Huntington, WV. – On Friday, Coalfield Development’s leadership and employees followed through on an agreement years in the making. The Wayne County based non-profit joined the Carpenters Local 439, an umbrella union of the national Carpenter’s Union.
Carpenters Council Representative Jeremy Jeffers said, “Carpenters Local 439 is extremely excited about the new addition to a long-time partnership with Coalfield-Development. Coalfield is a great organization doing great things for the community, and we are honored to partner with them to provide training and good paying jobs with benefits for their team.”
The Carpenter’s Union is more than 520,000 highly skilled men and women throughout the building-trades industries. The UBC represents and offers training to North America’s union carpenters, cabinetmakers, millwrights, piledrivers, lathers, framers, floorlayers, roofers, drywallers, and workers in forest-products and related industries.
Brandon Dennison, founder, and CEO of Coalfield Development applauded the move.
“Our organization exists to diversify the region’s economy and create pathways to good paying careers for people who face barriers to employment. This partnership with the Carpenters is something we’ve been working for a long time. I’m so happy these discussions have culminated with a formal agreement and with the opportunity for our workers to become union workers. The new Appalachian economy can’t just be about any kind of jobs, it needs to be about good paying jobs with benefits. This new agreement ensures we’ll do our part to that end,” Dennison said.
According to West Virginia Joint Apprenticeship Program (WVJAP), the apprenticeship program, which Coalfield will be a part of, is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation.
Apprentices will earn wages as they learn. The pay scale for apprentices is based on wages of a “journeyman” (workers who have completed the program) and may start at about 35% to 50% of the Journeyman rate. Apprentices receive pay increases as they advance through the program. Additionally, there are fringe benefits, such as vacation, health, and pension plans.
“I think it’s particularly important to strengthen unions here in West Virginia. Our state has been at the vanguard of historic organizing efforts for generations. From the Mine Wars, to Teachers, to Factories, to Hospitals our people have fought hard for the respect, dignity, and justice unions offer working people. We’re proud to play our part in this proud tradition,” Dennison added.
Coalfield Development is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization headquartered in Wayne, West Virginia focusing on rebuilding the Appalachian economy through social enterprise creation, job training, and community-based real-estate development.