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.

Careers

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.

Electrical Workers crash Bonfe’s open house

Bonfe’s Plumbing, Heating and Air Service held an open house for prospective employees last night in St. Paul, but not everyone on the guest list appreciated the invite.

About two dozen members of St. Paul-based Local 110 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers surrounded Bonfe’s property during the open house. They carried signs and banners, distributed leaflets and warned the public – and potential employees – that Bonfe’s does not pay its electricians wages and benefits that meet area standards. 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 »

Construction Hits Five-Year High in New Jobs Report, Unions Making Gains in Unexpected Places

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 »

The Skilled Workers Behind the Green Line

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As Minnesotans finally get to enjoy the Green Line, the construction workers who built it are basking in the satisfaction of a job well done. All told, Green Line construction created thousands of jobs, launching hundreds of new careers in several skilled construction roles. Read more »

Report shows value of Union Depot project

It’s a multimodal transportation hub poised to serve the Twin Cities Metro. It’s an architectural jewel in St. Paul’s booming Lowertown district. And according to the results of a new study, the renovated Union Depot has been – and continues to be – an engine for job creation and economic growth. Read more »

Union Depot rehab provided big return on public investment, study finds

It’s a multimodal transportation hub poised to serve the Twin Cities Metro. It’s an architectural jewel in St. Paul’s booming Lowertown district. And according to the results of a study released today, the renovated Union Depot has been – and continues to be – an engine for job creation and economic growth. Read more »

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 »