Fincher estimates the union has agreements with perhaps 35 percent to 40 percent of the companies employing carpenters in his area, which includes Tipton, Howard, Grant, Miami, Cass, Fulton and Wabash counties. The goal for Local 615 is to get 70 percent of those companies signed on.
He’s also working on getting high school students interested in the trade, offering a route to an associate’s degree through Ivy Tech State College for anyone completing a four-year apprenticeship, which includes four courses through Ivy Tech, and the opportunity to learn while earning a living.
For companies, the union can offer kind of a built-in human resources function, where workers are vetted and trained before ever setting foot on a job site.
“I love to clear up misconceptions about the union,” Fincher said. “If a guy isn’t being productive on a job site, the contractor isn’t required to keep him.”
So far, the union has added four workers from a 2012 low, but Fincher said his goal is adding 50 more.
“We’re starting to come back up, and sign up new contractors,” Fincher said. “It’s not as much as we’d like to see, but if you can weather the storm we’ve had in these parts for the past four years, and be up four members, that’s not bad.”
Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569, email@example.com, or on Twitter, @JasonSSmith1.