Second Generation Local 49 Member Started as Apprentice and is now a Crane Operator

Second Generation Local 49 Member Started as Apprentice and is now a Crane Operator

Second generation Local 49 member, Mitch Asfeld, began as a Local 49 apprentice and is now a crane operator and has worked on some of the most recent notable projects.

After graduating high school, Asfeld tried attending college but shortly realized that wasn’t the path for him.

“I went to college for about a semester and realized it just wasn’t for me, and I knew that working in construction was the right choice for me,” he said.

Asfeld began in the Local 49 apprenticeship program and also began working for Lunda Construction and started as an oiler on one of the most recent high-profile projects.

“I started on the Stillwater Bridge, which looking back on it, it was a very complicated project, and I didn’t appreciate back then as much as I do now. It was my first project, and I had never worked on any other bridge before that,” Asfeld said.

Asfeld worked on the Stillwater Bridge project for two years and since then worked his way up to becoming a crane operator. Now, he has been a member of Local 49 for five years and has worked on various projects all over South Dakota and Minnesota.

“There was definitely a learning curve becoming a crane operator, but I had another operator help me and taught me pretty much everything I know,” Asfeld said. “It’s helpful having someone there to help guide you.”

Asfeld had another critical influence in his life to help him along the way throughout his construction career – his father Ken Asfeld.

“My dad has been an operator for 30 years and currently works for Kuechle Underground. My dad was definitely an influence on me, and when I was younger, he would always tell me that if I wanted to get into construction, then I need to join Local 49,” Asfeld said.

Now being a more experienced operator, Asfeld said that he is spreading the same message to his other family members.

“I have a younger cousin who is thinking about getting into the industry after high school, and I tell him to make sure he gets in with the 49ers and start with the Training Center,” he said. “Even if someone doesn’t know which direction they want to go within this industry, I always say go up to the Training Center and start running things to see what you like the most.”

“When I was at the Training Center, I enjoyed taking the different classes and operating as much as I could. Becoming a member of Local 49 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

For more stories like Mitch’s visit

February 18, 2020

Local 49 Endorses Congressman Pete Stauber for Re-Election to Minnesota’s 8th District

Local 49 Endorses Congressman Pete Stauber for Re-Election to Minnesota’s 8th District

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 is proud to endorse Congressman Pete Stauber for re-election to Minnesota’s 8th District. Local 49 announced the endorsement during a press conference today at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Lake Superior Warehouse in Duluth, MN.

Stauber has been a supporter of unions and blue-collar workers his entire adult life. As a 22-year Duluth police officer, he was a loyal member of Law Enforcement Labor Service Local 363. As a City Councilor in Hermantown and then Saint Louis County Commissioner, he worked tirelessly to move projects forward that created thousands of jobs for union construction workers. These jobs support families, come with quality family health insurance, and the retirement security of a pension in an area where Local 49’s membership is strong.

Local 49 Business Manager Jason George released the following statement:

“I am proud to stand with Congressman Stauber and strongly endorse his re-election. Pete has been a champion for projects that will provide good paying union construction jobs. Line 3 replacement, iron ore mining, logging, PolyMet, Twin Metals and transportation infrastructure funding are his priority and they are our priorities too. These are the jobs that we need in this state, and there has been no one that has fought harder to bring them to the 8th district than Congressman Stauber. Local 49 is proud to be a union that works to build relationships on both sides of the political aisle. Job creation and the support of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage and opposition to Right to Work policies are our priorities. Congressman Stauber supports us on these items and has taken the votes to prove it. We look forward to helping return him to office in November.”

Local 49 looks forward to helping Congressman Stauber promote his campaign, his accomplishments, and his vision for Minnesota’s 8th district.


