilled in their trades and gain their education through registered apprenticeships, technical school/college programs or AAS degrees at local community colleges.

Trades back measure putting teeth into bidding requirements

Public construction projects in Minnesota are awarded to the “lowest responsible bidder,” according to state law. But how do public agencies distinguish which bidders are responsible?

It’s a question the state’s Building Trades unions want answered during the 2014 legislative session. Read more »

Construct Tomorrow program at the Fairview Area Learning Center in Roseville

On Tuesday, March 4th, the Construct Tomorrow program provided hands-on trades experiences for over 200 students at the Fairview Area Learning Center in Roseville.  Students had an opportunity to wire circuits, trowel cement, cut and patch carpet.  The iron workers taught students how to walk an I-beam and practice tying re-bar.  Other stations included caulking demonstrations and learning how to build a stone archway.  At the end of the event, those students that express an interest in the trades are encouraged to fill out a survey to learn more information about constr Read more »

PolyMet mine debate has competing visions for Up North (StarTribune)

“This is clean copper mining,” said Harry Melander of Mahtomedi, a building and construction trades representative. “No one here wants to do damage to northern Minnesota. Let’s not blow a chance to establish globally what good clean copper mining is.” -Harry Melander, President, Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council. Read the full article at the StarTribune.

Laborers District Council President Jim Brady Retires After 41 Years of Service

After 41 years of distinguished union service, Jim Brady is retiring as president of the Laborers District Council at the end of this month. Todd Pufahl, the LDC's current Legislative Director, will step into the job, leading the District's 12,000 members.

The LDC will hold an event commemorating Brady's work and his legacy on Jan. 23. (See below) Read more »

"Who Built Our Capitol?" screening this Wednesday at CSPS Hall in St. Paul

This Wednesday there will be two screenings of a documentary about the workers and contractors who constructed the Minnesota statehouse. "Who Built Our Capitol?"  will be shown at 7 pm, Wednesday, January 15th at the CSPS (Czech-Slovak) Hall, 383 Michigan Street, St. Paul, MN 55102, near St. Clair Ave. on West 7th Street. Read more »

"Everyone Deserves A Seat" forum at Carpenters Hall on January 14th, 5:30-8:00PM

A Transportation, Jobs, and Equity forum featuring national speakers and local panelists. Join us for a night of inspirational, informational leaders in the field of transit and share our vision, feel our passion, wear our armor for the coming fight for transit dollars. Here is the flyer about the event:

Sheet metal industry eager to recruit women (StarTribune)

The hours are reasonable. The work is interesting and, at times, artful. The starting wage is about $21 an hour plus benefits.

So on Monday, Buck Paulsrud threw an open house sweetened with Halloween-orange sugar cookies, hoping to entice a hard-to-convince demographic to consider his trade.

"Women don't think this is for them," said Paulsrud, training coordinator at the Sheet Metal Workers' Local 10 Training Center in White Bear Lake.

"They are so underrepresented. We are doing everything in our power to change that." Read more »

"Apprenticeship:Building Your Career" video is available on YouTube or by DVD

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"Apprenticeship:Building Your Career" is a fast-paced twelve-minute video overview of what it means to be an apprentice in today's Building Trades. Shooting began last spring and was centered around the $243 million renovation of Union Depot in St.Paul.  Over a dozen apprentices agreed to appear in the video in interviews as well as being filmed working at their job sites. As it happened, shooting finished just as the Union Depot opened its doors to the public after years of reconstruction and rehabilitation.  Read more »

A New Woman: Program Prepares New York Women in the Building Trades

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The Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW) program in New York City prepares women for careers in construction and related industries through an innovative training and placement program that guides low-income women toward a meaningful career and solid financial footing. Read more »

Twin Cities janitors, security officers ratify new contracts

After two months without a contract, hundreds of hours of negotiations and a one-day strike, janitors and security officers represented by Service Employees International Union Local 26 voted Saturday to approve new contracts. Read more »