On Nov. 1, 2018, members of AGC of America’s Union Contractors Steering Committee and other AGC leaders and staff held a lunch meeting with several leaders of the building trades in Washington, DC. Participants discussed a variety of matters currently of concern to union contractors and labor.
Workforce recruitment and development were among the top issues discussed, including concerns about contractor support for registered apprenticeship programs, the approval process for such programs, and the “wash-out” rate from them. Industry image and sex harassment as barriers to the recruitment of women was also discussed. Creative recruitment efforts, such as the Dig In! games developed by AGC’s chapters and the Operating Engineers union in Western Pennsylvania, were discussed as well.
Participants also discussed the workforce challenges of opioid abuse, marijuana use, and suicide. Medical marijuana was discussed as a contributing solution to over-reliance on opioids for pain management.
NABTU leaders spoke further about efforts reported earlier to invest union-supported funds in a manner that supports union construction and the use of responsible contractor policies to advance that goal.
Multiemployer pension reform, project labor agreements, national agreements, and industry advancement funds were among the other topics discussed.
Labor leaders in attendance included: North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey, NABTU Secretary-Treasurer Brent Booker, Ironworkers General President Eric Dean, Roofers General President Kinsey Robinson, Bricklayers General President James Boland, and Cement Masons General President Dan Stepano, and NABTU Director of Government Affairs Sonia Ramirez.
AGC representatives in attendance included: AGC President Dirk Elsperman of Tarlton Corp., AGC Union Contractors Committee Chairman Doug Maibach of Barton Malow Co., Fred Biermann of Alberici Constructors, Jim McNelis of Joseph B. Fay Co., Jack Ramage of Master Builders' Association of Western Pennsylvania, AGC CEO Steve Sandherr, AGC Associate General Counsel Denise Gold, and AGC Senior Director of Congressional Relations Jim Young.
Both sides expressed interest in holding such meetings on at least an annual basis, with as many building trades general presidents as possible.