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Minnesota’s Construction Workers Grateful For Stimulus Money

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 13, 2009

Spring is coming to the Upper Midwest, and with it road construction season. Thanks to the stimulus package, lots of long-neglected road projects are going to be dealt with, providing jobs and money for tens of thousands of Minnesota workers:

The impact of the stimulus dollars?

“I’m hoping we’ll have everyone working,” said Glen Johnson, business manager of Local 49 of the Operating Engineers Union.

That means 13,000 people from one union alone will be collecting paychecks. Non-union operators also will be getting work, especially in Greater Minnesota regions where unions aren’t as strong. And unlike last summer, Johnson said, virtually everyone should be working full time, plus overtime.

“Most of our people were working last summer,”Johnson said, “but we had a lot of guys working four-day weeks so that everyone could have a job.”

Johnson is sensitive to the suggestion that operating engineers are being paid too much.

“I saw one report saying our guys make $50 an hour,” he said. “What they didn’t say is that most of our guys have nine months to work. They didn’t say that that $50 an hour includes all benefits. They didn’t say our guys get paid only if they work. If it’s raining and they can’t work, they don’t get paid.”

Johnson is a huge believer in the ripple effect of construction work.

“It’s said that every dollar spent on construction touches 10 hands,” he said. “… When our guys are working, the pavers are working. When we’re working, the people who make tires are working. And most of the money being spent is spent locally.”

This is excellent, excellent news. And this is just one chunk of the stimulus money allocation for just one state.

2 Responses to “Minnesota’s Construction Workers Grateful For Stimulus Money”

  1. joel hanes said

    Just the sort of thing that Pawlenty has made his career by opposing, yes?

  2. Egggszacktly, Joel. I’m hoping his poor showing in the CPAC poll — and his dropping approval numbers at home — may have finally convinced him not to destroy the state just so he has a shot at the Republican presidential nomination.

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