The plan to increase the number of skilled building trades members

Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, made his monthly appearance on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and talked about the overwhelming need in Central Ohio to increase the region’s union building trades membership.

With two megaprojects underway, plus multiple other high-profile jobs in various stages of construction, C/COBCTC affiliated Local Unions are looking for ways to increase their membership.

On Feb. 3, Hager told AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc that many Locals are organizing workers from the non-union construction industry, especially the residential home building sector.

This method however creates a problem as Central Ohio needs more homes built. As the building trades continue to better the lives of those who build homes by organizing them into the unions, homebuilders struggle to find replacements to construct homes. 

Central Ohio’s building trades unions prepare to increase membership

Dorsey Hager

Dorsey Hager, C/COBCTC Executive Secretary-Treasurer

The multitude of high-profile projects in the Central Ohio region present an excellent opportunity for Local Unions to grow their numbers. Hager said IBEW Local 683 increased its size by 500 members in 2022 and is now one of the fastest-growing IBEW Locals in the U.S. 

The building trades are organizing non-union construction workers by explaining the benefits of Collective Bargaining Agreeements. Through CBAs, building trades members earn retirement and healthcare benefits, plus a good, living wage. Hager predicts there will be an overwhelming need for skilled tradespeople for the next 10 to 15 years.

The need for skilled workers

America's Workforce Radio Host Ed "Flash" Ferenc

America’s Workforce Radio Host Ed “Flash” Ferenc

Affiliated C/COBCTC affiliated Local Unions are responding to the need to grow their ranks in various ways.  Some have increased the frequency of accepting new apprenticeship applications, while others now take them year-round or on a rolling basis. 

Some Locals have already increased their membership and are now expanding their training centers since larger training centers can accommodate a larger apprentice class.

Additionally, in Central Ohio, the Locals also rely on the Buliding Futures Program, an Apprenticeship Readiness Program that introduces members of the underserved community to careers in the building trades. Hager noted that 20 percent of Building Futures graduates are women, which is above the national average of 3 percent.

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