9 unions pitch in $600,000 for new homebuyer bonus program

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Picking up on a successful homebuilding stimulus program started by McBride & Son Homes last year, a second stimulus program was launched this month with the help of nine construction unions. They are putting up $600,000 to help start a new program to kick-start local home construction. The program is the first-of-its-kind-in-America.[frame src="https://labortribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/new-construction-versus-existing-construction.jpeg" width="250" height="150" align="left" style="2"]This second “Neighborhoods Built By Your Neighbors” program will provide new home buyers with $2,000 to $10,000 cash for use at closing at for whatever the buyer wants to use it for. It can be used for upgrades such as a brick front or different flooring, additional down payments, interest rate reduction, a finished basement, etc.The new program - the St. Louis Union Homebuilding Partnership – is available at the new home communities of eight homebuilders in the St. Louis area only; Southern Illinois is not included at this time. The program runs through February.

Early projections are that 120 new homes will be sold creating over 175,000 hours of work for the nine trades, “Work that is certainly needed,” said John O’Mara, business manager of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. “This is another innovative program on behalf of the builders; all the unions are proud to be able to help create work for our members while providing a great incentive to people looking for help in buying a new home.”

Participating are:

Unions – Bricklayers Local 1, Cement Masons Local 527, Electrical Workers Local 1, Laborers, Operating Engineers 513, Painters District Council 2, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, Sheet Metal Workers 36, and the Carpenters’ District Council. Each union will contribute funds into the pool based on the number of hours each has in building a new home.

Builders - McBride & Son Homes, Centrex Homes, Pulte Homes, Fischer & Frichtel, Consort Homes, McKelvey Homes, Payne Family Homes, and Bridgewater Communities.

“This program is a testament to the relationship between St. Louis’ leading home builders and our trade union partners,” said John Eilermann Jr., McBride chairman and CEO. “And most importantly, it shows an innovative way to stimulate our local economy and get people working again by working together.”

 MARKETING MUSCLE

The homebuilders will provide $65,000 to market the program. Allocations for builder’s use of the $600,000 stimulus money will be based on their market share of new home closings last year. The lion’s share of the stimulus dollars will be available to McBride & Son who, as the area’s largest union homebuilder, had the most closings last year (668).

“With home buying interest rates at historic lows, this kind of incentive can be just the right nudge to get buyers back into the market again,” added David Zimmermann, business manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 36. “It will help our members greatly.”

The “nudge” worked extremely well last August and September when McBride & Son Homes and the nine unions launched the first $1 million incentive program. During that 60 - day period, 221 new homes were sold creating some 330,000 hours of work. Normally the firm would sell only 150 homes during that time period.

LAWMAKERS TAKE NOTE

 “Our legislators in Jefferson City should take note of this effort by the construction unions and our contractors,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer, St. Louis Building Trades Council. “While legislators are trying to cripple our unions with a host of anti-worker laws being debated right now, they can’t see the forest for the trees: here is yet another example of how our unions are a vital part of our community, something they either refuse, or simply don’t want to understand or appreciate. Cripple our unions and you cripple the working families of Missouri as well as our state’s economy.”

NEIGHBORS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

“The program is not about federal government handouts or bailouts,” said John Fischer, CEO of Fischer & Frichtel Homes. “This is about neighbors coming together to make a difference. That reality is when union trades people are working they are buying other goods and services and the economy grows.”

Jim Brennan, president, McKelvey Homes, said this “is really an amazing deal for buyers. It’s like the federal stimulus package only better.”

Ken Kruse, president, Payne Family Homes complimented the unions on their commitment of $600,000, saying they are “Putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to stimulating the economy.”

The bonuses are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

More information is available at www.stlunionbuilders.com

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