Minnesota’s Construction Industry Background
Construction is a vital component of Minnesota’s economy and is growing faster than any other industry. Since 2000, Minnesota’s construction sector has grown by 69 percent. Overall, it is a $16 billion industry that directly supports more than 130,000 jobs.
There are over 105,000 blue collar construction workers throughout the state, engaged in skilled occupations ranging from carpentry, plumbing and heavy machine operations, to paving, painting, electrical work and more. Each contributes more than $120,000 annually in value to Minnesota’s economy–a higher return on investment than the national average for construction workers, and higher than every neighboring state except Illinois and Michigan.
A big reason why Minnesota’s construction industry is delivering for our economy is because of the strong working partnership between its skilled trade unions and their signatory contractors.
Partnership Between Construction Employers and Labor Unions
Over 41 percent of Minnesota’s blue collar construction workforce – the skilled professionals who build and maintain our roads, bridges, schools, housing, utilities, energy infrastructure and hospitals – are union members. This rate of unionization is more than double the nationwide average for the construction industry.
Through privately negotiated collective bargaining agreements with contractors, Minnesota’s building trades unions help ensure the construction industry is creating good paying middle-class jobs, promoting safety and efficiency on the jobsite, and developing the next generation of craft workers.
Joint Labor-Management Apprenticeship programs are a no-cost alternative to college that train workers for in-demand construction careers. Administered collaboratively by building trades unions and their signatory employers, these programs represent the largest privately funded system of higher education in Minnesota.
Union apprentices earn a paycheck while developing skills through a mix of classroom and on-the-job training. Upon graduation, they earn average incomes on par with other types of workers with college degrees.