MIL-OSI USA: Western States inks historic agreement

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Source: US International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

Western States Boilermakers will see a total wage increase of more than $14 an hour through a new three-year contract secured with contractors in late September. The new Western States Articles of Agreement not only compensates for the losses felt by hard-working Boilermakers due to cost-of-living increases; it strengthens the union’s position as the most employable workforce and ensures a pathway to increase man-hours.

“Bright days are ahead for Boilermakers,” said IVP-Western States J. Tom Baca. “With the increase in demand for our craft comes a strong increase in hourly wages, along with a historic tube welder pay premium totaling 8% over journeyman wages.”

Baca pointed to legislative victories like HB 1817, SB 54, the Inflation Reduction Act, and now SB 740 for putting Boilermakers in the best position to reap the rewards of not only oil, gas, coal and chemical, but also through the green energy transition at hand with hydrogen, carbon capture, small nuclear reactors, nuclear, biofuels and other sustainable green projects that will bring energy transition to industrial scale.

The agreement calls for wage increases to total over $8 per hour in the Western States’ inland states and more than $14 per hour on the West Coast over the next three years.

“With these increases, being a Boilermaker means enjoying the wages union members deserve to support their families—a living wage,” Baca said.

Of note, per diem increases incrementally through the contract over the next three years as follows:

Effective Date Job sites more than 70 miles and less than 120 miles from dispatch point Job sites over 120 miles from dispatch point

Jan. 1, 2024

$85/day

$100/day

Jan. 1, 2025

$95/day

$110/day

Jan. 1, 2026

$105/day

$120/day

Also, in the new contract, Boilermakers agreed to implement “Readiness to Work”—new training protocols designed to put Boilermakers on the job faster and more efficiently.

“Put plainly, no one else in the construction industry is doing this,” said Ed McWhorter, Western States Contractor Chairman. “Job readiness will establish the Boilermakers as the leading craft for supplying manpower that can get on the job site without unnecessary delay.

“Further, this program demonstrates the Boilermakers’ willingness to listen to our owners, adopt changes and double down on efficiencies to ensure Boilermakers are meeting the ever-changing demands in the construction industry. In short, the Readiness to Work program will put the Boilermakers ahead of the competition and make them the most employable craft out of any of their peers, getting more Boilermaker men and women the opportunity to go to work.”

Johnny Baca, who led the Western States Negotiating Committee in working on the agreement said that the Boilermakers’ strong understanding of contractor issues was key to the contract’s successful outcome.

“We will always make sure the Boilermakers remain the most employable craft in the nation, ensuring we’re ready to work and provide quality results,” he said.

“As our work picks up in the new industrial clean energy sector, we expect the demand for Boilermakers to steadily increase,” he added. “The nature of our work is always cyclical; but when we have the work, we will look forward to continuing to negotiate further increases that our membership has earned with their hard work in 2026 and beyond.”

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