February 14, 2020

Local 49 Apprentice Attended State of the Union Address

Local 49 Apprentice Attended State of the Union Address

Local 49 was represented at the United States Capitol in February as Local 49 Apprentice Mahaila Houle attended the State of the Union hosted on February 4. Mahaila was invited to participate in this prestigious event by Congressman Pete Stauber from the 8th District of Northern, MN, who wanted to bring a Local 49 member as his guest. Congressman Stauber highlighted the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project and talked about the opportunities that it will provide to young workers, such as Mahaila.

Mahaila is from the Duluth area and became interested in construction after she joined the Tribal Equal Rights Opportunity (TERO) program, which connected her with the Local 49 Training Center. Houle was one of five students selected into the TERO program for the Local 49 Training Center.

“I previously had no experience with operating heavy equipment, and it was very intimidating considering how green I was, but I was ready to learn and take in as much as I possibly could,” Houle said.

Soon after, she was accepted into the apprenticeship program and is currently working for Northland Constructors. Throughout Houle’s early career as an operator, she has already worked on notable projects such as the Superior Street and Essentia projects in Duluth as well as several road and bridge projects.

“At first, I thought I would want to go into the crane apprenticeship program, but as I took more classes, I gravitated toward excavators, backhoes, and rollers, so I think I’m going to stick with pipeline or highway heavy work,” she said.

When she was selected to attend the State of the Union with Congressman Stauber, Houle said she was shocked, but excited that she was able to participate in this opportunity.

“I asked my apprenticeship coordinator why I got selected, and he said that it was my attitude and work ethic. I appreciated hearing that because I do try and help out my fellow apprentices and others who are interested in the apprenticeship program,” Houle said.

Houle spent two days in Washington, D.C. as part of the event where she was able to meet and speak with representatives about the work that she does and how it’s important to provide young workers the opportunity to work on significant projects, such as Line 3.

“I really enjoyed representing Local 49 and the Local 49 Training Center. I talked about what kind of workers we need and why it’s so important to have a skilled workforce. I met so many people, and I was just happy to be a part of history – this was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she added.

Houle was also able to able to sit and listen to the President’s State of the Union Address in person.

“It was all so fascinating, once the state of the union started you couldn’t leave the room and we listened to the President speak,” she said. “I personally enjoyed the energy of the room and it was interesting because they didn’t show half of what I saw on television.”

“I really want to thank Congressman Stauber for inviting me to participate in this experience and I thank Local 49 and the Local 49 Training Center for encouraging me and helping me along the way,” she said.

For more stories like Mahaila’s visit



February 14, 2020

Local 49 Business Manager Testifies at Energy and Mineral Resources Legislative Hearing

Local 49 Business Manager Testifies at Energy and Mineral Resources Legislative Hearing

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans joined a bipartisan roundtable titled “Securing Minnesota’s Future: Defending our Forests, Economy, and Way of Life.” The forum included invited participants from local organizations and elected officials who oppose the recently introduced legislation H.R. 5598 by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.). The bill seeks to abolish critical mineral development in the state and directly threatens 2,000 jobs. Below is what they are saying:

“Betty McCollum is once again demonstrating her desire to kill opportunity in northeast Minnesota without any regard for the family’s that live there. Let’s be clear, Betty does not represent the people of our district.  If Betty truly cared about the environment and the rights of workers she would support a stringent process in a country that ensures both.  We live in a global economy and we also live in a global environment.” Hon. Dave Lislegard, Democrat from Minnesota House of Representatives

“Rep. McCollum’s St. Paul/Minneapolis district residents enjoy annual average incomes in excess of $10,000 more per year than those who live on the Iron Range. McCollum’s bill kills the potential for economic opportunities in a region that is hungry for family sustaining jobs. Jobs For Minnesotans has always stood for a science-based, transparent, and predictable regulatory process for mining projects and believes we can do mining while protecting the environment.” – Nancy Norr, Chairperson, Jobs For Minnesotans

