International Union of Operating Engineers

IUOE Local 77 Organizing

There are often a number of misconceptions for a nonunion equipment operator before they decide to go to work for a union contractor.  When a nonunion operator decides to work for a union contractor they are working for that contractor under the conditions and pay that are negotiated in the contract that has been negotiated between the contractor and the union.

A union operator is not working for the union, nor paid by the union.  The union simply operates a hiring hall where union companies call to get skilled equipment operators when they are hiring.  This is also where union operators call to get on the out of work list when they are laid off, fired or quit their job.  When the operator registers with the hiring hall they fill out or update their referral card.  This card lists all of the equipment that the operator is qualified to operate and willing to operate.  Also on the card are the phone numbers that the operator will be at from 630am to 9 am and 3pm to 4 pm This is so a business representatives can call you for work opportunities.

When the operator goes to work for a contractor the operator can stay with that employer as long as the operator wants to stay and the employer has work for the operator.  A common misconception is that the union tells the operators where to work from week to week.  This is simply not true.  The local is here to offer employment opportunities for the union members, represent them with the employer and keep track of their benefits.

Local 77 also retains an administrator that maintains the retirement and health benefits that the contractors pay in on their operators.  Our benefits are in addition to the hourly wages.  With most nonunion contractors, operators are paid an hourly wage and then the employer withdraws money for 401k’s and health insurance in addition to other withdraws.  This makes the hourly wage that might have looked good when they were hired drop for a family man $2 - $5 an hour.  Our hourly wage is the hourly wage with benefits paid in addition to this.  The operator pays administrative dues that are taken to pay for all of these services that average $.85/hr.   

We hope that you will contact us by email or phone (301-899-6900) and talk to one of our organizers and learn more about what you can do to better your equipment operating career.