Contractor FAQs

Frequently asked questions for Contractors

What is involved with becoming a union contractor?
What is the rate?
What benefits do you offer?
I already give my crew health insurance and a 401k, what happens when I sign?
What are electronic receipts/benefit stamps?
What kind of training do you offer?
Can you help me build my client base?
Can you help me build relationships in the area?
Why did you pick me? I don't build skyscrapers!
Why do you picket and hand out leaflets?
I used to be a Union Contractor 20 years ago. It didn't work then, why should it be any different now?
Are you going to run my company?
What happens to my current client base, they don't want anything to do with the union?
What happens to the sub contractors that I'm currently using?
What happens to the jobs that I have contracts on? I can't make them Union over night?
What about the other trades? Do I have to sign with them? What happens if I don’t sign with them?
Do you have workers available?
If union carpenters are unemployed and at the hall waiting for a job, how good can they be?
What happens to my current crew if I sign?
What is a Journeyman?
Who categorizes my crew into journeyman and apprentices?
What is a steward?

What is involved with becoming a union contractor?
New contractors are required to provide a Bond to cover benefit payments, if you cannot provide a Bond we ask for money to be deposited into an escrow account. You are required to pay the wage and benefit rates that apply to the type of work that you are doing, for the geographical region that the job is located in. Back to Top

What is the rate?
This depends on several things. We have different rates depending on the type of construction business you operate, i.e.: commercial construction, residential remodel, wood frame, and flooring. Our apprentices are paid at a percentage of the journeyman rate depending on their years in, first year apprentices typically start at 50%.  We also have rates for different geographical areas you may work in; Boston, Eastern Mass, Western Mass, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Northern New England. You can receive a copy of the current contract rates from our Contractor Relations Department. Back to Top

What benefits do you offer?
To the contractor we offer a pool of skilled workers, a source of training and the ability to assist in moving projects forward with the relationships we have acquired over the years. To the working member union benefits include Health insurance, (Dental and Vision care), Pension, and an Annuity. These benefits are offered at no extra cost to their spouse and dependent children. Back to Top

I already give my crew health insurance and a 401k, what happens when I sign?
If you have provided your employees with health insurance, prior to signing the contract, your employees will be enrolled immediately after completing one week of union work.  Any of your employees who were not participating in your plan will begin to accrue hours that will qualify them to be covered in our plan. Back to Top

If you have provided your employees with a 401k, they have three options: leave it in the account that you have set up, withdraw their money and roll it over into an IRA or they can roll it into the Annuity Fund. Back to Top

What are electronic receipts/benefit stamps?
One of the benefits to the contractor of signing with the Union is that all benefits are paid into one fund, you write one check and we disperse it.  This eliminates the hassle of making payments to several entities, i.e.: health, dental, pension, 401k, etc. When purchasing benefits through our fund, you will be receiving electronic receipts/benefit stamps, which record the hours of benefits purchased. These stamps, along with their check stub, are receipts for the members, proof of purchase that their benefits have been paid for the corresponding week. Back to Top

What kind of training do you offer?
For people interested but with no formal training in the trades, we offer an extensive apprenticeship training program in a state of the art facility. Apprentices are required to complete 1 week of school every 3 months, for 4 years.  They will receive classroom and hands on training that runs the full gamut of the trade. Back to Top

We also offer journeyman upgrade classes for our members free of charge. Classes offered range from the OSHA 10 hr and 30 hr to Erecting Scaffolding, Blue print reading and a prep course for the Massachusetts Supers license. We are also affiliated with Wentworth Institute of Technology where our members can receive college credit towards a degree for classes they have taken through our program. Back to Top

Can you help me build my client base?
We have over 1,300 signatory contractors throughout New England. If you’re a general contractor we can refer sub contractors to you. If you’re a sub contractor we can refer you to general contractors. We have also developed many relationships over the years with developers, end users, politicians, and city officials, who are always looking for new contractors to plug into various types of projects. Back to Top

Can you help me build relationships in the area?
We have a Contractor Relations department that assists our signatory contractors, new and old, by introducing them to other signatory contractors, developers, and architects. We can also be helpful with zoning and planning assistance thru our local unions and their members. Back to Top