“With today’s forum, the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Western Caucus have brought attention to an issue that remains incredibly important to us.  Thousands of our members earn their living by providing construction and maintenance services to the mining industry.  These carpenters and millwrights are highly-skilled professionals who put safety above all else.  They are well-equipped to help ensure that modern copper-nickel mines are built to exacting standards that provide needed resources to our society while also safeguarding the communities nearby that they call home.” – Kyle Makarios, United Brotherhood of Carpenters

“H.R. 5598 is a job killing proposal, plain and simple. This bill bans mining before a specific project can even be studied. The people that live in the area should have the right to decide for themselves whether these projects make sense, and should not arbitrarily be denied economic opportunity because powerful big city interests have decided the people in Northeastern Minnesota don’t deserve that chance.”– Jason George, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49

“Rep. McCollum is effectively locking the United States out of the nickel industry and handing it over to foreign countries like China.  In Minnesota, her bill would deprive school children of billions of dollars in mining royalties to the Permanent School Trust Fund that helps every school district across the State.” – Frank Ongaro, Mining Minnesota

““We are encouraged by the strong support of our neighbors, small businesses, union workers and local community leaders for the Twin Metals project to move forward and be evaluated based on the best  science and regulatory process available. In December, we submitted our mine plan to state and federal agencies, which provides critical details and represents more than a decade of work by our team members.  We look forward to robust engagement with stakeholders including federal, tribal and state governments along with extensive public dialogue on the benefits of this project.  We believe modern mining technology will provide essential mineral resources for advancing the green economy while protecting our precious Minnesota environment.  Our commitment to invest more than $1 billion and the creation of thousands of jobs in the Iron Range rests with the fair and transparent consideration of this important project.”

Julie Padilla, Twin Metals Minnesota

The United States is becoming increasingly dependent upon foreign sources for critical and strategic minerals.  Why?  In part, because we unnecessarily restrict access to our domestic mineral resources.  H.R. 5598 is simply unnecessary.  The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Forest Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, Forest Service surface management regulations and policies, State of Minnesota environmental laws and regulations, as well as financial assurance requirements are in place and designed to protect the environment and important resources. We need to trust the process.” Mark Compton, American Exploration & Mining Association

“The National Mining Association strongly opposes H.R. 5598, introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04). This legislation, which is little more than a politically motivated mineral withdrawal that flies in the face of due process, is precisely why U.S. mineral import reliance has reached alarming levels.  The nation needs greater access to the minerals and metals that are the foundation for our manufacturing, infrastructure, defense and clean energy supply chains, not less. The U.S. has world-class environmental standards that ensure we need not choose between mining and environmental protection. The people of Northern Minnesota who strongly support the Twin Metals project deserve a complete environmental review that weighs the project on its merits.” Katie Sweeney, National Mining Association

February 5, 2020

Minnesota Regulators Vote to Approve Enbridge Line 3 Project

Minnesota Regulators Vote to Approve Enbridge Line 3 Project

Yesterday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the Revised Environmental Impact Statement, the Certificate of Need, and the Route Permit for Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project. The Project has been moving through the Regulatory Process for the past five years. The $2.6 billion project is privately funded and will put hundreds of our members to work.
Local 49 Political Organizer Kipp Hanson said, “Line 3 is the most thoroughly studied pipeline project in Minnesota’s history. The hard work that the PUC,  Enbridge, and the trades have dedicated to the project mean that it will be built to the highest standards in the world, and the professional workforce that Local 49 and the other trades bring to the table will ensure that it is built safely and professionally.”
There is no date as of yet for when the project will begin construction.

February 4, 2020

Local 49 Member Joe Abeyta is Running for State Representative for District 5B

Local 49 Member Joe Abeyta is Running for State Representative for District 5B

Joe Abeyta, an eight-year member of Local 49, is running for State Representative for District 5B, which covers most of Itasca County as well as a portion of Cass County.

