The Union Advocate’s annual Buy Union edition comes out each year in June, when we celebrate the work union members across the Twin Cities do by encouraging consumers to buy the products union members make and the services they provide.
Whether you’re dining out at a restaurant, remodeling your home, planning a summer vacation or shopping for a new car, the union advantage is real. When you buy union, you support good jobs with good benefits – the kinds of jobs that keep our communities strong. You also can count on union workers to take pride in their craft and to do the job right the first time.
We hope the following directory of websites and other resources serves as a useful start for Twin Cities consumers looking to buy union. Notice something we’ve forgotten? Leave a comment, and we’ll make sure to include it in next year’s guide.
• VEHICLES: Find a list of cars, trucks and vans made by union members in the United States (United Auto Workers) and Canada (Canadian Auto workers on the UAW website.
• SERVICE: Machinists District 77 maintains a list of Twin Cities car dealerships and shops where its members work.
• TIRES: Looking for American-made tires? The Department of Transportation requires all tires sold in the U.S. carry a 13-symbol code showing the company and plant that made the tire. The code for all U.S.-made tires will begin with “DOT.” The two symbols following DOT indicate the plant where the tire was produced. The United Steelworkers maintain a list of union plants.
• The AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department maintains a list of active boycotts. The list currently includes Palermo’s Pizza and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Also, be sure to click on the “Do Buy” link for regular updates about union-made products.
By hiring union, homeowners can be confident that they are hiring “legitimate contractors who pay their employees fair wages, benefits and taxes,” and that the workers are “doing the job right, in the right way,” said Harry Melander, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council.
The easiest way to find a union-accredited contractor is by contacting the relevant union and asking the union to suggest one. All unions have easy-to-find websites that list e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. Some websites maintain contractor lists.
- Bricklayers & Allied Crafts
- North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
- Cement Masons Local 633
- Electrical Workers
- Painters & Allied Trades
- Plumbing, heating, air conditioning
- Roofers Local 96
• TWIN CITIES: UNITE HERE Local 17 has contracts with more than 50 hotel, restaurant and catering properties throughout the Twin Cities and the surrounding suburbs. Workers in these properties “make a livable wage, are treated with respect and have benefits,” union president Nancy Goldman said. The local maintains a list of properties on its website.
• NATIONWIDE: Travelers looking to stay in a union hotel can find a list of union properties in cities nationwide. The site also includes a list of boycotted hotels and hotels facing labor disputes.
• THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT: UNITE HERE recently developed an iPhone application for finding the union hotel nearest you. Search the iPhone App Store for “UNITE HERE” and download it for free!
• CLOTHING: Union House in Wyoming, Minn., is the Metro Area’s only shop committed to selling American- and union-made goods
- Where: 26787 Forest Blvd., Wyoming, Minn.
- Phone: 6510462-7710
- Hours: M-F 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Website: unionlabel.com
• GROCERY: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189 represents retail meat and grocery workers across the East Metro, including workers at many Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods and SuperValu stores. Find a list of union shops here.