Careers in Construction

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.

US Department of Labor - News Release - July 28th, 2010

Occupational Safety and Health Administration has finally issued a comprehensive new rule that is designed to stem the recent string of deaths and injuries involving construction cranes.

The new rule was released on July 28th, and according to OSHA it will affect roughly 267,000 construction and crane rental companies and certification organizations that together employ about 4.8 million workers.

Most provisions of the new rule will take effect November 8, 2010. One key provision requiring that all construction-crane operators be certified will become effective in 2014. At that time, crane operators will be required to be certified for the type of equipment they are using, while other crane-related workers, including riggers, will have to be deemed "qualified."

OSHA estimates that the regulation will prevent 22 fatalities and 175 non-fatal injuries per year.

In addition, the regulation includes new mandates for working around power lines, as well as provisions dealing with synthetic slings, a product that was not in use when the previous crane rule was issued 40 years ago. The new regulation requires synthetic slings to be used in accordance with manufacturers' instructions, during assembly and disassembly. Another new requirement in the rule is that tower-crane parts will have to be inspected before the crane is erected.

More about this at OSHA, Department of Labor;p_id=18048

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:


New York


New Jersey

Washington State






Ten States with Weakest Unions

(based on percentage of the workforce with a union) are:

North Carolina

South Carolina







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%


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau

BLS, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2004

National Education Association, Rankings and Estimates—Rankings of the States 2005 and Estimates of School Statistics, 2006, November 2006.

Fair Vote, the Center for Voting and Democracy. Committee for the Study of the American Electorate.

Kathleen O’Leary Morgan and Scott Morgan, State Rankings 2006, Morgan Quitno Press, 2006.

U.S. Census Bureau

Need to stretch your food budget?  Check out Fare For All. Save 30-50% On Food. Open to Everyone - Distribution Sites Across Minnesota - Nutritious Food at a Great Value - Packages of Fresh Produce and Frozen Meals. Fare For All offers a variety of packages each month. There is sure to be a package that meets your needs! Order as many packages as you want in any combination as you want for pick-up at your local Fare For All site. There are two different distribution formats: Traditional and Express


Order a Traditional Fare For All Package- Pre-Order your Food Package for Pick-up in your Neighborhood

Fare For All offers a variety of packages each month. There is sure to be a package that meets your needs! Order as many packages as you want in any combination as you want for pick-up at your local Fare For All site.

If it is your first time ordering- Simply call 763-450-3880 or 1-800-582-4291 to place an order.

Check packages and prices to determine what food packages would be the best value for you.

When pre-paying for your traditional package, orders must be submitted five business days before pick-up to make sure we have your order by distribution, usually the 3rd weekend of the month (sometimes the weekend changes so please check the specific 2010 dates). When you pick up your package you have the opportunity to order for the following month with cash, check, or EBT. Otherwise you can continue to order through the Fare For All phone line using your credit or debit card.

Traditional Fare For All accepts the following forms of payment: Cash, Checks, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Food Support Funds (EBT).


Fare For All Express offers packages of fresh produce and frozen meat at up to 40% savings. There are distribution locations throughout the metro area where packages are sold. There is no need to sign up in advance; come to any location and bring your food home that day. All of the food is purchased in bulk directly from wholesalers. Utilizing bulk purchasing power allows us to get product at a good value and pass on the savings to our customers. Fare For All strives to offer quality and nutritional food packages. The exact content of the packages changes each month while the value remains the same. Please contact us if you have questions regarding the food we distribute. Fare For All Express accepts cash, credit/debit cards, and EBT cards. We do not accept personal checks.

The Following Packages are Available at the Fare For All Express Locations

Regular Pack $17 – The Regular Pack contains 2-3 fresh fruits, 4-5 fresh vegetables and 3-4 frozen meat items.

Meat Only Pack $12 – The Meat Only pack includes a variety of 3-4 meat items such as beef, chicken, fish, or pork.

Vegetarian Pack $10 – The Vegetarian pack contains a generous amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, often accompanied by a dry food item such as beans or pasta

Monthly Special Prices vary from $22 to $30 – Each month Fare For All offers a monthly special. During the holidays the monthly special contains all of the fixings for a holiday meal (turkey or ham, potatoes, pie, vegetables, and more!) During other months the monthly special is a Mega Meat, an assortment of meat items.

Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:00am - 1:00pm

Honoring Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council:

11:00am Luncheon & Celebration

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eden Wood Center Dorm

6350 Indian Chief Road

Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Unions Are Good for Business, Productivity and the Economy

According to Professor Harley Shaiken of the University of California-Berkeley, unions are associated with higher productivity, lower employee turnover, improved workplace communication, and a better-trained workforce.

Prof. Shaiken is not alone. There is a substantial amount of academic literature on the following benefits of unions and unionization to employers and the economy.

Economic Growth



Product or service delivery and quality



Solvency of the firm

Workplace health and safety

Economic development

Economic Growth

During the period 1945-1973, when a high percentage of workers had unions, wages kept pace with rising productivity, prosperity was widely shared, and economic growth was strong. Since 1973, union density and collective bargaining have declined, causing real wages to stagnate despite rising productivity. This decline in union density and bargaining contributed to the current financial crisis and severe recession, as unsustainable asset appreciation and easy credit too the place of wage increases most workers were not getting.


