There are many advantages to being a union member. Union members tend to be higher paid, more skilled, and have higher safety requirements in the workplace. The building trades especially are one of the most volatile industries. When the economy tanks, companies (public and private) tend not to due large construction projects. This is when being a union member is most beneficial.
The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) is proud of the work they do. Most recently they also helped create hundreds of construction jobs and even more long term jobs. They NERCC helped the city of Bridgeport to move forward on a project.
The project, the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School, is the largest school project in Connecticut state history. The building alone is over 340,000 square feet and will take two years to complete. Along with the building’s massive size they are also constructing new and innovative technologies for energy.
The most important part of this story is the work that the NERCC did to get the project off the ground. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said “The political action of the trade unions especially the Carpenter local 210 was really important, because the approval process was bogged down….Without the trade union support we would not be standing here building this school right now.
The Business Representative for Carpenters local 210, Mike Robinson, talked about making their presence known. Robinson said “We probably had 50 plus carpenters at those meetings and it was very pivotal in getting this job through.”
This project is about helping Bridgeport workers. With hundreds of carpenter hours over the next two to three years and the fact that over 60% of the workers are from Bridgeport, this is a huge boost to Bridgeport’s economy.
Mayor Finch is also proud of the fact that Bridgeport uses union workers, prevailing wages, and Project Labor Agreements. He said through a PLA “we get a job done on time, and on budget.”
Once again the Carpenters Union how effective collective bargaining and grassroots efforts can be in creating new jobs and economic recovery.