When thinking about joining a building contractor union, one of the first questions folks in the trades often have is about what their union actually does. People tend to think of unions in reference to fighting over wages, especially due to the image from news stories about the union that represents teachers. But a union does a lot more for its members than you might think.
An Assurance of Quality
Hiring union contractors is an assurance of quality to customers. Those looking to sign contracts for projects understand that the union itself cares about keeping their work site safe, and they also appreciate the commitment the union has to bringing on only qualified professionals. Whether you are an independent contractor or the operator of a company, you can hold that assurance of quality out to potential customers as a strong selling point.
Low-quality companies have a tendency to not be fans of union labor. There's a deterrent value in finding out who doesn't really want to provide fair wages and safe working conditions. It's often easier to deal with jobs when you know everyone involved is on the same page about these issues.
Everyone has had a moment on the job where they've felt taken advantage of by a boss, a customer, or even a member of the public. One person who is a builder can often feel like they have no power to address such concerns, but a building contractor union can represent that person's interests and see that their complaints are heard.
A union typically provides its members access to attorneys who can help them understand complex situations, such as complaint processes, arbitration, and firing. Instead of having to hunt for counsel when there's a problem, you'll have a qualified lawyer who knows the ins and outs of labor and construction regulations, for example, available to advise you.
Access to Union Shops
Many businesses use the building contractor union recruitment process as a filter when bringing in new members. Folks who are looking to move up in the trades can come into a union shop knowing that there's a process in place for ensuring that qualified contractors can advance. Training programs are available, and there may even be assistance for finding apprenticeships, preparing for tests, and getting licensed. You also can breathe a little easier knowing that the larger union system provides great job security in an industry that has ups and downs.