Elevate Minnesota campaign puts spotlight on construction workers

Elevate Minnesota campaign puts spotlight on construction workers

Originally published in the Star Tribune January 31, 2017

 

Tanya, the cement truck driver, and Adriane, the mechanical insulator, are two of more than 80,000 skilled tradesmen who help build Minnesota, literally.

A coalition of 16 local labor unions have launched “Elevate Minnesota,” a public relations campaign to tell the stories of blue-collar workers who are described in a release as “your union friends and neighbors raising the bar for us all.”

“We are trying to really show them who these folks are and remind them how hard they work for all of us and show the skills that we have, the training that we have, the privately funded health care, pensions and what we do every day in the communities across the state,” said Elevate Minnesota Board Chair Jason George, special projects director of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. “We just feel like that that story has been lost in the last few decades.”

The “Elevate Minnesota” campaign launched last week in the form of radio spots, Facebook posts and digital videos.

The venture doesn’t have a political agenda, George said. The impetus was simply that the construction trades don’t often do a proper job explaining their contributions and the benefits that they offer to their workers, he said. The campaign highlights the union-funded training and other benefits to workers as well as the community involvement that many engage in.

“The important thing that we want people to understand is the value that we give Minnesota,” George said.

Construction workers continue to be in high demand. Last year, the construction industry added more than 7,400 jobs in Minnesota growing 6.9 percent, which was more than four times the national pace.

Elevate Minnesota is a partnership of these organizations:

Boilermakers Local 647

Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1

Cement Masons, Plasterers and Shophands Local 633

Heat and Frost Allied Workers Local 34

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 110

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 292

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49

Iron Workers Local 512

Laborers’ District Council

Minnesota Pipe Trades Association

North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters

Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82

Plasterers Local 265

Roofers and Waterproofers Local 96

Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 10

Teamsters Local 120