Message from Local 49 Business Manager Jason George
Message from Local 49 Business Manager Jason George
Welcome to the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 website. My name is Jason George and I am the elected Business Manager/Financial Secretary for the Union. Local 49 was formed in 1927, and we have a proud tradition of fighting for the rights of workers in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We represent heavy equipment operators/mechanics and stationary engineers that work in the following industries:
Road, Highway and Bridge Construction
River Dredging and Port Work
Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Construction and Maintenance
Fiber Optic and Other Utility Installation and Repair
Mining – Iron Ore, Silica Sand, and Precious Metal
Sand and Gravel pits
Asphalt and Concrete Plants
Wind and Solar Construction/Maintenance
Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas Power Plants
Equipment Rental/Maintenance Shops
City, County, School District and Township Construction and Maintenance
Waste Water Plant Operators at Metropolitan Council and Other Locations
During the last few decades in which organized labor has been under attack across the nation, Local 49 has managed to grow, and we are now at a membership of 14,000 active members strong. We are one of the largest trade unions in our region. We are also part of the 400,000 member strong International Union of Operating Engineers with Local Unions covering the United States and Canada.
Local 49 negotiates and enforces large private construction agreements that cover thousands of workers and hundreds of employers. We are proud to partner with one person firms, as well as some of the largest construction companies in America.
Local 49 also negotiates and enforces hundreds of stand alone private and public agreements representing shops as small as 2 people, and as large as 700. We represent workers under nationwide agreements in pipeline construction and maintenance as well. We are a large Local with a diverse membership that touches every aspect of infrastructure in our region.
Local 49 also provides world class benefits to our members. In conjunction with our employer partners we manage one of the largest privately funded health care plans in the region providing health care for more than 35,000 people that includes our members, their spouses, and dependents. We also partner with our employers to provide the best heavy equipment training in the industry, spending millions of dollars per year on direct training, all privately funded. Our Local and our employer partners, are the largest contributor to the 2nd largest Pension fund in America, the IUOE Central Pension Fund. Our Pension Fund is 98% funded and currently has zero withdrawal liability.
Our members are the most highly skilled workers in all the industries that they work in. Local 49 has earned respect in these industries among workers, within the business community, and within the political and regulatory arena. We are active, we are mobilized, and we stand together.
Local 49 has a long history and our members are very proud of their Union. Local 49 members are respected across the nation for their work ethic and skill. Our members build and maintain the infrastructure of this region and nation, and it is truly an honor to work for them.
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.
Respect Minnesota is a pledge to honor and respect people and their opinions and to provide a safe environment for everyone during the planning, permitting and construction of infrastructure projects, such as the Line 3 Replacement Project.
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.