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Learn about the new Training Center for the International Union of Operating Engineers, located in Crosby, Texas. For more details please visit and to  register for classes  click here

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Message from Local 49 Business Manager Jason George

Message from Local 49 Business Manager Jason George

As the work season is fast approaching, I wanted to update the membership on some internal initiatives and events heading into the season.

Buy Local 49 Gear Online

We have officially launched the ability to purchase Local 49 gear online. Currently there are a variety of women and men’s clothing that you can customize with different Local 49 logos, and we will continue to add more clothing options as this site grows.

Click here to view the new Local 49 online shop

You are still able to purchase some Local 49 gear at your local union hall, however the selection may be limited. We’re very excited to allow members an easier option to purchase these items when it’s convenient for you, and not be restricted to the hours of when your local union hall is open. We’re planning on offering more services online, such as paying dues, so this is just a first step in what will be an ongoing effort to make certain services easier and more accessible to members.

Lobby Day

Minnesota Lobby Day is April 3, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. There are a lot of important issues being debated at the Capitol that impact your jobs and the union. Transportation funding, construction bonding bills, and other job creating legislation will be the focus. We will be talking to republicans that continue to introduce right to work legislation about the negative consequences of this policy and how it harms workers as well.

If you are not working on April 3 – we need you at Lobby Day. As usual there will be busses from outstate offices and the Training Center. Call those offices for more information. To RSVP for Lobby Day click here.

State of the Union

Holiday party season has wrapped up. Every weekend in January and February the Officers and myself traveled to holiday parties throughout our jurisdiction. I know I had to miss Winona, and Minot because of the weather, my apologies to the members in those areas, and I will try to get to your Union meeting in the next few months for a visit. The holiday parties were a big success, it was great to visit with the membership, talk about what’s happening in the Union and get advice and input. Attendance was up this year, and a good time was had.

I have also attended all of the regular Union meetings at all our offices. I plan to continue to be available and attend Union meetings outside the metro as much as I can. It is important for all the members of Local 49, regardless of where you live, to be able to ask the Business Manager and other Officers questions. If you don’t see me at a Union meeting, you can always email me at or call the office at 612-877-3710.

I put together a budget for this fiscal year, if you haven’t looked at it you can find it here in the members only section. At February’s Minneapolis Union meeting I gave an update as to where we are at about halfway through our fiscal year. I’m happy to report we are on track to attain the kind of savings we laid out in our budget. We are adding significant money to our savings and maintaining a high level of service. We will continue to be transparent at this Union. For as long as we are your elected leaders you are going to know where your money is being spent and have the ability to ask questions about it. That’s the only way we can have a healthy organization.

We have hired new employees, replaced employees that have left, shifted priorities and added a few organizing positions. The IUOE Organizing Department trained our entire staff on organizing as this is going to become a major focus for us again. The positions we just hired for include:  Three organizers (two in the metro area and one in Rochester), a political organizer, a metro private shop agent, and a southwest metro agent. After all of this, we will be down five total staff positions from when we took over. We are saving money, and because of the shifting of duties we are better able to serve existing members and grow the Union.

The new employees were hired through an open hiring process that was advertised, with the hiring committee reviewing applications, doing the first round of interviews, and sending me finalists for a second interview. This process is working very well, all members are getting a fair shot to work for their union, and we are getting high quality candidates. I am very pleased to see the kind of talent we have in the membership of our union; I would have hired every person that the hiring committee sent to me for final interviews, and that bodes well for our future.

The overall state of Local 49 is very strong as we head into the spring. We continue to change the culture toward transparency, we are making progress on fiscal responsibility, and we are making plans to increase our market share so we can grow. 2019 should be a great year!


Jason George, Local 49 Business Manager/ Financial Secretary

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What is “Prevailing Wage”?

Prevailing Wage laws set wage rates for construction workers on publicly financed projects. On prevailing wage jobs, contractors are not allowed to pay less than the area wage rates for each craft.

The wage rates are set by the government – each area of the state has their own rates, and rates are based on wage surveys turned in by contractors and workers on construction jobs in their area. The government sets the rates for each area based on those surveys and what workers make on those jobs.

Our prevailing wage law ensures that all blue-collar workers building our roads, bridges and infrastructure can earn good pay for a hard day’s work. But some out-of-state organizations want to lower the wages for construction workers.

What is “Right To Work”?

Do you realize that a worker can spend an entire career working at a Union shop, pay zero dues their entire career because they’re in a so-called “right-to-work” state, and then get the same pension and health care in retirement that dues paying members get?

No other organization in America is forced to provide services and benefits to people who pay nothing for those services and benefits.

It is time to bring some fairness back into this system – Unions should be allowed to charge for the services that they are legally required to provide to workers that chose to work at a Union shop.



The Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council is the advocate voice for unionized construction workers in Minnesota.

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The PolyMet mining project will mean thousands of jobs for construction workers.

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The Enbridge Line 3 Project is a critical project for members of Local 49 that would create thousands of jobs, and it is in danger. Show your support for this project by attending public hearings that will be hosted throughout the state.

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