Why did you pick me? I don’t build skyscrapers!
Union contractors range in size from having two employees to over several hundred. We believe that every carpenter should get all the benefits that being union affords. This means the carpenters that work on tenant fit-outs, single-family homes, skyscrapers and everything in between. Back to Top

Why do you picket and hand out leaflets?
To inform the public that a contractor working in the area is undercutting the area standards that have been established.  We believe the general public has the right to know that the community they live and work in is being undermined for the sake of profit, at the expense of the workers on that job. Back to Top

I used to be a Union Contractor 20 yrs ago. It didn’t work then why should it be any different now?
Since 1995 we have restructured and have taken dramatic steps to rectify some of the problems that have occurred with our contractors. One of the main differences is that the contractor has mobility of manpower.  This means that you can move your workforce to any job that you have throughout all six New England states. Back to Top

Are you going to run my company?
No. We do not want to run your company, that’s your job. We will get involved and assist you only if you ask for it. We ask only that you follow the collective bargaining agreement. This is the set of rules that levels the playing field for all. There is only one contract. There are no special deals. The contract contains a Most Favored Nations clause, which says any condition granted to one contractor must be extended to all. Back to Top

What happens to my current client base, they don’t want anything to do with the union?
Our experience has been that your clients have a relationship with you, because you have proven to be competitive and reliable. They don’t care how the job gets done they want it done once and done right. Back to Top

What happens to the sub contractors that I’m currently using?
We encourage you to invite your sub-contractors to sign a collective bargaining agreement, and we will help in explaining the benefits of being union to them. If your sub-contractors choose not to, we have ample contractors to choose from. However it is important for you to know that we only represent carpenters. Back to Top

What happens to the jobs that I have contracts on? I can’t make them Union over night?
Any work that you have a contract on, or work that you have already submitted bids on will be grand fathered.  This means you can do those jobs with your workforce at their current pay and benefits.  All future work is to be bid at the union rate. Back to Top

What about the other trades? Do I have to sign with them? What happens if I don’t sign with them?
We only represent Carpenters, pile drivers, floor coverers, and mill-cabinet shops. If you sign an agreement with us we are legally obligated to work for you. Back to Top

Do you have workers available?
We are able to accommodate most requests for manpower in good times and during economic slowdowns. Our members are constantly referring their carpenter friends to us, plus we have over 80 Representatives in the field everyday meeting carpenters and contractors. Back to Top

If union carpenters are unemployed and at the hall waiting for a job, how good can they be?
Carpenters “on the bench” may have just completed a project, or are skilled in a fashion that may or may not be suitable to the jobs available at the hall. Generally it has more to do with the amount and type of work that their previous employer had and what skills the carpenter has. A great concrete carpenter will be sitting on the bench if only finish work is available. Back to Top

What happens to my current crew if I sign?
When you sign a contract, your crew is encouraged to join the union. We will be glad to meet with them and address any of their questions and concerns. They will continue to work for you as long as you need them. You are able to supplement your workforce by calling the hall and asking for more men if you need them.  If you lay them off we will work to find them a job, with another union contractor. Back to Top

What is a Journeyman?
A skilled carpenter who is able to take direction from a foreman and complete the tasks required for their portion of the job, i.e.; a drywall journeyman, concrete journeyman etc. Many are capable of having the required skills for all or most of the aspects of the trade. Skills are learned thru our apprentice school by some of the members. But many members acquire their skills from years of working in the field. Back to Top

Who categorizes my crew into journeyman and apprentices?
You know the capabilities and wages of your crew. We believe you are in the best position to categorize them. We are also willing to assist you. We have skill evaluations in drywall and wood frame. These evaluations were conceived by a joint Labor/Management team and have proven to be a fair and honest determination of an individual’s skill level. Back to Top

What is a steward?
A steward is union member who is appointed by the local business representative to ensure that the contract is being adhered to by both contractor and carpenter. The steward acts as a liaison between the workers and management if a dispute arises. The steward is a working carpenter who has been trained to recognize safety hazards and will assist the contractor to provide a safe and healthy worksite. Because stewards are the second person hired and second to last to be laid off, they typically posses a high skill level in all aspects of the trade. Back to Top

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