Minnesota Chapter Update for February 2016 Conference



Workforce Development Activities

The total bricklayer’s hours worked in the first 11 months of 2015 total 2,162,324 compared to 1,945,435 for the first 11 months in 2014.  That is an increase of 11%.  According to Mike Cook, President of the Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union 1 MN/ND, the number of bricklayers working total 15,126 an increase of 6.66% over 2014.


Bricklayer’s Apprenticeship Director Andrew Staab is organizing and managing a new apprenticeship training center in New Hope, MN which is a western suburb of Minneapolis. The new and improved facility is offering Apprentice and Journey level classes to its members, as well as, hosting workshops for architects, engineers, high school and college students, as well as, community non-profit organizations.  The BAC Outreach Programs serve high school youth including general student population and at-risk youth. At-risk can be defined as economically at-risk, criminally at-risk, academically at-risk, and a number of other factors.


Journey level and Outreach Classes total 247 apprentices.  186 apprentices are actively participating at the New Hope Training Center.  The remaining 61 are working towards completing their apprenticeship hours out of greater Minnesota sites in Rochester and Duluth.


Economic Conditions/Forecasts

Union masonry construction, based on bricklayer hours worked, continued to be strong in 2015. Business opportunities look to continue strong through 2016.  Marketing contributions from contractors to the association based on bricklayer’s hours worked times five cents remain healthy.  The reporting of the hours and contributions are made on a trust relationship. In 2015 the MC&MCA budgeted $35,000 from contractors toward our marketing effort. We expect to reach that budgeted goal. That is the same amount of marketing dollars raised in 2014.


2015 construction growth has been triggered by a major remodeling of the State Capitol, a new state office building next to the Capitol, a new St. Paul Saints baseball stadium that opened in May, and a major new Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis set to be ready for the 2016 season. These four projects have fueled hundreds of jobs for bricklayers, cement masons, and laborers. The new Central Corridor transit system providing light rail service between downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis has fostered development and redevelopment projects along the rail both in terms of commercial and residential construction. We have one more stadium to build! This one—for soccer—will be managed by Mortenson. The $120 million stadium will seat 20,000 people and be located a 10-acre site. It is expected to be ready in early 2018.   


The Legislature passed a bonding bill in the 2015 session for schools, public buildings, and transportation.  The bigger bonding bill is expected to be passed in 2016 providing additional dollars for roads, bridges, light rail transit lines, and bus routes. Residential construction in Minnesota for 2015 remained strong with a lot of the action in the two downtown areas and along light rail lines.


Masonry Marketing Activities

The MC&MCA continued its strong marketing efforts in 2015. With the hiring of new Marketing Director Elena Peltsman, an architect by training and experience, presentations promoting masonry products and workmanship have been delivered to around 50 architectural firms across the state in her first seven months on the job. AIA continuing education credits are provided, as well as, a working lunch to sweeten the deal! Our contractor members are invited and encouraged to attend these presentations if possible. Presentations are also being made to owners, developers, general contractors and schools in an effort to promote masonry construction industry in Minnesota. These efforts are being paid for through members’ dues and contributions.


The MC&MCA remains active in the structural masonry promotional effort working with the bricklayers union, the IMI, Laborers, and LECET.  This effort targets structural masonry engineers and engineering firms.  The MC&MCA has four representatives on this Minnesota Masonry Coalition (MMC) which also includes four representatives from labor.  MC&MCA Marketing Director Elena Peltsman and Mark Swanson of IMI work together through the MMC to coordinate additional promotion and marketing of masonry and union labor throughout Minnesota and the upper Midwest.


MC&MCA and other masonry management and labor organizations feel strongly that the marketing and promotional efforts need to occur in during a strong building market and during slow economic times.



Our competition continues to be precast. The battle grounds continue to be in big box stores and commercial buildings. Our masonry promotions efforts in Minnesota of working with architects, engineers, developers, and owners is to educate and inform decision makers as to the long term benefits of masonry products and quality workmanship.