International Masonry Institute News

Union Training? No Contest

More than one hundred BAC apprentices are anxiously counting the days until September 28, when they get to show off their skills at the International Apprentice Contest.

Along with their considerable talents, what they are really showing off is the training system that got them this far. While most rookie employees learn on-the-job (i.e., trial and error), particularly in construction, apprentices with the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers invest years learning their craft and business, and BAC and IMI invest significant resources teaching them.

"The union approach enabled me to get proper training and to become a skilled craftworker," says regional contestant Mark Viscuso from Connecticut.

Most contests emphasize speed. This one, like the training behind it, is different. Combining hands-on and written tests, apprentices are judged on workmanship, production value, safety, and integrity of construction. "The only thing we have to sell is our professionalism, craftsmanship and good work ethic," noted Local 1 PA/DE President John Phillips, host of the northeast regional contest.

More than just a show of some talented newcomers, the contest "clearly demonstrates our Union's and our contractors' commitment to the future," says BAC President and IMI Co-Chair John J. Flynn.
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