The Union Advantage

Unions raise wages more for low- and middle-income workers than for those more highly paid.

Unions improve pay and benefits more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers.

Unions provide more improvement for workers who lack a college degree.

Let’s examine some of the Myths & Truths: Working with IUOE Local 49. We’re proud, highly-trained, and we commit to pulling our weight on the job all day, every day.

Myth 1: Union operators cost too much (i.e. wages and benefits.)
Truth: Qualified, skilled operators actually lower overall job costs through quality work and high productivity.

Myth 2: I have to pay the same for all operators regardless of skill levels.
Truth: Local 49 offers various wage rates throughout our jurisdiction on all equipment. In addition, Local 49 has a Minnesota state approved Apprenticeship Program where operators receive a lower wage rate while they develop their skills.

Myth 3: Union contractors have no control over the workforce.
Truth: The employer has the right to decide the size of the crew.

Myth 4: Union contracts limit flexibility and productivity and dictate restrictive work rules and working conditions on construction jobsites.
Truth: Local 49 agreements are responsive to contractors’ needs for flexibility. Our union contractors wouldn’t have the strong, successful businesses they have if Local 49 was holding them back.

Myth 5: Union contractors have no control over hiring.
Truth: Contractors can specify skills, request workers by name, determine qualifications and reject any referral from the Union.

Myth 6: I can’t compete against local contractors as a union contractor in my market niche.
Truth: Your current markets include many successful union contractors and subcontractors. Properly trained, highly skilled operators are efficient and take pride in doing the job right the first time.

Myth 7: If I sign your agreement my guys will be hit with huge fees and union dues, and they will be replaced with “union cronies.”
Truth: The long-term benefits will more than offset the cost of union dues and the law prohibits excluding “your guys” from the Union.

For current research on the benefits of unions, see Unions, inequality, and faltering middle-class wages, from the Economic Policy Institute.

FAQs: Answers to the common questions about working with unions

But modern Labor Unions are not just good for their members. There are real benefits for employers who rely on union professionals to get the job done.

Meet our members

COVID-19 Survivor and Local 49 Member Dick Kryzer Shares His Story

May 12, 2020

Local 49 Member Spotlight: Charlene Becker

April 27, 2020

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

January 10, 2020

Fourth Generation Local 49 Member Continues Legacy

September 17, 2019

All in the Family: Mother, Father and Daughter all Local 49 Members

June 11, 2019

Member Story: Second Generation Crane Operator James Halle. Jr.

March 13, 2019

The Luukkonen Legacy – Three Generations of Local 49 Members

February 5, 2019

Joe Heitkamp

March 14, 2018

Pulling Our Weight: Building the Mankato Power Plant

March 7, 2018

Travis Grime

November 10, 2017

Chuck Kaufman

September 15, 2017

April Lee

June 23, 2017

Al Gilbertson

June 16, 2017

John Korzan

May 24, 2017

Fritz Panek

March 28, 2017

Eric Richardson

March 17, 2017

Mark Doble

February 3, 2017

Akeethia Brown

December 16, 2016

Don Raway

November 28, 2016

Lisa Klankowski

November 16, 2016

Operating Engineers at the World Trade Center

Sign up for our newsletter