The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, March 16, 2007

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Welcome sent out to IBEW 275
We send out a hearty "welcome back" to members of IBEW Local 275, whose members have voted to subscribe to The Building Tradesman Newspaper.

Local 275 is based in Coopersville, between Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Veteran Local 275 electricians will remember receiving the paper a decade ago.

Now in our 55th year, The Building Tradesman is one of the oldest and highest-circulated labor publications in the nation. It is the official publication of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. With Local 275 aboard, we now have a circulation of about 49,000. Thank you for re-joining us.

Apprenticeshipschools spend $24.4M
A survey of state trade union apprenticeship programs compiled last month by the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council found that our state's unions spend $24.4 million per year on apprenticeship training.

That's up more than double from just a decade ago

"The major selling point for union labor is our training, which is unequalled in the industry," said Patrick Devlin, CEO of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. "No one, whether it's the Associated Builders and Contractors, trade schools or community colleges, can come close to the training that our apprenticeship schools provide. And we do it without a single dime of state or federal money."

The survey also revealed that in recent years, the average annual number of apprentices trained in all the trades was 5,054. Of those, 776 apprentices, or 15.3 percent, were minorities.

The survey found the total value of Michigan's building trades apprenticeship schools is $52.6 million.

Teamsters battle Mexican trucks
WASHINGTON (PAI) - The Teamsters have to battle the threat of creaky, dilapidated Mexican trucks, manned by overworked drivers, roaming U.S. roads - again.

That's because Bush Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Feb. 23 that a pilot program will start this year to let the Mexican trucks from 100 companies roll nationwide, rather than just in the 20-mile border zone in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.

Those Mexican trucks will only roll after they have met U.S. safety and inspection standards, she said, adding facilities for those inspections have been set up.

Peters' statement, which defies previous findings from her own department's Inspector General, irked Teamsters President James Hoffa, who has led the campaign to keep the Mexican trucks confined to the border zone. NAFTA would let them roam nationwide, but the questions about safety delayed that scheme.

"They are playing a game of Russian Roulette on America's highways," Hoffa said of the Mexican trucks plan. "Mexico refuses to meet their end of the bargain yet Bush rewards them with open access to American highways. It is the American driving public who will pay the consequences." He called on Congress to hold hearings "to put an end to this nonsense."

"Where is the Inspector's General report that tells us Mexico is meeting U.S. standards? Why is the president willing to move forward when his own Inspector General stated Mexico cannot meet its obligations?" Hoffa also noted another Transportation Department IG report on the Mexican trucks is due in a few months.

"The DOT has indicated that 'this is as narrow experiment' as they could initiate. Yet it is an experiment that allows 100 companies and an unknown number of Mexican trucks onto our highways and forces the U.S. traveling public to serve as guinea pigs," Hoffa said. "That is unacceptable."