According to a recent survey of 73 independent studies on unions and productivity: “The available evidence points to a positive and statistically significant association between unions and productivity in the U.S. manufacturing and education sectors, of around 10 and 7 percent, respectively.”

Some scholars have found an even larger positive relationship between unions and productivity. According to Brown and Medoff, “unionized establishments are about 22 percent more productive than those that are not.”

Product/ Service Delivery and Quality

According to Professors Michael Ash and Jean Ann Seago [5] heart attack recovery rates are higher in hospitals where nurses are unionized than in non-union hospitals. According to Professor Paul Clark, nurse unions improve patient care by raising staff-to-patient ratios, limiting excessive overtime, and improving nurse training.

Another study looked at the relationship between unionization and product quality in the auto industry.  According to a summary of this study prepared by American Rights at Work:

“The author examines the system of co-management created through the General Motors-United Auto Workers partnership at the Saturn Corporation…The author credits the union with building a dense communications network throughout Saturn's management system. Compared to non-represented advisors, union advisors showed greater levels of lateral communication and coordination, which had a significant positive impact on quality performance.”


Several studies in have found a positive association between unionization and the amount and quality of workforce training. Unionized establishments are more likely to offer formal training. This is especially true for small firms. There are a number of reasons for this: less turnover among union workers, making the employer more likely to offer training; collective bargaining agreements that require employers to provide training; and finally, unions often conduct their own training.


Professor Shaiken also finds that unions reduce turnover. He cites Freeman and Medoff’s finding that “about one fifth of the union productivity effect stemmed from lower worker turnover. Unions improve communication channels giving workers the ability to improve their conditions short of ‘exiting.’”


Labor’s enemies assert that unions drive employers out of business, but academic research refutes this claim. According to Professors Richard Freeman and Morris Kleiner, unionism has a statistically insignificant effect (meaning no effect) on firm solvency. Freeman and Kleiner conclude “unions do not, on average, drive firms or business lines out of business or produce high displacement rates for unionized workers.”

Workplace Health and Safety

Employers should be concerned about workplace health and safety as a matter of enlightened self-interest. According to an American Rights at Work summary of a study by John E. Baugher and J. Timmons Roberts:

“Only one factor effectively moves workers who are in subordinate positions to actively cope with hazards: membership in an independent labor union. These findings suggest that union growth could indirectly reduce job stress by giving workers the voice to cope effectively with job hazards.”

The benefits of unions in terms of safer workplaces are hardly new. According to one most recent study, unions reduced fatalities in coal mining by an estimated 40 percent between 1897 and 1929.

Economic Development

Unions also play a positive role in economic development. One good example is the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, “an association of 125 employers and unions dedicated to family-supporting jobs in a competitive business environment. WRTP members have stabilized manufacturing employment in the Milwaukee metro area, and contributed about 6,000 additional industrial jobs to it over the past five years. Among member firms, productivity is way up--exceeding productivity growth in nonmember firms.”

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Provides $33 Million for Five 15 on the Park in Minneapolis

 Five 15 on the Park

The HIT is providing $33 million of pension capital funding for construction of Five 15 on the Park, a 259-unit apartment complex in Minneapolis. The $52 million project is expected to generate approximately 260 union construction jobs at a time when construction unemployment remains high.

Five 15 on the Park is located in the Cedar-Riverside neighbor on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, an area that is experiencing a strong demand for affordable rental housing and that the city has designated a development district. Half of the units in the new six-story building will be affordable, with the remaining units to be market rate. Plans for ground floor commercial space include a neighborhood community center, child day care center, and healthcare facility. These features, combined with the project’s location near mass transit options, make Five 15 on the Park consistent with the goals of the Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth, which promotes high density transit-oriented development.

“Five 15 on the Park is just the kind of development that Minneapolis and this neighborhood have said they need,” said HIT Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Stephanie H. Wiggins. “It represents sustainable, quality, affordable housing, well-connected to mass transit so that people have better access to jobs and services and community amenities. We are very pleased to help make this project a reality.”

Five 15 on the Park is the HIT’s latest investment with mortgage banker Oak Grove Capital, LLC. The HIT has helped finance 35 housing projects in Minnesota working with Oak Grove and its predecessor company.

In keeping with the HIT’s labor requirements, all work on the project will be performed under collective bargaining agreements with the Minneapolis building trades unions.

“The HIT has been a good friend to the building trades here in Minneapolis through its investment in projects like Five 15 on the Park that are built all-union,” said Dan McConnell, Business Manager for the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council. “These HIT-financed projects are creating good jobs for our members while showing the community the value of working union.”

Five 15 on the Park is located directly across the street from historic Riverside Plaza, an iconic apartment complex that recently completed a substantial rehabilitation with help from $50 million in HIT financing. The 1,303-unit Riverside Plaza development has been a major source of affordable housing for city residents for over 35 years.

The HIT has invested over $322 million in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area over the last 10 years, building or preserving almost 3,600 units of housing in 23 projects and generating over 3,200 jobs for members of the local building and construction trades unions.

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