ROCK ISLAND, Illinois (May 2017) – When building projects hire local workers, more of their wages and tax dollars support the local community, improving local morale — and the standard of living for the entire community.
“When out-of-town workers are routinely used to complete building projects, it hurts our community,” said Bill Allison, business agent for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 25. “Yes, those out-of-town workers may pay for a hotel room or eat out a few times, but when they leave their wages leave with them.”
When wages are higher and local workers are used to complete projects, it benefits the entire community by creating additional jobs in all industries. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, more than 60 percent of total employment is the result of local workers spending their wages.
When out-of-town workers are brought in by builders in an effort to save on construction costs, those workers take their wages back to their communities, which drives our local wages down.
“As a culture, we tend to focus on right now. But we really need to shift the focus to long-term solutions. Local labor may not always be the cheapest bid, but any initial construction costs can be offset by the long-term benefits to the overall health of the community,” Allison said. “Plus, when you hire local, quality is often much better. Our members complete a five-year apprenticeship and continue education throughout their career. Local workers are more likely to get the job done right the first time. And that’s because those workers care about the community they’re working in. It’s where they live, work, shop, eat and play. More importantly, it’s where they’re raising their families.”
Exelon, one of the companies committed to using local workers at its Quad Cities Generating Station, estimates that its decision to use 1,600 skilled local workers for annual maintenance has a $5-6 million impact on the local economy.
“At the Quad Cities Generating Station, we rely on the skills of Local 25 members to ensure the quality of work performed here is to the highest industry standards,” said Bill Stoermer, the plant’s communications manager. “We recognize that when these members work at our nuclear power plant, they are well-trained and qualified to provide us the quality and workmanship that we expect for sustainable operation of our plant. We are proud to use Local 25 members at this facility.”
Allison compares the concept of hiring local to the “Buy Local” campaigns that have gained traction in communities throughout the nation over the past several years.
“Thanks to ‘Buy Local’ campaigns that focus on revitalizing downtowns, ‘Build Local’ campaigns like Local 25’s ‘Quad City Built. Quad City Strong’ initiative, and movements like ‘Small Business Saturday,’ more people are now making a conscious effort to support local business,” Allison said. “Research shows that, on average, one dollar spent at an independent business returns three times more money to the local economy. Hiring local is very similar — and just as important.”
To learn more about the “Quad City Built. Quad City Strong.” campaign, visit www.lu25.org.
About Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 25
For more than 119 years Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 25 has guaranteed the professionalism of its journeymen, and the value of their work through a training program that is thoroughly unique in the plumbing and pipefitting industries. Their five years of rigorous classroom and on-the-job training in a state-of-the-art training center produces a workforce so skilled in the mechanical service and construction business that they provide 70% of all plumbing, HVAC and pipefitting performed in the Quad City area.