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News & Highlights

Building Strong Communities Graduation Rate Soars 41%

Participation in Building Strong Communities (BSC), the 12-week apprenticeship preparatory program, accelerated in double digits yet again up a whopping 41% from last year.

Water’s Off Turns Plumbers on to Helping Others

On March 23, union plumbers from Local 34 in St. Paul, Local 15 in Minneapolis and Local 6 in Rochester took a Saturday off to volunteer their skills to help homeowners in need of their services. It was part of the 30th anniversary of Water’s Off.

Construct Tomorrow Finishes Strong, Plans for Next Year

Nine different locations hosted Construct Tomorrow events this school year. With one event remaining, Construct Tomorrow already looks to build upon a strong year.

WIC Week 2024

People stopped to look at the prints that lined the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda in early March, past winners of the Women in Construction Week Photo Contest, just one of the events that recognized women in construction.

Union Building Trades Share the Spirit

For more than 30 years, members of the Central Minnesota Building Trades have acted as the arms and legs for the Share the Spirit Christmas event.

Union Building Trades Help Eagle’s Healing Nest Continue Taking Flight

The union building trades help Melony Butler continue her dream of having a place where former service members can go to recover from the trauma of war.

Cement Masons Team with MnDOT for Outreach to Native Americans

A ten week pre-apprenticeship industry orientation program was held this summer at the Cement Masons Local 633 training center in New Brighton.

Ten Miles of Pipe and All Union Labor: Mariucci Arena Ready for the Next Generation

The Minnesota Golden Gophers Men’s Hockey Team took to the ice this fall playing on a brand new ice surface. A collection of union building trades all played a part in the construction.

Construct Tomorrow Closes Strong, Challenges Ahead for ’23-24

Construct Tomorrow concluded its 2022-23 season with its traditional two-day event at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) for high school students.

New Faces, New Futures for 62 BSC Graduates

Sixty-two future union trades apprentices graduated from the Building Strong Communities Program this May, double the number from the previous year.

Local 49 Students Progress from Virtual to Actual Trainees

High school students from across Minnesota enrolled in the Operators Virtual Academy finally got their chance to experience operating equipment.

10,000+ Apprentices Learn About Prevailing Wage

FCF has given nearly 400 presentations on prevailing wage, speaking to just over 10,000 apprentices (10,121 as of February 2023). We are very proud to have reached this milestone.

Union Building Trades Help Bring Bentleyville to Life

Once again, a 128-foot Christmas tree made by Iron Workers Local 512 glistens in Bayfront Festival Park next to Duluth Harbor at the center of Bentleyville, the nation’s largest walk-through Christmas light display. 

Construct Tomorrow: Uniting Students with Careers in the Trades

Now in its 10th year, Construct Tomorrow continues to unite young people with futures in the building construction trades.

Gallup Labor Day Poll 2022: Labor Unions Approval Continues to Rise

Labor unions’ favorability among Americans has improved even more since last year according to a poll released this week by Gallup. Seventy-one percent of Americans now approve of labor unions. It’s now at the highest level Gallup has recorded since 1965.

Building Trades: Keeping Their Promise

As part of its commitment to become a Yellow Ribbon Company, Laborers Local 563 provided support from cooking to supervising the Minnesota National Guard’s Family Fun Day in June. “We are working to become a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization…

LIUNA Mixes Fun with Serious Health Prevention Counsel

After receiving feedback from LIUNA members, health providers and LINUA leadership, Local 563 incorporated those suggestions into this year’s health fair at their training center in Hugo, Minn. It also gave the local a chance to showcase their new 37,000-foot…

Women’s Participation in the Building Trades Coming to Fruition

The fourth annual Women Building Success Awards came back this month, two and a half years after the last ceremony was held and this time at a new venue, Kellmerman’s Event Center in White Bear Lake. The program was created…

Spring Training for Pilederivers

During the spring the Minnesota Twins head to Florida for spring training. The Piledrivers of Local 1847, on the other hand, head north to Hinckley, Minn., to practice their trade at the Local 49 Training Center.

Bricklayers Compete for Excellence

Competition sparks excellence. The bricklayers of BAC 1 believe if it doesn’t spark excellence, it certainly does focus the mind. On a rainy day in late April, bricklayer apprentices tested their on-the-job knowledge in their annual skills competition.

Union Plumbers Volunteer Skills to Help Neighbors

On Saturday, March 26, union plumbers took time to provide free plumbing repairs and inspections to 25 senior, low-income and disabled homeowners in Minnesota.

Union Building Trades on Track to Help U.S. Servicemembers Through Yellow Ribbon Designation

The Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council held an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) signing ceremony, the first official step in the union building trades becoming a Yellow Ribbon Company.

