Wednesday
Sep202017

New Radio Campaign Promotes Skilled Labor

For the second year, Minnesota Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust (LECET) is promoting skilled labor through a series of radio spots appearing on KFAN and the entire KFAN Radio Network. The messaging helps associate union contractors and the men and women of LIUNA Minnesota as the skilled construction craft Laborers who are working to build a better Minnesota.

Click the following link to listen to the spots: http://www.laborersbuildmn.org/?p=483#more-483

Wednesday
Sep202017

Show Your LIUNA Pride & Sign-Up for our "Proud Member" campaign!

There is a lot at stake for LIUNA Minnesota & North Dakota members and their families next year. Whether it's protecting your job, wages, healthcare and retirement security, or safe, skilled and quality construction opportunities, we need members to be engaged and take action. The best way to make a difference right now is for LIUNA members and families to join our "Proud Member" campaign. Sign-up to receive imporant emails and other important communications and to share your story about you're a proud LIUNA member!

Please click the following link, complete & submit the form: https://goo.gl/forms/exflXH7SgdXTwPto1

Wednesday
Aug232017

Radio Ads Feature Southwest Minnesota Workers Challenging Wind Industry to Hire Local

Union-sponsored campaign highlights use of out-of-state workers, loss of local job opportunities on 200 MW EDF Red Pine Wind project near Marshall, MN

St. Paul, Minnesota. (August 17, 2017) – Construction union leaders announced today the start of a radio advertising campaign to urge the developers of renewable energy projects to commit to the creation of high-quality jobs for Minnesota workers.


The organizations, which represent tens of thousands of skilled construction workers statewide, are critical of developer EDF Renewable Energy for betraying local workers by hiring a general contractor that apparently relies heavily on out-of-state workers to build Red Pine Wind, a 200 MW windfarm that is currently under construction west of Marshall, MN.

The lack of opportunities for skilled locals does not sit well with Southwest Minnesota construction workers who are unemployed or commuting long distances to find work, especially those who have wind industry experience and were hoping to get a chance to help build Red Pine. The unions have responded by launching a radio campaign that is hitting the airwaves in Marshall, Worthington and other area communities.

“Our members have had enough,” according to Stacey Karels, President of the Mankato Building Trades, which represents construction workers across Southwest Minnesota. “The public needs to understand that skilled workers are losing the chance to put food on the table or tuck their kids into bed at night. And for what? So an energy company can boost profits?”

“It would be bad enough if it were just our members,” continues Karels. “But we’re also talking about the potential for millions of dollars in lost wages that could have boosted local economies in Florence and Pipestone and Lake Benton.   

The unions say that there are skilled workers with wind farm experience in Southwest Minnesota who would have been happy to work on the project. 

“I spent six months building Prairie Rose Windfarm,” said Garritt, who lives in Pipestone, MN and is featured on one of the radio spots. “We had many local workers there. At Red Pine, the license plates in the parking lot say it all: California, Oregon and Texas”.

The unions hope that by raising their voices in unison on the radio they will encourage developers to prioritize local hiring on future projects.

“Every developer comes to town promising to create jobs, but Minnesotans are starting to read the fine print,” says Ryan who lives in Worthington and is also featured.

“I always thought wind energy was a good thing for Southwest Minnesota, but I won’t support another project unless I know that they’re serious about putting our local people to work.”

ATTENTION EDITORS and REPORTERS: Interviews with these and other newsmakers can be scheduled with Robb Leer at 612.701.0608 or robbl@leercommunication.com. For additional information please visit http://www.LocalJobsMinn.org/ or find Build Better MN on Facebook.

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Friday
Aug182017

SATURDAY! Please join us at our annual family fun-raiser and picnic for LiUNA members, families, signatory Union contractor representatives and supporters to benefit Minnesota Laborers' Charities!

 



Saturday
Jul292017

Minnesota Construction Unions Demand Local Jobs for Local Workers on Renewable Energy Projects

 

 

Red Wing, Minnesota. (July 28, 2017) – Leaders of Minnesota’s Building Trades unions today called on the developers of renewable energy projects to commit to the creation of high-quality jobs for Minnesota workers and use of responsible contractors, as part of an action involving construction union leaders and members from across the state.

The unions, which represent tens of thousands of skilled construction workers statewide, are critical of renewable developer EDF Renewable Energy for “betraying local workers” by hiring a general contractor that apparently relies heavily on out-of-state workers to build Red Pine Wind, a 200 MW windfarm that is currently under construction west of Marshall, MN.

