Orlando is booming, and with growth comes jobs—lots of jobs. For Local 606, central Florida’s explosive growth has presented the sort of problem many business managers would love to have: too many projects and not enough workers.
With major projects looming, Local 606, together with the Central Florida chapter of NECA, set out to find the workers they needed to compete.
Four months of planning came together this summer when the two organizations, assisted by Fifth District Vice President Joseph S. Davis and organizers from the international office and other Florida locals, hosted an industry night, drawing the interest of nearly 300 nonunion electricians in the region.
|Local 606 staff and NECA contractors drew interest from nearly 300 nonunion electricians as a result of their blitz and industry night.
“This is what Henry Miller was all about,” said Local 606 Business Manager Bob Carr, “organizing everyone in the electrical industry.”
And the extra manpower is coming at just the right time.
“We’ve got major projects coming down the pipe,” said Local 606 Assistant Business Manager Fernando Rendon. “Disney is building ‘Avatar’ Land at the Animal Kingdom and ‘Toy Story’ Land at Magic Kingdom back-to-back, and our contractors are in a great position to land the new ‘Star Wars’ attraction at Hollywood Studios. Add to that a couple of major airport projects, and we’ve got easily seven years’ worth of work.”
At their peak, the Disney projects alone should require more than 600 members, nearly the entire roster of Local 606.
“We’re just going to have to keep growing,” Rendon said. “We have to organize. If we don’t, we’re going to lose this work.” Organizing, in fact, is a way of life for Local 606, where as many as 60 percent of members were organized in, Rendon included.
And in Orlando, where commercial and multifamily construction increased 65 percent in the last year, organizing means using the construction electrician and construction wireman alternative classifications.
“We’re using the CE/CW program on every job we’ve got,” Rendon said. “The program has been just phenomenal for us. We’re using it on everything, and we would never get these jobs without it.”
For July’s industry night, organizers from Florida locals 756 in Daytona Beach, 728 in Ft. Lauderdale, and 915 in Tampa joined three organizers from the international office and visited nearly 100 nonunion jobs sites to drum up interest in the IBEW.
In addition, Davis was critical in getting funding for radio ads in the two weeks leading up to the event.
After the expectations-busting success of the event, Davis urged other locals to follow the example of Local 606. “Any local with the available work should have an industry night and promote the CE/CW program more.”