M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund projected to yield astronomical annual return on investment

With just $15 million collected to date, the return on investment is projected as more than 2,800%.

Newton B. Jones, International President

The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund supported by U.S. Construction Sector Boilermakers continues to expand work opportunities across the United States, proving its value not only in job creation but also in promoting our trade and securing our national pension and other vital benefits.

The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund encompasses the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers’ marketing, organizing, recruitment and employment strategies and is designed to build further work opportunities for Boilermaker members.

During the brief few years of the M.O.R.E. Work program’s existence, we have opened up millions of manhours of construction work—work that otherwise would not have been available to our members. And additional job opportunities are on the horizon, as the program’s long-term, multi-pronged strategy continues to progress.

The $1 hourly contribution supporting the M.O.R.E. Work program is yielding extraordinary results for members. Every new paid man-hour generated goes on a member’s paycheck and contributes to member benefits as well as training and safety programs. At journeyman package rates averaging between $70 to $85 an hour (in some cases, significantly more) it’s easy to see how that $1 is an incredible investment with a huge return.

Through the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund, we are marketing Boilermaker skills to potential clients, organizing and recruiting new members to build our union, and implementing job targeting and work recovery strategies to win jobs where there is currently little or no Boilermaker presence. And we are leveraging our positive relationships with state lawmakers and other allies to bring us more Boilermaker work through new and innovative legislation.

Already, the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund strategy is seeing an astronomical projected annual return on investment. To date, with less than $15 million in M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund monies collected—which is just a fraction of the total that will potentially be available—over $427 million in estimated annual earnings are projected resulting from the new legislation, marketing efforts and organizing and recruiting tactics powered by the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund. That’s an over 2800% annual return on investment.

M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund
Projected Annual Return on Investment
With just $15 million collected to date, the return on investment is projected as more than
2,800%
State Estimated Annual Man-Hours Projected Annual Income
California 3,000,000 $278,883,000
Washington 1,500,000 $114,328,500
New Jersey 350,000 $34,426,700
Total 4,850,000 $427,638,200

While the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund strategy is multi-dimensional, our efforts in the legislative arena have been especially impressive.

As reported elsewhere in this issue, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy recently signed into law Assembly Bill 805—legislation that will generate an estimated 350,000 new man-hours annually for our members working in the state’s high-hazard industries like petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing. The new law requires that 60% of workers in those industries be graduates of an approved apprenticeship program (or have equivalent experience). It also requires that workers be paid the prevailing wage, a requirement typically only seen on government funded projects. The law serves public safety while also leveling the playing field for Boilermakers and other skilled trades.

Boilermakers spearheaded this legislation, assisted by the New Jersey AFL-CIO. Martin Williams, National Coordinator of State Legislative Affairs, M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund, and Local 28 BM-ST Jim Chew were instrumental in promoting the legislation and seeing it through to signing.

The New Jersey law is modeled on our ground-breaking successes in California, where an estimated 3 million new man-hours ($278,883,000 in wages/benefits) are projected for Boilermakers annually, and in Washington State with an estimated 1 million man-hours ($114,328,500 in wages/benefits) of new work annually.

Additionally, through our California initiative, we have already organized more than 1,000 new members and signed 31 formerly non-union contractors to Boilermaker agreements.

Factoring in an added 20% in overtime, altogether, the nearly 5 million additional annual man-hours from New Jersey, California and Washington State are projected to generate, estimated, $427,638,200 in annual Boilermaker earnings.

Meanwhile, another Boilermaker-backed legislative effort, in Illinois, is progressing in the state’s General Assembly, and we are anticipating its passage in November.  We estimate 1 million man-hours annually could become available to Boilermakers once the bill becomes law.

Our M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund strategy also focuses on job targeting and work recovery initiatives. These are two similar approaches aimed at winning work we have lost or failed to pursue, often because our contractors felt they could not compete against non-union firms that pay their workers less and offer less training and fewer benefits.

The key to success is providing our Boilermaker contractors with the flexibility they need to be competitive in those circumstances and ensuring Boilermakers get more manhours in a difficult and more competitive environment. The M.O.R.E. Work Job Targeting Strategy is a way to essentially even the playing field in the bidding process.

To date, job targeting efforts have generated more than 203,000 man-hours of additional work for our members, and our goal is to generate more than 3 million man-hours of job targeting work annually from this program.

Meanwhile, we are finalizing the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund National Work Recovery Agreement negotiated by the National Transient District Lodge and the National Association of Construction Boilermaker Employers.

The agreement will provide NTDL contractors with flexibility to compete in geographic areas and industries where market conditions strongly favor non-union contractors and Boilermakers have had little or no work during the previous five years.

For Boilermakers who prefer not to work extensively on the road, job targeting and work recovery efforts are beginning to add facilities nearer to local lodges, offering more opportunities to find work within driving distance of their homes.

And the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund not only helps our members find jobs, but it also prepares them for the job site. M.O.R.E. Work program funds pay for TWIC cards (maritime facility access credentials), MSHA training and DISA background checks so our members don’t have to cover those costs out of their own pocket.

Promoting the Boilermaker brand is an essential part of finding new work for our members, and the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund is helping us spread the word about the Boilermaker advantage.

Today, Boilermaker billboards in Texas and California catch the attention of interstate traffic, owners see our ads in industry magazines, and dedicated websites and TV ads have been prepared for each construction local lodge to tell our story and promote our capabilities.

As we bring in new work, it is imperative that we have the members to fully staff that work so that we maximize project man-hours, protect our jurisdiction and secure our pension. We continue to bring on—and train up as needed—nonunion workers who value the opportunity to become a union Boilermaker and want to be part of our Brotherhood. Our recruitment and organizing websites along with expanded social media and other efforts continue to produce leads—and results.

The future of construction Boilermaker work will be as bright as we choose to make it. As our traditional work on coal-fired energy fleets continues to wane, it’s clear we have to adapt; we have to evolve.

Boilermaker skills are needed across many industries: energy generation, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, steel, cement, chemicals, waste processing and many others. The time has come for us to pursue work more aggressively in those industries and facilities where we have not been active or have never stepped foot. That’s how we will secure our pension and other benefits. That’s how we will secure our future and the future of the generations that follow us.

The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund gives us the strategy and the resources necessary to shape our destiny.