Joe is a proud northern Minnesotan who moved to Grand Rapids in 2009 after 25 years in Arizona and a deployment in Iraq as he also served ten years in the Arizona Army National Guard.

Joe has been working in the construction industry for most of his life, but it wasn’t until 2012 when he finally joined Local 49.

“Coming from Arizona, I wasn’t familiar with unions, but after I started working for Magnetation I began to see the benefits, wages, job protections, safety standards, and retirement options that Local 49 provided. From then on, I was never going to work non-union again,” Abeyta said.

“When I got into the mining industry and began operating more equipment, I fell in love with what I was doing, and I felt good at the end of the day knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives,” he added.

Currently, Joe works for KTM Pavement and will soon have to balance between working full time as an operator and hitting the campaign trail.

“I became interested in running for office after spending time at the Capitol for Lobby Day with Local 49, and myself, along with 15 other 49ers, we met with our representative to talk to her about getting funding for transportation. She told us that nothing is going to change, and the funding they had in the past has been working. I just found that unacceptable.”

“Also, after talking to community members in our district, there is a lot of discontent for our current representative. There is a real need for someone to start speaking on behalf of the people of the district, and I’m in a position to do that.”

Abeyta also serves as a city council member for the city of LaPrairie and, over time, has seen what the real needs are of his local community and district.

“Continuing to increase transportation funding is crucial. Our community is continuously put at the bottom of MNDOT’s priority list, and a lot of that has to do with that with our lack of representation. Education is also a huge subject for me. Educators up here are voicing their concerns about legislative processes and the wrongdoing that has happened over the last several years that have hurt educators and their ability to teach. I also am focusing on economic development.

Abeyta has been hitting the campaign trail hard over the winter and says the momentum will continue even while he’s working.

“My biggest challenge will be balancing work and campaigning, but my family has been supportive, and ultimately that’s why I’m running is to secure a future for my kids. My employer has also been very supportive, and so that helps a lot.”

Abeyta says that his involvement with Local 49 has also given him a tremendous amount of support and confidence to run.

“Jason George and Julia Donnelly are the two biggest reasons why I even think I can do this. When they were our political directors, I worked with them through the Magnetation contract issues, and the confidence they have given me in myself was remarkable. If not for those two, I don’t think I could do this. They have given me the tools to legislate and advocate for myself and others.”

The campaigning has only begun, but Abeyta says he’s ready and willing to have those tough conversations to ensure he serves the needs of everyone in his district.

“I’m excited to be running, and I’m encouraged by the amount of support I’ve had to run for this seat. Whether someone’s a republican or democrat, I want to have that conversation about what we need to do to progress. Doing nothing is not the answer.”

Members can donate to Joe Abeyta’s campaign by contacting either Joe Abeyta at or  Local 49 Political Organizer Kipp Hanson at 612-391-7176 or e-mail at

January 20, 2020

Local 49 Responds to Teamsters Local 320 Strike in St. Louis County

Local 49 Responds to Teamsters Local 320 Strike in St. Louis County

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, released the following statement in response to Teamsters Local 320 strike in St. Louis County.
“Local 49 supports the Teamsters in St Louis County. County workers perform critical services for our communities and they deserve respect. We represent 2500 of these hard-working men and women and we stand in solidarity with our fellow workers in this fight. We will be reaching out to offer financial assistance, and we encourage the St Louis County Board to step in and settle this strike.”
Members can contact Teamsters Local 320 and express their support at (800) 637-5430. Click here to read the full article 

January 16, 2020

Local 49 Responds to the Minnesota Court of Appeals Decision on PolyMet

Local 49 Responds to the Minnesota Court of Appeals Decision on PolyMet

Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided to remand the PolyMet permit to mine and dam safety permits back to the Department of Natural Resources for a contested case hearing. This will not only further delay the PolyMet project, but the Court’s decision to make up its’ own permitting process could have a chilling effect on future investment by businesses looking to expand in Minnesota. Minnesota workers are reliant upon businesses that build projects here, and today, with this decision, the MN Court of Appeals has created an uncertain permitting process that will cause businesses to possibly look elsewhere.

