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Laborers' International Union of North America

The following information is provided as a general overview/guideline and it subject to change. Information as to earnings and benefits should be verified with the trade office in your geographical area as it can vary from province to province.

905 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006

Top Officer:
Terence M. O'Sullivan, General President

LIUNA represents members working in construction, environmental remediation, maintenance, food service, health care, clerical and other occupations, as well as in state, local and municipal government jobs and as mail handlers in the U.S. Postal Service. LIUNA members have helped lay down new highways, build spectacular bridges, dig tunnels and subways, build new plants, factories, dams and power plants, and erect new schools, churches, hospitals and houses. In building construction and housing, Laborers' work includes excavation, footing and foundations, carpenter tending, compaction, concrete placement, power and hand tools, general clean-up and mason tending for bricklayers. Environmental laborers do asbestos removal, hazardous waste and radiation clean-up. The work performed by Laborers is very physical and it includes digging, carrying, pulling and bending--usually outside in all kinds of weather for long hours at a time.

What do Laborers Do?

  • Excavation
  • Footing and Foundations
  • Carpenter Tending
  • Compaction
  • Concrete Placement
  • Power and Hand Tools
  • General Clean Up
  • Mason Tending for Bricklayers

What is a Laborers' Apprenticeship Program?

Formal apprenticeship programs provide thorough preparation for jobs as Construction Craft Laborers (CCL). There are over 80 CCL apprenticeship programs in the United States operated under guidelines established by the LIUNA Training and Education Fund. Programs include at least 4,000 hours of on-the-job training, with 144 hours of classroom training. Apprentices learn the skills necessary to work on buildings, highways and heavy construction sites; tunnel and shaft excavations; demolition and environmental remediation sites and must master the skills before they complete the program. Entry requirements vary from state to state, but all apprenticeship programs require the individual to be 18 years old (see School-to-Career below for exceptions), must be able to read, write, comprehend, and understand the classroom material, and be physically able to do the work of the trade. Most CCL apprenticeship programs require drug testing after acceptance into the program and prior to working in the field.

How much will I earn?

You earn while you learn the trade. Union journeymen Laborers wages and fringe benefits are negotiated on their behalf by the union through collective bargaining with signatory contractors. Some apprenticeship programs partner with community colleges to offer college credit for apprenticeship classes.

Wages vary according to the geographic location of the local union. The average starting wage for 1st year apprentices is 40 - 50% of the Journeyman's wage rate plus fringe benefits. Your earnings are adjusted annually to reflect your advancing skills and increasing knowledge of the trade.

What type of work will I do?

Construction Craft Laborers (CCL's) are skilled workers who provide much of the physically demanding labour at construction projects, tunnel and shaft excavations, environmental remediation projects, and demolition sites. They clean and prepare sites, dig trenches, mix and place concrete, and set braces to support the sides of excavations. At environmental remediation projects, they perform material and atmospheric sampling; build, clean, and decontaminate enclosure structures; remove, package, and transport hazardous materials. Other highly specialized tasks include operating laser guidance equipment to place pipes, and setting explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction. In addition to these duties, construction craft laborers may assist other craft workers. Construction craft laborers operate a variety of equipment including pavement breakers; jackhammers; earth tampers; concrete, mortar, and plaster mixers; guided boring machines; small mechanical hoists; laser beam equipment; surveying and measuring equipment; and monitoring and sampling equipment.