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Building and Construction Trades Council Provides Skilled Workforce

WHEELING — The Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council is a regional labor organization that is comprised of 16 local construction labor unions that supply skilled and well-trained tradespersons for work in the construction industry.

The council would like you to know more about what the council is, what it does and how it benefits local economies in the Upper Ohio Valley. Each of the 16 local construction unions affiliated with the council maintains an extensive and rigorous apprenticeship training program. The purpose for these training programs is to educate and provide on-the-job work experience for persons who wish to become skilled tradespersons in that local union’s trade jurisdiction.

These training programs typically range from from three to five years of classroom instruction and hands-on work experience. When apprentices work in the field for a construction employer, they are always supervised by a veteran and experienced journeyperson for that trade. These programs are funded exclusively by construction employer contributions and by contributions from members of the local union that sponsors the apprenticeship program.

All of these programs are endorsed by the Ohio State Apprenticeship Council and the United States Department of Labor. When a person graduates from these training programs, they are skilled tradespersons and can work in all facets of the trade for which they were trained.

Each one of the labor organizations affiliated with the council negotiates its own collective bargaining agreement with its construction employers. The council also negotiates project labor agreements for specific large projects undertaken within its jurisdiction. These collective bargaining agreements establish the wages and benefits that are available to members who work under these agreements. The council and its affiliates have striven for decades to establish a living wage for their members. This simply means a wage that will enable them to ensure that their children can look forward to a bright future for themselves and their families.

These agreements also provide security for council members and their families. Typically these agreements establish pension plans, retirement accounts, vacation plans and medical and health plans for members and their families. Once again, the funding for these benefit plans comes exclusively from construction employers and members of local unions affiliated with the council. There is not federal, state or local funding for these plans. The council and its affiliates strongly believe that the protections afforded by these benefit plans will assure that their members and their families will have health protection, as well as dignity and respect in their retirement years. The council and its affiliates are very proud of the standard of living that they have established for their members in the Upper Ohio Valley.

The council also is very active in supporting all of the local communities in which its members live and work. The council and its affiliates have always supported efforts to maintain and enhance education in our communities through support for local levies as well as federal and state funding for school districts.

The council participates in scholarship programs designed to assist high school graduates as they enter colleges, universities and trade schools. The council supports numerous charities such as the United Way, The Red Cross and various programs for the underprivileged and the unemployed.

Finally, the council actively endorses and supports programs such as Helmets to Hard Hats, which enables veterans from our armed forces to enter apprenticeship training programs and acquire a career in the construction industry. All of the support for these initiatives comes directly from members of the local unions affiliated with the council.

The council actively endorses legislative efforts to protect workers and which help preserve the standard of living for the construction workers that are members of the council.

Minimum wage legislation, prevailing wage laws, unemployment laws, safety lawscand laws that protect the integrity of pension plans have always been promoted by the council and its affiliates.

The council and its affiliates always have viewed themselves as partners with local governments, elected officials and state and local agencies and boards.

By actively involving themselves in local government, the council and its affiliates have been able to secure major construction projects in several local communities that will ultimately benefit all of these citizens and residents of the Upper Ohio Valley. These projects include major construction programs in the oil and gas industry, the electrical power generating industry, major school and municipal projects and infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads.

The Upper Ohio Valley Building and Construction Trades Council is very proud of what it is and what it does.

The council pledges to continue its efforts to maintain a standard of living and a skilled workforce that every resident in the Upper Ohio Valley would be proud to embrace.

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