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While construction continues to boom in the United States and Canada, unfortunately union construction continues to see their market share in the industry dropping. There is however a great deal that can be done to change this trend. Bill Treharne of Midwest Steel in Detroit who also serves as the TAUC’s 2nd Vice President was on hand at the Iron Workers’ Apprenticeship Conference in St. Louis this September to touch on the challenges that face union construction and what can be done to make a difference.
One of the benefits most valued from gaining market share is the fact that with it come good paying jobs for the skilled union workforce of this country. So how can union labor and management make a difference in the marketplace to obtain new work? Treharne finds the answer in the reality that highly trained union craftsmen can outperform the non-union sector and The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC).
Maintaining a high set of standards when it comes to training is of the utmost importance to uphold the image that union craftsmen have worked hard to build. Unions like the Iron Workers have rigid training programs in place and continue to create more to meet the demands of the many skill sets required to meet specifications on jobsites. One such program is the National Iron Worker Welding Certification Program, which Treharne calls “a win-win situation.” The Iron Worker receives invaluable training he can carry with him throughout his career and the customer has the confidence that they are receiving a good product.
TAUC will be dedicated to providing its members with positive labor-management programs and online resources where union craftsmen will be able to hone their skills and be updated on new safety and health advances.
Treharne, like everyone in the union construction industry, understands the importance of maintaining drug free worksites, a skilled workforce, and good labor management relations. He concluded his talk in St. Louis by describing the confidence that he has in union labor and TAUC: “I know that with you working with the local management associations and TAUC we cab make it happen!”