Support Local Labor


When you take a look around our communities these days, you don’t have to look very far to see that the working families are struggling to make ends meet. 
With severe unemployment levels still rising and more of our good paying jobs leaving our areas, a gross shortage of good fair wage/benefit paying jobs are giving way to low wage/no benefit jobs. A very troubling trend in our local construction sector is that more and more local businesses are utilizing cut-rate/out-of-town contractors that undermine local contractors and workers, both union and non-union alike. The big retail chain stores and malls that we see popping up everywhere have become some of the worst offenders of this poor behavior. 
Historically, the construction jobs created by such businesses were the best paying jobs that these businesses offered to the local community, while the retailers’ sales staff made minimum wages with little to no benefits. Now in addition to their retail staff making minimum wages with little to no benefits, the cut-rate/out-of-town contractors that they hire to build and maintain their facilities also offer minimum wages with little to no benefits. In turn, this behavior forces local contractors to make up the cost difference by cutting local construction workers’ wages and benefits even more just to have a chance at securing a project. 
These are not the kind of neighbors that we need in our community especially in hard times like these. Ironically when we go to shop at most of these retail stores, we find that they have not lowered prices on their products any whatsoever for us the local consumer. They have not passed their savings on to us, but they have instead driven up their profits even more. They utilize those cut-rate contractors, often from out-of-town, with sub standard wages and little to no benefits to undermine the local contractors and workers that are expected to purchase their goods when they won’t even purchase ours! This is unacceptable! 
However, a few model businesses such as Boscov’s Department Stores are very responsible to our community in many ways, especially to the local contractors and workers they have faithfully employed throughout the years and still do.
It’s no mystery to anyone that good fair wage/benefit paying jobs help stimulate our local economies. Consumers then have more disposable income to make retail purchases. Fair wage jobs create better tax revenues for our municipalities which in turn help keep tax increases at a minimum to our local residents. These tax increases are caused annually by financial shortfalls in our local municipalities and are hurting working families’ financially security when they are already being whittled down by some of the aforementioned business practices.
IBEW Local 743, in conjunction with other local area building trades, has taken up a grass roots campaign to create public awareness and support for our local contractors and workers for the good of all local working families here. If you see local trades’ workers hand billing a retail store or business near you, please take the time to find out what is going on and how you can help. With enough public interest and support, we can make a positive impact right here where it counts the most - in our own back yards! It’s time we let those retailers and developers know that they should recognize us for more than our wallets.

Submitted by: Ryan C. Helms