Making Contractors More Competitive


In today's competitive construction industry, a companies employment needs require considerable time and money for recruiting, screening and training of employees or additional employees as workloads increase. Applicants off the street often lack the motivation or the necessary skills to adapt to your needs in a timely manner. Operating Engineers, Local No. 9, could be a tool in helping your company meet its employment needs.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO, is the parent organization to the Operating Engineers Local No. 9 celebrated its 100th anniversary on December 7, 1996 and represents over 100 local unions with approximately 400,000 members in the United States. By contacting any local union, construction companies have access to skilled craftsmen throughout the United States. If a company is involved in multi-state operations, they can also take advantage of what unions have to offer.

Operating Engineers Local No. 9 was issued a charter in 1937 with jurisdiction covering the State of Colorado. It has three offices statewide and represents over 1,500 operators, which allows for a network of dispatching to your firm anywhere in the state.

Operating Engineers Local No. 9 desires to establish a working relationship with your Company. You have our assurance that any discussions are only meant to educate, explore our programs, and find ways to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship. Any discussions are not to be construed that the Company has engaged in bargaining with the Union.

As you review this information, note the many ways labor and management can work together to meet your needs today and through the 21st century.

The Operating Engineers has, in our research of companies in Colorado, identified the following areas that affect your bottom line and concern your operations as employers. We would like to make your company aware of the programs and services we offer to address these concerns and serve as the basis for future discussions. Some areas of discussion would include:

  1. Full Term & Project only Agreements
  2. Safety & Health
  3. Availability & Portability of Employees
  4. Labor-Management Cooperation
  5. Training
  6. Apprenticeship Programs
  7. Defined Benefit Pension Plan
  8. Health and Welfare Programs 
  9. Credit Union


A. FULL TERM AGREEMENT: This is a collective bargaining agreement signed by certain individual contractors and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 9 that governs wages, benefits, and working conditions in the State of Colorado for a specific length of time. This agreement is based on the competitive wage rates and working conditions negotiated by the Operating Engineers and the signatory contractors in Colorado.


For short-term projects which will not affect wages, benefits, or working conditions of Local No. 9's Full term Working Agreements, a project agreement can be negotiated. This collective bargaining agreement can be negotiated by the Operating Engineers International or Local No. 9 officers, or with the agreement of Local No. 9 and the Colorado Building and Construction Trades Council.


Safety is a major cost consideration when bidding work. Industrial injuries and health problems can definitely affect the bottom line profit of a job. Our members are trained to work safely and efficiently. They receive on-the-job training from individual contractors and the Operating Engineers offers extensive safety and awareness training courses at our training center.


A. The Operating Engineers local No. 9 maintains non-discriminatory hiring halls and has members available for immediate dispatch to your job sites with one phone call to the local area office. Each of three offices maintain a list of operators with the skills required to complete your project in a timely manner. Local 9's work lists comply with all federal, state, and local laws with regard to the recruitment, registration, selection, classification, and referral of applicant, which complies with EEOC requirements.

B. A Colorado firm may utilize its own operators throughout the State of Colorado without restriction from the Union. Companies outside of Colorado desiring to perform work within the State of Colorado may also use their key employees. However, there shall be a pre-job conference to help to determine the ratio of out-of-state company operators to Colorado operators.


One concern of many contractors is jurisdictional problems between crafts. This concern is raised both in the assignment of work as well as keeping a crew productive. The Operating Engineers and other Building Trades Unions have a good working relationship in the State of Colorado. We believe that our relationship is as good, if not better than relationships anywhere in the country. We have agreed that each craft has a history of what work they are most productive doing. We do not claim their work, nor do they claim ours. All labor agreements that Local No. 9 has negotiated on behalf of its members contain a formal grievance procedure. This procedure helps employees and employers communicate and settle workplace problems prior to outside involvement of outside arbitrators or government agencies.


