Supporting Work of Highly Trained Union Contractors

Although it was founded more than 125 years ago, the Construction Industry Association of Rochester often flies under the radar.

The association focuses on promoting and supporting union contractors in the regional building and construction industry, and works with building-trades unions, representing the needs of bricklayers, carpenters, laborers, and operating engineers. It helps promote open communication between labor and management parties, provides a forum for local contractors to address industry-wide concerns, and serves as the negotiation support team for management during multi-employer bargaining.

The association offers expertise in multiple fields, meaning its members don't need their own in-house experts. "Think of us as the Chamber of Commerce for the building-trades unions;' says Aaron Hilger, who joined Construction Industry Association of Rochester (CIAR) in 2003 and now serves as managing director. "We negotiate the contracts, we help them build their markets, and we assist with the management of their benefit and the funds that provide workers with their health care and retirement.”

The highly regarded addition at Strong National Museum of Play was done by Manning Squires Hennig Co. Inc., a union contractor.

The highly regarded addition at Strong National Museum of Play was done by Manning Squires Hennig Co. Inc., a union contractor.

Manning Squires Henning Co. Inc., a union contractor, helped renovate the inside of Geva Theatre in downtown Rochester.

Manning Squires Henning Co. Inc., a union contractor, helped renovate the inside of Geva Theatre in downtown Rochester.

In addition, the association is keen to correct what it says is a long-held misconception that hiring union contractors costs more than hiring non-union contractors. "The least expensive route up front isn't always the best business decision,” Hilger says. "Owners looking to reduce total ownership costs, including annual maintenance and energy costs, are often better served by hiring a higher-quality contractor."

The difference between union and non-union firms is long-term commitment to training, he says. All CIAR members require their construction employees to participate in an apprenticeship program. By mandating this training, the industry assures Itself the most knowledgeable, professional, safe, and highly skilled workforce. Apprentices receive a mix of classroom education and paid, hands-on training for two to five years, depending on the trade. In addition, experienced workers are offered annual upgrade opportunities to keep skills current and learn new systems. Required apprenticeship programs provide manufacturers certifications so contractors can install almost any product.

Business owners are encouraged to call for professional advice and referrals. "If you need to find a high-quality contractor, contact us,” Hilger says. "We will be happy to connect you with the appropriate people. All referrals are based on the scope of the work. If somebody is building a clean room, they likely need a different contractor than somebody doing a rehab of an office or building a multi-family residential structure. Our members include firms that work in all industry segments and in all areas of the country:'

The Construction Industry Association of Rochester office is located in Penfield.

Contact the organization at 585-586-0710, info@ciar.us, or www.ciar.us.