January 2016

Reinforcing Ironworkers in High Demand

Since the creation of the Department of Reinforcing Ironworkers in August of 2006, we have seen a number of obstacles that threaten and stifle our ability to regain the union reinforcing market share. The biggest obstacle we need to focus on for 2016 is recruiting and training more reinforcing ironworkers.

Around the United States and Canada, we have seen shortages of skilled reinforcing ironworkers – the demand is extremely high, and unfortunately, the supply is low. Through organizing efforts and partnerships, we have been able to grow our union workforce and have seen increases in the number of union reinforcing rodbusters but we need to figure out where we can get more.

The projected work for the next 5 to 10 years will leave us no choice but to organize and find 10,000 new rodbusters to keep up with the work. We will need to keep our local union doors open and determine better ways to recruit men and women into all training programs available, as well as strategize how to best market the strengths of the union and benefits to union members. 

We are seeing locals turning to distance learning programs in an effort to embrace technology and reach out to the younger generation who are computer and tech savvy. Building distance-learning platforms will allow us to place workers while still maintaining a standard level of “classroom” training.

As we continue to promote the rebar industry throughout the United States and Canada, it is imperative we consider how to boost our recruitment into our training programs. One thing remains clear: the amount of work available is steadily increasing and we will need to meet the demand.