Union construction workers assembled on the morning of Friday, July 28, at Treasure Island Casino, during the Minnesota Building Trades’ 71st Annual Convention, to make a show of solidarity before voting for a strongly-worded resolution calling for the commitment of owners and developers of renewable energy projects to employ local workers and provide area standard wages and benefits.

“Whether it’s taconite, precious metals or wind, we believe that Minnesota’s natural resources should be used to put Minnesotans to work,” said Harry Melander, President of the Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council. “We have the most skilled and productive construction workforce in the country, and there’s no excuse for bringing in hundreds of out-of-state workers to take food off our tables."

“I spent half a year building Prairie Rose Windfarm,” said Garritt Thomssen, a member of Operating Engineers Local 49 from Lake Benton, MN. “There were dozens of locals on that project, and I thought Red Pine would be the same. But you look at the license plates: California, Oregon, Texas. To be honest, I can’t think of a single person from our area working on the project. We’ve got skilled labor and we need the jobs, so I don’t understand why EDF would shut us out.”

“Wind power is not a new frontier anymore. Local workers have as much experience as anyone,” according to Jim Nichols, a former State Senator and leading renewable energy advocate who also lives in Lake Benton. “Companies that want to leverage Minnesota’s wind resources can’t ignore the potential contributions of local workers. If you want to be a good steward, you need to look out for local communities and workers as well as the environment.

The unions hope that by standing together they will encourage developers to prioritize the creation of high-quality job opportunities on future renewable energy projects.

“Local people just want to work,” said Roger Krueger, a local farmer and construction laborer who lives in Tracy, MN. “These are projects that we should all be proud of, but it’s hard to be proud of something you can’t be a part of.”

ATTENTION EDITORS and REPORTERS: Interviews with these and other newsmakers can be scheduled with Robb Leer at 612.701.0608 or robbl@leercommunication.com. For additional information please visit http://www.LocalJobsMinn.org/ or find Build Better MN on Facebook.

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Renewable Energy Resolution to MN Building Trades 71st Convention

Whereas wind, solar, and other sources of renewable energy account for a rapidly growing share of energy production in Minnesota and across the nation; and

Whereas unions affiliated with the Minnesota Building Trades have assisted in the growth of the renewable energy industry through support for renewable energy projects and policies that promote the further development of the industry; and

Whereas union members affiliated with the Minnesota Building Trades have invested in the growth of the renewable energy industry through our affiliated labor-management pension funds; and

Whereas Minnesota’s construction industry provides family-supporting employment and careers to tens of thousands of local skilled workers; and

Whereas wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects have the potential to create family-supporting jobs and careers for skilled local construction workers, especially in parts of Greater Minnesota where jobs that offer family-supporting pay and benefits are in short supply; and

Whereas the use of skilled union labor to build renewable energy projects can help to offset some of the negative workforce impacts of conventional power plant closures, and make it easier for workers who have pursued careers in the conventional power industry to transition to other family-supporting employment; and

Whereas these benefits have already been realized on many renewable energy projects where the developers and owners selected responsible contractors that employ local union labor; and

Whereas these potential benefits are lost when developers and owners of renewable energy projects select nonunion contractors that rely largely on out-of-state workers, denying needed employment opportunities to local workers; and

Whereas Minnesota’s construction workforce is among the most skilled and productive in the nation, and is more than capable of meeting demand for renewable energy construction;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minnesota Building Trades and its affiliated unions call on renewable energy developers, project owners, an investors to commit to hire local skilled workers, and employ responsible contractors that provide area standard wages and benefits and maintain safe workplaces; and

Be it further resolved that, while the Minnesota Building Trades and its affiliated unions will continue to support renewable energy projects that we believe will create high-quality jobs for local skilled construction workers, we will oppose future projects that we believe will largely exclude local workers from construction employment opportunities or put workers at risk as a result of unsafe or unfair employment practices.

Thursday
Jul132017

Local 563: Tell Meadowland It's Time to Stop Outsourcing Construction and Put Local People to Work


LIUNA Local 563, which represents union construction laborers across southwest Minnesota, announced today a radio campaign to protest a Meadowland Farmers Co-op’s decision to hire a contractor that employs foreign guest workers for a major area construction project – denying locals much-needed employment. The campaign features the voices of local construction workers and recently began airing on six stations in Mankato, New Ulm and Redwood Falls.

Genuine Builders, a South Dakota contractor hired to work on the Co-op’s new 2.8-million-bushel grain facility in Walnut Grove, MN, has been identified as a top user of a controversial H2B visa program that allows companies to employ foreign guest workers for construction tasks that are typically performed by locals. Between January and July 2016, Genuine Builders applied for nearly 900 H2B visas for construction laborers –a fifth of the roughly 4,100 applications filed across the nation during that period.