Women in Construction Week 2022

 Women in Construction Week 2022 (WIC Week) returns to the Twin Cities from March 6-12. And it returns with some in person events after being a virtual-only event last year. “Depending on the venue some will require a mask, but…

Local 10 Sheet Metal Workers’ Mid-Year Skills Competition

Local 10 sheet metal apprentices have been going through their version of mid-term exams. More accurately, it’s a contest between the different classes but it serves an important function – it’s a barometer for each apprentice to check where their…

Local 49 Apprentice Training Becomes Alternative High School Elective Classes

Through a partnership with Destinations Career Academy at Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA), the Local 49 Operating Engineers union has successfully integrated their curriculum into high schools in Minnesota.

Inspiring By Any Measure

Kate Zelko – Cement Masons Instructor and Mentor

Holiday Apprentice Training: Concrete Christmas 2021

The cement masons and plasterers apprentices at Local 633 turn their indoor training center floor into a winter wonderland for the holiday season.

Gallup: Labor Union Approval at Generational High

This Labor Day 2021 public approval of labor unions is at a generational high.

Giving is Natural for the Trades

This past winter members of the Minnesota Building Trades put their feet and backs into helping distribute food to struggling people.

Union Building Trades Help Share the Spirit

Each year Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud get help from the leadership of the Central Minnesota Building Trades.

The Building Strong Communities Program Goes Virtual

Building Strong Communities is a program to help students experience a variety of construction trades and assist them in career decisions.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, Construction Standards, and Wages

Read about some of the details related to the Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Hands on Learning at Trades Boot Camp

A dozen students from the Mankato area got the chance to sample nine different building trades at the first South Central Construction Trades Boot Camp held at Mankato West High School.

Union Building Trades Reach Out

Gleaming amidst the piles of rubble that were once retail establishments and the boarded up facades of stores still standing on Lake Street in Minneapolis stood the Laborers Local 563 semi tractor trailer. It brought relief, in the way of food, to the neighborhood.

Strong Prevailing Wage Requirements Result in a $320,000 Wage Recovery

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry recently announced nearly $320,000 in total back wages paid to 70 workers for Millennium Concrete.

Boilermakers Keep Lakers in Ship Shape

As the weather begins to warm up and the snow begins to melt, another rite of spring begins in Minnesota — the shipping season starts on the Great Lakes.

March 1-7: WIC WEEK 2020

During the first week in March the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) mobilized its 118 U.S. chapters to recognize and laud the achievements of women in the building construction trades.

14th Annual Injured Apprentices Fundraiser

Larry Gilbertson, the president of the Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, once again emceed the 14th Annual Injured Apprentice Dinner at Mancini’s Restaurant Monday night, Feb. 3.

Jenny Winklaar: Chasing the Notorious RBG

Women at the Trades Women Build Nations Conference get encouragement from Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Insulators Local 34 September 2019 RibFest

On Saturday September 21st Insulators Local 34 held their annual RibFest.  Young and old alike attended.  The food was exceptional.  (Photos by: Vince Muzik)

Construct Tomorrow Hits the Bold North

Construct Tomorrow took its show to Northern Minnesota, hosting events in Hinckley at Grand Casino and for two days in Duluth at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

American Contractors and Associates / Ricardo Batres Violated Wage Theft Law

Channel 5 Eyewitness News reports on Wage Theft in the construction industry. (September 2019)

Minnesota Apprenticeship Up 27% Since 2014

Read the article from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute about increases in apprenticeship participation and the related study. 

Trades Women – It’s Your Time

The Minneapolis Hilton will host the 9th National Trades Women Build Nations Conference, October 4-6.

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Brays Work Together as 49ers

Kim and Brittney Bray, mother and daughter, work as Operating Engineers and members of IUOE Local 49.

It’s Not Lady Luck – It’s Hard Work and Perseverance

The Women Building Success awards, created just last year to recognize outstanding women workers in the local building trades, drew a standing-room-only crowd at Surly Brewing in Minneapolis on March 6.

Plasterers Help Haven for Heroes

A surprising number of veterans experience difficulty returning home from their service.

Trades Raise Money for Injured Apprentices; Aske Honored

Representatives from all the trades packed the big room at Mancini’s Char House in St. Paul Monday, Feb. 4, for the Apprenticeship Coordinators Association’s Injured Apprenticeship Fundraiser Dinner.

Electricians Power Up Habitat for Humanity Home

Rice County Habitat for Humanity’s latest home project is located on Willow Street, one of the city’s main throughfares in Faribault, MN.