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, released the following statement:

“I am not only extremely disappointed by the Court’s decision, but I am deeply concerned about the uncertainty of our permitting process. The PolyMet project has gone through 15 years of exhaustive study and scrutiny by Minnesota’s state agency experts and met or exceeded every environmental standard in law.

The fact the entire process and all this work can be thrown out today by three judges who spent a few months on this case is alarming. This is a bad decision, but the PolyMet project will go forward. The future of northeastern Minnesota depends on it, and we will never give up on them.”

The MN DNR did their jobs well and followed the law, Local 49 is strongly urging them to appeal this decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.


January 13, 2020

Switching from Non-Union to Union Has Changed This New Local 49 Member’s Life

Switching from Non-Union to Union Has Changed This New Local 49 Member’s Life

Damien Dimberio worked most of his career as a non-union heavy equipment operator until one day he took a leap of faith and joined Local 49 – with a little help from his new business agent. He now says, “joining Local 49 has completely changed my life, and I can’t ever see working non-union again.”

Dimberio was born in Virginia, Minnesota and grew up with his dad working in the mines and was around the industry is whole life. He originally got into the construction business after a few friends started their own company, and he began to work for them.

“It was mostly a home remodeling company, and I did some roof work until one day they just threw me on a piece of equipment, and I hit the ground running from there,” Dimberio said.

Dimberio started operating forklifts and eventually worked his way to operating potain cranes. Dimberio spent most of his career as a non-union crane operator until one day, the Local 49 Northwest Metro Area Business Agent, Nate Sogge, stopped by his job site.

“God bless Nate for driving past the job site I was working at. It’s hard for me to think about not working union because of the great things that they provide with the benefits and health insurance…It’s huge for me,” he said.

While Dimberio is grateful that he’s a member now, he says at first, he was a little skeptical.

“Honestly, it just sounded too good to be true, and I didn’t know whether or not to believe him, but Nate kept talking to me and even pointed me in the direction of more people to talk to, and by that point, it was a no brainer to join,” he said.

Dimberio is coming up on his first full year of being a member of Local 49 and is currently working for Carpentry Builders Inc., operating a potain crane.

“Right now, we’re working on the Park Seven project in downtown Minneapolis. We do commercial wood framing, and we pretty much work all year round. My job is kind of like working with one big puzzle and putting all the pieces together. All of the materials from the truck to the building get moved by me,” Dimberio said.

Dimberio said that he even notices a difference in working on an all-union job sites versus non-union.

“You can tell that they care more about their jobs, and I think it’s because when you give people things that help them provide for their family, it makes you care that much more,” he said.

His advice to other non-union workers who are skeptical about making the switch is, “take the leap of faith.”

“There’s no one else that’s going to provide you a future beyond just working day to day and provide a future for your family,” he said.

For more stories like Damien’s visit


January 10, 2020

Local 49 Signs Letter in Support of Twin Metals Minnesota Entering the Regulatory Process

Local 49 Signs Letter in Support of Twin Metals Minnesota Entering the Regulatory Process

With the filing of its Scoping Environmental Assessment Worksheet data submittal, the Twin Metals Minnesota copper-nickel mine project has entered Minnesota’s environmental review process. This is a long-awaited milestone for the project and represents more than a decade of work to determine the most responsible path forward to mine critical minerals. Click here to read the full letter of support. 

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, released the following statement:

“We celebrate the start of the permitting process with today’s mine plan submittal by Twin Metals. Local 49 has always supported mining projects, and advocated for a fair and just approval process that ensures a safe project, protects our environment while allowing companies to create good paying union jobs. Twin Metals has signed a Project Labor Agreement with the trades, meaning 100% of the millions of work hours it will take to build this mine will be done by 49ers and other members of the building trades. Congratulations to Twin Metals, and we look forward to participating in this process as it moves forward. We are very proud to stand with the Iron Range to fight for a bright future with good paying mining jobs.”

