News from the City Government


Michigan's Largest Skilled Trades Union Commits to Tripling Number of Detroit Residents as Members

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  • Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights to expand Detroit resident membership from 283 today to 849 over 10 years
  • MRCC is second major union to join Mayor’s Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP)


The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights – the state’s largest skilled trades union – has signed an agreement with the City of Detroit to expand career opportunities for Detroit residents in the skilled trades, Mayor Mike Duggan announced today.   Three MRCC locals that represent 4,400 members and have made the commitment are:

  • Local 687- Commercial Construction
  • Local 1243 –Residential Construction
  • Local 1045- Interior Designs and Systems

Statewide, the MRCC represents 14,000 skilled trades workers.  Under the agreement, the three MRCC locals will triple the number of Detroit residents trained to be carpenters over the next decade.  Today, the union’s locals have a total of 283 members who are Detroit residents.  Within 10 years, that number will expand to 849 under the STEP agreement.   To meet this goal, the Carpenters have pledged that going forward until their membership goal is met, 25% of all first-year apprentices will be Detroit residents.

“This agreement is the most comprehensive plan in the state to train residents for careers in the skilled trades,” said Mayor Duggan. “Detroit residents should directly benefit from all of the construction in the city. This plan will be the path forward to create real career opportunities for hundreds of residents.”

The new partnership is part of the Detroit Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP). The City will partner with local unions and their Joint Apprentice Training Committees to set annual goals that will help increase the percentage of Detroiters in that Local’s membership.

In December, a similar agreement was announced with Plumbers Local 98, which was the first union to sign onto the STEP program.  Participating unions agree that an increased percentage of their first year apprenticeship slots will go to Detroit residents.

The Carpenters’ agreement states that the MRCC will recruit more than 50 new Detroit residents per year over the course of the next decade. In addition to that, at least 25% of all new apprentices must be Detroit residents.

“By structuring the agreement this way, we give residents the freedom to work on any jobsite they want, whether it’s in the city or outside of the city, while still making progress toward our goal of expanding career opportunities,” said Mayor Duggan. “This means that Detroit residents will have more opportunities for training without being pigeonholed into working on particular jobsites.”

Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights said, “This agreement allows us all to capitalize on the construction work that the Mayor’s office is bringing to the city of Detroit in order to train the workforce that we need. Michigan needs skilled workers and Detroit residents deserve opportunities for good jobs. It’s a perfect fit.”

Progress toward the training goals would be monitored by the City of Detroit’s Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity, the same department that monitors residency requirements.

“Our training is certified by the United States Department of Labor,” said Mike Jackson. “When men and women are trained in our program, they are qualified to work on any jobsite in the country. That should be the goal of recruiting and training a skilled workforce: good, flexible careers that you can take anywhere.”


City to ensure compliance

Under Executive Order (2016-1) the City, through its Department of Civil Right, Inclusion & Opportunity, will continue to enforce hiring requirements and collect payments from contractors who fail to meet threshold of hiring a workforce that includes 51% Detroit residents.  So far, the City has collected $675,000 in compliance payments that will be used for job training programs for Detroit residents including:

  • Basic construction skills training
  • Pre-apprenticeship programs
  • Commercial Driver’s License certifications
  • Lead and Asbestos remediation training
  • Certifications in carpentry, electrical wiring and green construction

Contractors who hire participating STEP partner unions will be considered in compliance with the Executive Order, provided they meet their target of Detroiter participation in new apprenticeship classes and membership within their Local.

Roberson’s department will conduct regular compliance checks to ensure participating unions are making progress towards reaching the agreed-upon goals.

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