Dear Brothers and Sisters:
We are off to a great start for 2020, thanks to everyone’s efforts, every day. Before we get too far into the year, I wanted to present a State-of-the-Council update. I’d like to share information about how our Council did last year and how we intend to grow market share and service members even better in 2020.
First, I want to share this news with you from the UBC Southern District office: We are proud to announce that membership throughout the 11-state UBC Southern District continues its multi-consecutive-year increase! Collectively, we achieved a 13% increase in membership in 2019 over 2018, finishing last year with more than 22,000 carpenters, millwrights and piledrivers. And, in just January of 2020, we had a near 2% membership increase! We expect to keep our streak going in 2020. Well done, everyone!
Here at the FLCRC, we are happy to report that 2019 was a great year for our Council, specifically in terms of growth. We anticipate 2020 to stay in step with this momentum.
Our man hours in Florida for 2019 was an outstanding 5.14 million. That’s an increase of 11.7% over our 2018 total. We expect that growth to continue in 2020 based on the number of projects in progress or coming this year.
Our membership is holding steady at more than 3,300, but we expect that number to also increase this year because of the great work opportunities ahead.
EST Banks addresses a Hammer it Home class
Our membership also took great strides in developing their own personal leadership styles by participating in the proprietary training the UBC provides. We had great representation at the 3rd Year Apprentice, Journeymen Leader (300-Hitter), and 212 Advanced Journeyman leadership courses. Our members took advantage of foreman training, customer service training, political training, and much more. A special thank you to all of our members who took the time from their personal lives to better themselves and, in return, well-represent our Council on the job site, in the Union Halls and in their communities.
To further support our member leaders after their training, we created the "Hammer it Home" program to supercharge their energy after they get back home. Participants meet with Council and Training Department leadership to begin the process of communicating their thoughts and ideas for improvement. The goal is to reinforce to the members to show up, be active, and be the leaders they know they can be and to translate that energy from the training to the jobsite. Learn more about these programs and contact your Business Rep if you’d like to also take part in training.
Work looks good in Florida for 2020. We survive by working hard every day, having great relationships in place that continue to open doors, and providing training that is second-to-none.
In North Florida, we will be busy with Georgia Pacific and the Westrock Papermill. We also will staff multiple sites for the Marley Cooling Towers.
In Central Florida, Disney World continues to provide steady work for our members. In 2020, a new Guardian of the Galaxy ride and renovations all throughout Epcot will require 250+ carpenters.
In South Florida, we are part of a $175 million project for the new Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center at Jackson Memorial Health Campus.
Throughout the state, our pile drivers will see another busy year. The Keller Group has multiple projects throughout the state. We also will staff projects for the Herbert Hoover Dyke rehabilitation project at Lake Okeechobee for Ebsary Foundation.
Our healthcare construction program - ICRA – is growing by leaps and bounds in Florida. When we began our ICRA program a couple years ago, we started with zero contractors and no man hours. By the end of 2019, we gained five signatory contractors: Anderson, Ranon, Merrick, PCI and MJ Wood. And, we achieved 170,279 man hours! We continue to pursue many projects, including a long-term project at Champs Hospital in Jacksonville and Baptist Hospital in North Florida.
And, as the renewable energy industry continues to grow, so does our solar program. The demand for carpenters to build solar farms presents an excellent opportunity to not only secure more man hours and market share, but to also increase our membership.
As you can see, we had a great 2019 and all signals point to an even better 2020. While our members provide exceptional work on job sites throughout Florida, know that the staff of the Florida Council is out there fighting to win work for our members, every day.
I have a special request of every member and their significant others/spouses, and granting this request by all of you will have a direct impact on how well we continue to fight for and gain work for union carpenters in Florida: I implore everyone reading this message to become active in this election year. The Florida Council will never tell you how to vote, but we will vigorously encourage you to register to vote, to stay current on issues, to carefully consider all candidates, and above all, to vote on election day. Every vote counts, and we are counting on our membership to make a difference at the polls. Register to vote here.
Thank you, each and every one of you, for your diligence and dedication to our Council. Florida, as always, continues to lead the way in outstanding work from equally outstanding professional carpenters and pile drivers. I speak for the entire Council staff and officers when I say we are honored to work for you.
Yours in Solidarity,
James Banks, EST