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

January 10, 2020

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.