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July 12, 2005 8:21 AM CDT

BAC Rides to the Rescue of Texas Mason Contractor

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BAC delivered training right to the jobsite for Amarillo's 70,700 SF, four-level, 1,300-seat performing arts center, scheduled for a fall debut. The Colorado sandstone building features a sweeping roofline and a retractable acoustic shell.
With high-profile projects on the books and a skilled manpower shortage, one of Texas' largest mason contractors turned for help to the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC). The collective bargaining agreement signed in April between BAC Local 5 Oklahoma/Arkansas/Texas and Brazos Masonry, Inc., of Waco, Texas, represents a turning point for the firm, which had operated 15 years without one.

"It was the best business decision I've ever made," says Mackie Bounds, CEO and Owner of Brazos Masonry. "I can't say enough about the quality of their work and their work ethic."

When Brazos turned to BAC for help recruiting and training workers for a performing arts center in Amarillo and a Texas Tech residence hall in Lubbock, the union rode to the rescue ? literally ? by dispatching its new Mobile Training Units to those job sites. The mobile units "turned unskilled workers into well-trained, highly skilled bricklayers," Bounds says. They also brought invaluable training and job skills to area residents of Amarillo and Lubbock that will outlast the projects.

The mobile units allow for in-class, state-of-the-art instruction on a full range of topics, including new materials, job site safety and journey-level upgrade courses. They complement BAC's existing network of local, regional and national training centers and programs, operated in partnership with the International Masonry Institute (IMI), its labor/management training and marketing arm. BAC represents 100,000 skilled masonry workers in the United States and Canada.

After Amarillo and Lubbock, the mobile training units will move throughout the region. Due to their initial success, BAC plans to launch more training units in the coming months.

"They are creating new opportunities for our members not only in Texas, but around the country," says BAC President John J. Flynn, who notes that the cooperative partnership "will expand work opportunities for Brazos Masonry" as well.

Ed Navarro, President of BAC Local 5 Oklahoma/Arkansas/Texas, with whom Brazos signed the labor agreement, adds that such training innovations benefit masonry in general.

"Training is the way we can keep our members competitive, and ensure that the art of masonry survives in this age of automation and new materials," Navarro says. He credits the commitment of Brazos Masonry for making the project a success.

Says BAC President Flynn, "We welcome Brazos Masonry's commitment to the labor-management process."


About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.

 

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