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Union Contractors Committee Meets During Convention, Sets Conference Call Schedule for Rest of Year

April 16, 2019

AGC of America’s Union Contractors Committee held two sessions during the association’s 100th Annual Convention in Denver, CO.  At an open meeting of the Union Contractors Steering Committee on April 3, participants received updates from committee leaders and staff and conducted a roundtable discussion on matters of concern to union contractors and their AGC chapters.  The committee also set the following dates for 2019 Union Contractors Conference Calls:  June 11, September 10, and November 19.  Each call will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time and is open to all interested AGC members and chapter staff.

Also on April 3, the Committee hosted the State of the (Operating Engineers) Union session featuring guest speaker Jim Callahan, the general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers.  Callahan provided remarks about his organization’s current activities and showed a video showcasing the union’s new International Training and Conference Center in Crosby, TX.  Built by AGC-member W.S. Bellows, the state-of-the-art facility boasts a 265-acre campus, over 8,000 square feet of conference space, a 12-pad crane field, and various other features designed to enhance the skills of construction and stationary operating engineers.  At Callahan’s invitation, a group of AGC representatives visited the impressive center last June, shortly after it opened.

The center recently hosted a four-day peer support training program designed to address the opioid crisis, Callahan reported.  He talked about his union’s efforts to address the drug addition and suicide problems among the workforce.  The traditional mentality of “grin and bear it” when a worker is in pain has helped create a growing drug addition problem, he said, and needs to change.  The union is introducing the concept of “Focus Five” safety, adding the element of behavioral health, suicide, and addiction to the traditional OSHA Focus Four.

Callahan also shared his views on multiemployer pension reform, stating that he favors reform but not bailouts.  Healthy plans, like his union’s national pension fund, should not have to bail out plans that fail to make cuts when needed, he said.  He also expressed support for hybrid plans and opposition to big hikes in PBGC premiums.

The Union Contractors Steering Committee hopes to meet again with Callahan, along with other building trade leaders, in December. 

For more info, contact Denise Gold, AGC’s associate general counsel, at goldd@agc.org or (703) 837-5326.

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