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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

The 2019 work season is shaping to be one of the busiest seasons Local 49 has seen. Because of the recent success we have had at the MN Capitol, there are hundreds of millions of dollars more being pumped into the road and bridge fund in Minnesota. We still don’t have a long- term solution for transportation funding, but the next few years look incredible. North Dakota has also increased their spending on road and bridge projects so work there looks promising as well. Distribution and Mainline pipeline work are going well in our area, and Line 3 is on track to begin construction this winter. The southwest light rail project has started and will continue to kick into high gear this summer. A deal was just finalized in Duluth for Essentia Hospital to do an $800 million expansion of their campus. We helped them get infrastructure funding for this project. I’m happy to report there will be a Project Labor Agreement on the Essentia project as well. Public sector units are hiring across Minnesota, and the equipment shops are doing very well also. All aspects of our Union have a bright outlook this work season, it is a great time to be a 49er!

In other news, Local 49 finalized the Minnesota Builders Agreement. I’m happy and proud to report that that we had a 30 percent increase in voter turnout, which is the highest we have seen in a long time. Voter turnout significantly increased in the northern and southern parts of Minnesota. The new wage rates can be found here. The full agreement will be posted on the members only section of the website soon.

With the Builders Agreement finalized, we will begin negotiating the Ziegler agreement in June as well as other private shop agreements throughout the summer. There are always public sector agreements being negotiated, and we continue to work through those.

I’m also happy to report increased attendance at Union meetings across our jurisdiction. This coincides with increased participation in contract votes, at holiday parties, and other Union functions. I am also seeing a lot of new faces. That is a very positive development for our Local.

We are also stepping up our organizing efforts, two years ago we signed our first logging contractor, which created the Local 49 L charter, we are continuing with that momentum and are signing on more logging contractors this summer, which will help diversify our work. Our organizers and business agents are targeting areas we haven’t before, including Sioux Falls, Fargo, and other areas where there is a lot of work going on and opportunities to grow. I expect membership to continue to increase as we organize more contractors and as work continues to be plentiful in all sectors of our Local.

Just a reminder that the Local 49 Metro Area Summer Picnic will be on June 23, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Hope Glen Farm in Cottage Grove. I encourage you and your family to attend. Also, the Iron Range picnic is scheduled for Sunday, August 4, make sure to attend that one as well. Every member that attends the picnic will receive a free t-shirt, and there will be food, games and prizes. You can RSVP for the picnic here.

I wish everyone a safe work season and a great summer.


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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