December 18, 2019

Local 49 Signs Major Agreement for Line 3 Replacement Project

Local 49 Signs Major Agreement for Line 3 Replacement Project

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project has reached a significant milestone today as a project labor agreement was signed between Enbridge and the union trades that will build the project. This agreement establishes that the 4,200 construction jobs on the Line 3 project will be entirely union. Ensuring that Line 3 is completed by union labor will mean that this project will be accomplished safely and will use the highest level of industry standards.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 and its more than 14,000 members have continuously supported and fought for the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project for many years. Replacing an aging pipeline with a new one will help protect the environment and create good-paying union jobs. Local 49 is proud that the skilled craftsmanship and commitment of our members to fight for this project has been recognized with the signing of this agreement today.

Jason George, Local 49 Business Manager, released the following statement:

“The signing of this project labor agreement speaks volumes to the commitment to safety and quality that Enbridge has for this project. Ensuring that the Line 3 Replacement will be completed by union labor means that the job will not only be done correctly, but it will be done safely. I’m also proud to say that our members have fought tirelessly for several years for this important project and that their hard work and dedication have been recognized today. I want to thank Enbridge and the contractors who will be working on this project for their partnership. Our members are looking forward to getting to work next year.”


December 3, 2019

Two Harbors High School Student Job Shadows at Local 49 Training Center

Two Harbors High School Student Job Shadows at Local 49 Training Center

Leah Christensen, a junior at Two Harbors High School, job shadowed today at the Local 49 Training Center, and at some prominent job sites in the Duluth area. The job shadow is part of a career readiness class that she is currently taking.

Leah was first exposed to equipment on her grandparent’s farm, and her father is also in the construction industry. However, she became interested in being a union heavy equipment operator when she visited the Local 49 Training Center Trailer at the Minnesota State Fair.

“I was walking through the education building at the state fair, and I saw the trailer and was interested,” Leah said. “I spoke with someone about the apprenticeship program and from there did my own research, and that’s how I got interested in the industry and wanting to do a job shadow here.”

Leah was able to tour the Training Center facility with Local 49 Apprenticeship Coordinator Steve Tuhy and learn about the different apprenticeship programs and the different career paths the industry has to offer. She was even able to jump in some equipment and try her hand at operating.

“Before I came here today, I didn’t have a particular preference on which apprenticeship program I wanted to enter. After getting to operate the crane a little today, I think I’m leaning toward cranes, but I still want to learn any piece of equipment I can so that I am more employable to contractors. “

Leah also toured the Essentia job site and the Superior Street job site in Duluth to get a real sense of what a job site looks like, and what she could potentially be doing in her future career.

“It was a great experience overall,” Leah said.

If any high school student is interested in more information about the apprenticeship program, please contact the Local 49 Training Center at 320-384-7093.

November 22, 2019

IUOE General President James Callahan expresses strong support for pipeline safety measures

IUOE General President James Callahan expresses strong support for pipeline safety measures

Photo credit: Enbridge


IUOE General President James Callahan recently co-wrote an op-ed piece about pipeline safety that was published online.

Jason George, Local 49 Business Manager, released the following statement about the article:

“I thank General President Callahan for strongly supporting measures that will help protect pipeline construction workers. Operating Engineers that build critical pipeline infrastructure deserve to be safe on the job. People should have the freedom to protest and oppose pipelines, but they do not have the right to violate the law or harm workers in order to stop projects once they are approved. We worked on passing a law in Minnesota to enhance penalties for protestors that violate the law, the Minnesota House blocked that proposal last year. Wisconsin just signed into law a similar proposal. We look forward to bringing it back and working to convince Minnesota legislators that this is the right thing to do next session.”

