Jason Fincke, Executive Director
Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania, Inc.
When deciding whether to build in Western Pennsylvania,
developers and owners have to consider numerous business
factors, including the value of property, location and
transportation access, labor costs, opportunities for
expansion, local taxes and overall business climate.
Each of these issues can make or break the construction
of a major commercial, residential or industrial development.
Two other ingredients, however, that are absolutely
imperative to attracting development are the quality
and availability of the local workforce. Can developers
and owners be certain that their facilities can be constructed
on time and on budget? Is the local talent pool deep
enough to meet a demanding schedule? Is their a good
local work ethic in place?
Contrary to popular myth, an area that has a strong
union history such as exists in Western Pennsylvania
is not in itself a positive or a negative. Economic development
directors will be the first to say that developers and
owners don’t particularly care whether the local
workforce is represented or not. They just want to know
whether the workers are competent and in sufficient numbers
to get the job done.
That is why it is so important that members of the
area’s union building trades commit themselves
to their profession and to their fellow union workers.
Being properly trained and continuously educated on new
equipment, construction techniques and other technologies
are important parts of the equation. Showing up at a
worksite everyday on time and ready to put in a full
day’s work are equally critical.
Nothing will turn a developer or owner off faster than
an unreliable and unproductive workforce. While labor
rates are an important factor, value is more important.
That means doing the job right the first time, every
As executive director of the Builders Guild of Western
Pennsylvania, I am proud to promote the men and women
of the building trades and the contractors which employ
them. The training that goes into being a skilled union
craftsman is impressive and unmatched. It is largely
what sets our members apart from non-union workers.
But training alone is not enough to attract development
to this region. It takes a work ethic and a work record
of completing projects as envisioned and desired by owners
and developers. Nothing short of a competent, committed
work force which takes pride in their work will keep
union building trades’ workers employed and in