The Operating Engineers has a training facility located southeast of Denver with a mechanic/welder training shop and over 30 pieces of heavy equipment available. Training is provided for both the Apprenticeship program as well as for journeymen upgrading their skills. Some of the courses offered are Construction Math and Metric System, Grade Checking, Excavation Standards Training, First Aid &CPR, HAZMAT, Certified Crane Operator, Forklift, OSHA 10hr. , MSHA New Miner, OQ (Operator qualification), along with HAZMAT refresher, MSHA refresher and CDL testing. In addition, as a signatory contractor, you would be eligible to send individuals to attend OSHA, and other Safety Training Courses at no charge. Schedules and course outlines are available.


Local No. 9's training program is registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT), U.S. Department of Labor. The Colorado Journeyman and Apprentice Training for Operating Engineers is a joint effort with contractors who have collective bargaining agreements with the Union. Together, we train qualified men and women to safely and efficiently handle heavy equipment so the construction industry can be assured that a pool of skilled workers will be available for future construction demands.


The International Union of Operating Engineers Central Pension fund, established in 1960, offers numerous ways to qualify for a guaranteed monthly lifetime retirement benefit for each participant. This fund is the fifth largest Labor-management Pension Plan in the United States and benefits are guaranteed by the U.S. Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation. The Central Pension Fund has nationwide reciprocity with other IUOE Local Pension Plans for your employees who travel from state to state. We are pleased to advise all future participants that our Pension Plan has no unfunded liabilities, with current assets of 8 billion dollars. The Joint Labor-Management Trustees have worked hard to insure that all benefits are funded and the benefit structure is prudently established.


The Operating Engineers Health & Welfare Trust Fund was established in 1968 and is maintained by a Joint Labor-Management Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is divided equally between employer Trustees appointed by employer representatives and Employee Trustees appointed by the participating unions. The Board of Trustees has engaged Zenith Administrators to perform the daily administration of the Fund. Eligibility for the benefits provided by the Fund is earned through contributions made by the participating employers. The hour bank system in which hours reported by a contributing employer are accumulated for an Active Employees hour bank much in the same manner as funds are accumulated in a savings account. A participant can accumulate four months (500) hours for coverage when the member is not working and no contributions are made. Immediate coverage can be obtained for employees of newly organized contractors. The fund provides family coverage for employees and their dependents at competitive premium rates and includes comprehensive medical benefits, with an aggregate lifetime maximum of $1,000,000.00, life insurance, prescription drug benefits, dental/vision plans and there is a member assistance program. There is a network of PPO doctors and hospitals, which enable the employee and their eligible dependents to save on their health care cost. A Summary Plan Description is available upon request. The Operating Engineers is able to provide medical coverage for all your non-bargaining unit personnel. This coverage would be identical to the coverage provided to your operators. A monthly premium for coverage has been established at a rate we believe is an excellent value.


The Local No. 9 Credit Union is owned and operated by its members, strictly for their benefit. It was established for active or retired members and for any member of their family. It was established to provide the best financial service to meet member's needs, encourage them to save, and to provide a source of credit for them at reasonable rates of interest. Each account is insured to the maximum of $250,000.00 by the National Credit Union Administration Share Insurance Fund. (more details are available for your review).


The International Union of Operating Engineers is over 100 years old and we have aided in building this country. All building trades know how it is to be behind schedule, having supply problems, having labor problems. Local No. 9 may be able to help. Imagine being able to call the union hall and get a skilled, experienced, dedicated employee on the jobsite within 48 hours. We would greatly appreciate an opportunity to make a no obligation  presentation to you and/or your representatives and provide any additional information you might need. We firmly believe that a partnership between your firm and the International Union of Operating Engineers can help you meet your present and future needs enabling you to maintain competitive place in the construction industry.

These are not empty statements. Union contractors must succeed if they are to employ our members. Since we want steady employment, our contractors usually welcome any help we can provide to ensure that they are getting jobs and operating successfully. However, this does not mean that we stand by if an employer is trying to get ahead at the expense of the worker. Our contract is the foundation of the relationship and that is where we achieve acceptable standards. We expect the Union employers to honor the contract and respect the workers. In turn, the Union must do all it can to help the contractor succeed.