Click here to read the piece. 

November 22, 2019

Redevelopment of the former Ford plant would bring 14,500 construction jobs

Redevelopment of the former Ford plant would bring 14,500 construction jobs

Photo credit by Ryan Companies

The city of St. Paul and Ryan Companies announced today during a press conference that they have reached a deal to redevelop the former Ford Motor Company assembly plant in St. Paul.

This redevelopment will bring 3,800 units of housing, 265,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail space, the largest solar array in the state, and 100 percent renewable energy to the now empty Ford Motors site in Highland Park, pending city council approval. If approved, this project would create 14,500 construction jobs, and construction would potentially begin in the spring. The infrastructure on the site will mostly be developed within five years.

Jason George, Local 49 Business Manager, released the following statement:

“The redevelopment of the former Ford Motors plant has been in the making for nearly a decade, and Local 49 is proud that our members will soon be part of yet another monumental project within the city of St. Paul. Local 49 congratulates Ryan Companies, Mayor Carter and other city leaders on reaching a deal. This project will create a lot of good paying union construction jobs which will contribute significantly to the local and regional economy.”


November 12, 2019

School Levy and Bond Elections

School Levy and Bond Elections

There is nearly $2 billion in the total investment that could be funded for our students and toward projects that our members would work on. The following school districts will be on the ballot on November 5, 2019 for bond or levy elections.

School District                                                                              Reason for Funding 

Ada-Borup School addition
Becker Technology levy for 10 years
Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Long-term facility needs
Brandon-Evanson Renovations, maintenance and additions
Crookston Bus garage
Crosby-Ironton Renovations, maintenance and additions
Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Renovations, updating and improving safety, two gymnasiums
Eastern Carver County New elementary school, maintenance
Elk River Renovations and maintenance
Fisher Additions, remodeling, renovations
Gibbon-Fairfax-Windom New PreK-12 building
Hutchinson Renovations and infrastructure improvements
Jordan Renovations, additions, parking improvements and Early Learning Center
Litchfield facilities improvements
MACCRAY New Pre-K-6 building and remodel 7-12 building
Maple River Pre-K-12 building
Martin County West Update restrooms and lockers, addition to cafeteria and multi-purpose space
Moorhead Area New high school and Career Academy
Mora Addition to Trailview campus for grades 7-8
Q.2 New 7-12 school
Owatonna New high school
Q.2 Repurpose buildings
Parkers Prairie General capital improvements
Red Lake Falls Facility improvements
Rochester New schools and safety needs
Sauk Rapids-Rice Rebuild an existing elementary school
St. Charles New addition for early childhood, renovations to cafeteria, science rooms, updates to CTE, additional multi-purpose space
Watertown-Mayer Classroom updates, outdoor education, parking lot, maintenance
Waubun-Ogema-White Earth Renovations, additions, parking lot improvements
White Bear Lake Area Additions, renovations, new elementary school, safety improvements, unified high school, and a transportation facility
Worthington New intermediate school
Q.2 Additional grade school
Zumbrota-Mazeppa Safety, heating, classroom additions, renovations and infrastructure
Q.2 Mazeppa gymnasium with conversion of old gym into a school cafeteria
Q.3 Zumbrota gymnasium, track improvements, baseball field renovations, safety


September 20, 2019

Minnesota Apprenticeship Enrollment Up 27% Since 2014

Minnesota Apprenticeship Enrollment Up 27% Since 2014

A study led jointly by Labor-Management Construction Programs found that, apprenticeship has become one of Minnesota’s most effective workforce development institutions.

The number of Minnesotans enrolled in registered apprenticeship programs has grown by 27% since 2014, making it the state’s third largest private post-secondary educational institution according to a new study by the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) and Dr. Robert Bruno of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Fully 88% of the state’s active apprentices are enrolled in construction programs that are jointly administered by trade unions and their signatory employers.