On February 8, 2017, Genuine Builders received approval to hire 25 temporary foreign workers for the Walnut Grove project (see here). In May, a delegation representing skilled area construction workers delivered a letter to Meadowlands calling on the organization to hire contractors that employ locals, rather than relying on temporary foreign workers.

“Here in Southwest Minnesota there are twice as many people out of work as full-time job openings, so there’s no excuse for hiring temporary foreign workers,” said Mankato Building Trades President Stacey Karels. “Unfortunately, Genuine Builders knows how to game the system. That’s why we’re taking to the airwaves to warn our neighbors what they’re doing to our local communities.”

Genuine Builders claims that the company has difficulty finding workers. But in one of the radio spots, Local 563 member Jose Navejas describes his unsuccessful efforts to get a job on a Genuine Builders project.

“The message I got was that U.S. citizens shouldn’t bother to apply,” said Navejas, who has lived in Southern Minnesota for 30 years.

Robert Krueger, a family farmer and part-time construction laborer living in Tracy, MN, also chose to participate in the campaign to express his frustration with Meadowland’s contracting choices:

“I’ve taken my business to Meadowland for years, and I always thought they cared about people like me,” said Krueger.  “I can’t believe they brought in foreign workers when so many locals need the jobs.”

Karels hopes the regional radio campaign will encourage groups like Meadowland to hire contractors that employ skilled local workers.

“Our members are your neighbors. Why not give them the opportunity to earning a living while they help build Greater Minnesota and put money back into the local economy?”

About LIUNA Local 563

LIUNA Local 563 represents nearly 9,000 skilled construction craft laborers working in all aspects of the construction industry from the Twin Cities metro area to the state of North Dakota. Local 563 is affiliated with the half-million member Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) and the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota. For more information, visit the http://www.Local563.org.

Monday
Jun262017

Minnesota LECET launches radio ads to promote traffic safety, protect Laborers


For the third consecutive year, Minnesota LECET (Laborers-Employers Cooperation & Education Trust) has launched radio ads to promote traffic safety and protect skilled construction Laborers in highway work zones. The ads raise public awareness of LIUNA Minnesota members who build Minnesota's road and bridge infrastructure and a better Minnesota. The ads feature Jessie, a Local 563 member, and Joe Fowler, Local 563 Business Manager, and ask drivers to "Please slow down when you see orange." The ads will run on WCCO radio and Greater Minnesota radio stations.

Click here to listen to the radio ads

 

Enclosure

Thursday
Jun082017

Support Pipeline Careers! Attend a Line 3 meeting near you.

Enbridge has proposed replacing its aging Line 3 pipeline in Northern Minnesota with a new pipeline. The project would create hundreds of jobs for LiUNA members in Minnesota. As part of the process, the the state of Minnesota has completed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The Minnesota Department of Commerce is holding a series of public comment meetings along the possible routes and in Saint Paul so that the public can learn more about the project and submit comments if they choose to. 

To learn more about the project, check out these links:

Enbridge's Website on the Line 3 Project

Minnesota Department of Commerce Line 3 Website

 

In particular, we are asking members to attend Thursday's public hearing in Bemidji: Sanford Center, 1111 Event Center Drive, Bemidji; 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Click here for a link to the other scheduled public meetings.

Thanks for standing up for pipeline careers.

Friday
Jun022017

Please join us at our 2017 Family Fun-Raiser Picnic at Como Park! 

Please join us at our annual family fun-raiser and picnic for LiUNA members, families, signatory Union contractor representatives and supporters to benefit Minnesota Laborers' Charities!

 

 

 

Monday
Mar132017

Join Us for the 2017 Labor Health & Benefit Fair April 8th!

LIUNA members and signatory union contractor representatives are welcome to attend the 2017 Labor Health & Benefit Fair, Saturday April 8th, 2017 from 8:00-2:00 pm at the Minneapolis Convention Center.


Laborers Union members, as deemed eligible, will receive a $20 pre-paid gas card for attending the fair, as a way to offset any mileage or parking costs in getting to the event.  Once in the fair, attendees will be able to meet with hundreds of health professionals covering nearly every sector of the health services industry.  In addition, the fair is noted for kids activities, seminars on healthy living and cooking, prizes and so much more.  Members should plan a visit to the Laborers Hospitality area to receive the gas card, but also register for a host of other prizes, enjoy complimentary lunch and beverage for the member and their family and learn about our Pick 3, Get 1 healthy living promotion.