“These former members are eager to return to the UA because they know firsthand what it’s like to work for a non-union contractor,” said UA General President Martin Maddaloni. “They have seen the poor working conditions, standard wages and meager benefits that predominate outside the union sector.”
According to the United Association, 40,000 pieces were sent out inviting past members — who were in good standing and did not owe fines — back to the organization. Despite the low percentage, the association considered the program a success and may reopen it, a spokeswoman said.
Maddaloni said that these newly-returned members realize “without the UA they will never have an opportunity to upgrade their skills, to make improvements in their productivity and to learn new techniques.”
The members who return under the amnesty program will have virtually all the rights and privileges that other UA members have, under the constitution that governs the operation of the union. They will return to full voting status one year after they rejoin under the amnesty program.
“The members returning to the UA were trained by us and should be part of our union,” said Thomas Patchell, who ran the day-to-day administration of the program.
Patchell said that the vast majority of the responses the UA received from former members was extremely positive.
The program was developed to bring back members who left the union during the economic recessions of the 1980s, when work in the construction industry sharply dropped off.
Most of the states with high response came from the East, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. California also had a high member response to the program.