Click here to view the full study

September 20, 2019

Fourth Generation Local 49 Member Continues Legacy

Fourth Generation Local 49 Member Continues Legacy

“Try and better yourself one percent a day, and by the end of the month you’ll be 30 percent better than when you started.”

That’s the advice Dillon Talberg, a fourth-generation Local 49 member from Gilman, Minnesota, says has inspired him to remain successful throughout his six years being a member.

Talberg said his interest in working in the construction industry began when he was four years old going on the job site with his father.

“My dad was a crusher operator and would take me out to the job site all the time. So, after I graduated from high school, I knew that I wanted to be in construction,” Talberg said.

While Talberg found a job within the industry out of high school, he knew that he needed more experience to make it further.

“I attended Central Lakes College for their 13-month heavy equipment program, but after graduating, I spoke with an instructor at the Local 49 Training Center who gave me more information about joining the union,” Talberg said.

Talberg officially became a Local 49 member when he landed a job with Minnesota Utilities and Excavating where he worked primarily on highway heavy jobs.

While Talberg started working in highway heavy, he quickly learned that wasn’t his true passion.

“I completed pipeline training at the Local 49 Training Center and eventually got into doing some directional drilling, and I just fell in love with it,” he said.

“I was fortunate because my uncle got me on the Dakota Access Pipeline Access job, which was a huge opportunity for me,” Talberg added.

Working on the Dakota Access Pipeline project not only taught him so much about the industry but about the comradery that being a Local 49 member brings.

“There were more than 100 years of experience on that crew altogether. They taught me to learn anything and everything I can, pay attention to my surroundings, and that if I can’t make it out here, I can’t stay. That just gave me the motivation to try harder and do my best every single day, Talberg said.”

The Dakota Access Pipeline project isn’t the only high-profile job Talberg has been a part of. He has worked on pipeline projects stretching from Sacramento, California to Washington, DC.

“It’s cool traveling to new places, meeting new people that come from a different lifestyle and truly making good friends,” Talberg said.

Talberg added the pace and frequency of the work are what drew him toward working on pipelines.

“Whether it’s snowing, raining, or sunny, we’re still working. I figure I’ll spend my twenties and thirties busting my butt now and accomplish everything I can,” he said.

Becoming a Local 49 member is something that Talberg says he is immensely proud of and he hopes the legacy will continue.

“My family is very supportive of me and impressed with everything that I have accomplished since leaving high school. I’m proud to be a 49er, and I hope one day if I have kids that they’ll decide to join,” Talberg said.

For more stories like Dillon’s visit

September 17, 2019

One Step Closer to Saving Apprenticeship Programs!

One Step Closer to Saving Apprenticeship Programs!

Thank you to all our members, your families, and friends who submitted comments to the Department of Labor in response to the proposed changes that would negatively affect every member of the building trades community throughout the country. Thousands of comments were submitted by Local 49 members and their families in support of safe and regulated apprenticeship programs. Overall, nearly 325,000 comments were submitted nationwide, which was more than the Department of Labor has ever seen for a single issue, and collectively we surpassed the original comment goal by 75,000.

In addition, your responses helped influence 90 Minnesota state legislators from both sides of the aisle to sign a letter in support of our rights to be safe and productive at work. This overwhelming response shows the true strength in unity that Local 49 has fought for and will continue to fight for. When we work together, we can accomplish anything. It’s because of you that we are one step closer to protecting our future and the future of the building and construction trades’ workforce.

While we celebrate this great accomplishment, we know our work is not yet done. We must remain strong in this campaign and follow this process until the final issue is ruled. We will keep you updated on next steps and look forward to keeping up this momentum.

Thank you again for everything you do and have done to get us to this point. We’re very proud and appreciative of the contribution our members and your family and friends have made to this effort.


In Solidarity,

Jason George

Business Manager/Financial Secretary

IUOE Local 49



September 5, 2019