The End of Labor Unions?
Union Workers by Greene/Ellis
Labor Union workers have been part of the construction industry for hundred of years. Recently, owners and developers are trying to use non-union workers in mid-size construction projects, instead of union workers to get their construction going. However, union workers are still used on mega projects, like the one being built over at World Trade Center.
Union workers were a symbol of the industry strength, but recent developments, and higher costs have turned union workers away from the owner's perspective, and they are trying to get their projects going with non-union workers. Historical data shows that at least 85 percent of building jobs were performed by union workers, but that number is dropping sharply, and things are not looking well for union labors.
For example, one union worker could be paid $46 an hour, and when you add benefits to this union worker it will skyrocket this rate to a total cost of $85. One significant change companies and contractors are trying to do is to reduce the rate paid for overtime work, right now being offered double pay. Construction companies want to reduce this total to time and a half, so they can reduce their construction costs, but that has to be agreed first with the union and their members.
Some construction companies are trying to establish that the workday starts when you arrive at your construction station, instead of arriving at the job site. For instance, if you are working on a level 60 of a skyscraper, your workday will start upon your arrival to that level, instead of arriving at the ground floor. The reason behind this: they say that a labor might take 30 or 40 minutes to reach the actual workstation and maybe another half-hour to descend at the end of their shift.
Employers are also facing opposition from several unions, although some of them have already agreed and adopted some changes. What could be next? Is this the end of the labor unions?