Minnesota Nice on Minnesota Ice

Residents of Minnesota don’t fear winter. They embrace it. Such was the case on Saturday, Jan. 19, when 100 kids joined their parents to go fishing on Coon Lake as part of the Take Kids Ice Fishing Day, sponsored by…

Minnesota State Prevailing Wage Certifications 2018-2019

This is our annual review of Minnesota State Prevailing Wage basics.

Twin Cities IBEW EWMC Gives Back, 2018

Giving is the hallmark of the Christmas/Holiday Season. Union people don’t wait until Christmas to help their communities though; they do it year-round. A case in point was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International Day of Service 2018…

Tribal Nations & Minnesota Building Trades Partner to Develop Apprenticeship Readiness

Over the last year, six Tribal Nations and the Minnesota Building Trades have piloted a new apprenticeship readiness program to prepare tribal members to enter the union construction industry.

A Concrete Christmas at the Local 633 Apprenticeship School

New Brighton, Minn. (Dec. 1, 2018) — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — especially at the Local 633 JATC (Joint Apprenticeship Training Center) …

Prevailing Wage Levels The Playing Field

Greater Minnesota supports its local economies and strengthens its skilled workforce …

An Examination of Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage Law

This is a prevailing wage study completed in May 2018 that examines the effects of Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage Law on costs, training, and economic development.

Minnesota Prevailing Wage Study “Report Summary”

This is a 4-page Report Summary of the Minnesota prevailing wage study, An Examination of Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage Law, completed in May 2018.

Minnesota Prevailing Wage Study “Key Findings”

This is a one-page summary of the Key Findings from the 2018 Minnesota prevailing wage study, An Examination of Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage Law, completed in May 2018.

New Studies Show That Stronger Unions Produce Faster Wage Growth

Check out this comparison of economic growth based on union strength. This was written by Todd Stenhouse of the Midwest Economic Policy Institute.

Missouri Voters Defeat Right To Work Proposition

On Tuesday, August 7, voters in Missouri went to the polls to vote in the state’s primary for November’s election.

Another One Bites the Dust In Michigan

Michigan Repeals Prevailing Wage On June 6, Michigan became the 6th state in the last three years to repeal its Prevailing Wage law. The repeal was originated and pushed by the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC). It began as…

Como High Partnership Offers Career Path in Building Trades

The Pioneer Press Highlights Como Park Student Participation in Minnesota Trades Academy Program

Union Building Trades Strengthen School Curriculum

Minnesota is implementing the North America Building Trades Union (NABTU) Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) in several schools thoughout the state to introduce pre-apprentices and secondary students to the various building trades.


The Union Advocate Newsletter for April 2018 highlights the Mark H. Ayers Community Achievement Award presented by the North American Building Trades Council.

Minnesota Cement Finisher Interviewed By The Times

It was exciting to see a Minnesota cement mason apprentice in the March NY Times. The article includes an interview.
(Photo by: Tim Gruber of NY Times)

JATCs — Still Best in Construction Industry

The government recently promoted “Apprenticeship Week” around the U.S., and it was often repeated that the Building Trades set the high standard to which the government wants all programs to aspire. But it’s not enough to simply have an apprenticeship…

Enforcement Highlight: Jamek Engineering

FCF first ran into Jamek Engineering in 2012. When FCF first investigated Jamek we discovered workers who had been paid less than 25% of the prevailing wage requirements on public projects and some workers who were denied payment altogether. In…

School Construction Continues to Boom

As most people reading this likely know, construction is booming across the State of Minnesota. For the past few years construction in the state has been at very high levels, and it does not look like 2018 will be any…

Responsible Contractor Law Turns 3, Takes a Bite out of Independent Contractor Misclassification

Minnesota’s Responsible Contractor Law has now been effective for three years. The law applies to publicly owned construction projects in Minnesota valued at $50,000 or more.

Wisconsin Prevailing Wage Repeal

Earlier this year Wisconsin completed its repeal of its prevailing wage laws. Wisconsin began its prevailing wage assault by previously repealing prevailing wage requirements for local governments. Data collected by the Wisconsin Coalition of Contractors showed that from January through…

Apprenticeship Programs are Getting the Attention They Deserve

November brought in a greater emphasis on national apprenticeship programs than the Country has seen in recent years. National Apprenticeship Week was celebrated from November 13-19th. Of course, the pioneers in massive apprenticeship success have long been that National Building…

Destined For Destruction: What Was Old Will Be New Again

In early 2016, the historic west end Hope Engine Company #3 firehouse, located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Leech Street in St. Paul, was destined for the wrecking ball. Built in 1871, it served as St. Paul’s first…

Hunt Electric Makes A Difference For A Pre-Apprentice

Faith, persistence, ambition, and the generosity of, IBEW 292, Hunt Electric and many friends have changed the life of Calvin Mulumba. More than likely, the management at Hunt Electric is not aware of what a difference they have made in…