“Local 49 has helped provide professional, well trained, safe and motivated employees. The health and welfare and pension alone helps us retain our employees which in turn saves us time and money.”
Tim and Kenny Maki, owners of KTM Paving, Inc., Duluth.
As a contractor, you have a lot to gain by becoming signatory to an IUOE agreement. IUOE contractors are qualified to bid on public infrastructure projects in addition to private and industrial development work. And for contracts requiring prevailing wage rates, you can devote you attention in bidding to your expertise because wage rates will be the same for all bidders. Your biggest gain, of course, is your employees – IUOE members are well-trained, skilled, safe, and productive. And we take pride in doing the job right the first time and completing the work on time.
You also have a lot to lose by becoming an IUOE contractor, namely the administration costs of health insurance and pensions. Under all IUOE agreements, the jointly-trusted labor-management funds bear the cost of administering these programs.
If the idea of being an IUOE contractor is new to you, it’s possible you have some preconceived notions about unions in general. Here are some common myths:
Myth: Union operators cost too much (i.e. wages and benefits).
Truth: Qualified, skilled operators through quality work and high productivity lower overall job costs.
Myth: I have to pay the same for all operators regardless of skill levels.
Truth: IUOE local unions offer various wage rates on all equipment. In addition, nearly all locals have state and/or federally-approved apprenticeship programs where operators receive a lower wage rate while they develop their skills.
Myth: Union contractors have no control over the workforce.
Truth: The employer has the right to discharge for cause and to determine qualifications of employees.
Myth: Union contracts limit flexibility and productivity and dictate restrictive work rules and working conditions on construction jobsites.
Truth: IUOE local union agreements are responsive to contractors’ needs for flexibility. Our union contractors wouldn’t have the strong, successful businesses they have if our local unions were holding them back. So of course we want our contractors to be successful. When they succeed, we succeed.
Myth: Union contractors have no control over hiring.
Truth: Contractors can specify skills, request workers by name, determine qualifications and reject any referral from the local union.
Myth: I can’t compete against local contractors as a union contractor in my market niche.
Truth: Your current market probably already include successful union contractors and subcontractors.
Myth: If I sign your agreement my guys will be hit with huge fees and union dues, and they may be replaced with “union cronies”.
Truth: The long-term benefits will more than offset the cost of union dues and admission to union membership is based on non-discriminatory criteria.
Click here to find a local union near you.