$2,000 – $10,000 for first-time, upgrading buyers to get their dream home
By ED FINKELSTEIN
For the 11th year, St. Louis construction unions are ready to make the American dream of homeownership come true for new and upgrading buyers with the renewal of the unique program that will provide $2,000 to $10,000 in cash incentives.
Eight construction unions and three area home builders are participating in the nationally-recognized unique jointly organized “Neighborhoods Build By Your Neighbors” program pooling $1,080,000 to help Missouri homebuyers to be used at closing for anything the homeowner desires, including major upgrades like finishing a basement, a brick front, different flooring, etc. The specific incentive amount is based on the home’s final cost.
This unique program runs through Feb. 29 and features:
- Cash incentives ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to be used at closing for anything the homeowner desires. The specific incentive amount is based on the home’s final cost.
- Cash can also be used to reduce an interest rate, or cover closing costs.
- 100 percent union-built homes, no exceptions.
- Availability in only the Missouri communities of the three participating homebuilders.
- First come, first served until the funds are exhausted.
- A commitment by participating homebuilders that they will ensure all work on all their homes is 100 percent union for a full year. In the past a participating builder, on rare occasion, had used a non-union subcontractor after the incentive program had ended.
Participating unions are International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 in conjunction with the Electrical Connection, SMART Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, Cement Masons Local 527, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council, Painters District Council 58, Operating Engineers Local 513, and the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council.
Participating homebuilders are Fischer & Frichtel, McBride Homes and McKelvey Homes. The builders have committed an additional $108,000 to market the program over and above their normal marketing dollars.
‘WIN-WIN FOR EVERYONE
“Starting its 11th year, the Union Stimulus program has been a huge success story for everyone involved, said John O’Mara, business manager, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562.
“Knowing that the residential homebuilding market has chosen to use contractors who believe in true apprenticeship programs, Local 562 has had the opportunity to start many new members in the plumbing sector of the industry. Educating and developing new talent is what this industry needs. Local 562 would like to thank the members who have proven that union craftsmen and women are the reason homeowners can purchase quality homes at an affordable price. We are proud to be a part of this program.”
“This is a great opportunity for consumers thinking about purchasing their first home or for existing homeowners looking to upgrade,” said Ray Reasons, president/business manager of Sheet Metal Workers (SMART) Local 36.
“This program provides substantial extra value for their purchasing dollar,” Reasons said, adding, “We’re excited to be a part of this unified union effort.”
MEMBERS, CONSUMERS BENEFIT
“It’s part of our union’s ongoing efforts in conjunction with signatory contractors, working through our Electrical Connection, to not only ensuring work for our members and contractors but at the same time providing a great deal on a solid union built home for consumers,” said Frank Jacobs, business manager, Electrical Workers Local 1. “No one else in the U.S. does this.”
QUALITY BUILT HOMES
Brandon Flinn, business manager, Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and Laborers Local 42, “First and foremost, union-built homes are quality built homes, so the homebuyer is getting a solid product for what is one of their largest life-time purchases. That’s important to the consumers we serve.”
IMPORTANT TO UNION TRADESPEOPLE
“This is important to all union tradespeople because it creates more jobs and that means ongoing paychecks for the family,” said Al Bond, executive secretary treasurer of the St. Louis- Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council.
“Based on an average incentive of $5,000, estimates are that the program will build 220 additional homes which will provide 329,000 manhours of work for all trades; that’s the equivalent of 175 full-time union jobs for a full year,” he said.
Gregg Smith, business manager, Painters District Council 58, pointed out that “Over the program’s inception eleven years ago, it’s estimated that it has created 3.3 million man-hours of work for union workers; add this year’s potential and it brings total man-hours to nearly four million.”
“This is one of the most unique construction programs in the country, if not the only one of its kind,” said Tim Sappington, president- business manager Operating Engineers Local 513. “It’s a testament to the attitude and cooperative spirit between our unions and our contractors.”
“This is a classic example of how our unions’ work together to not only benefit our members — our prime responsibility — but the greater community and our region’s overall economy,” said Kurt Dierkes, business manager, Cement Masons Local 527. “It’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone.”
“This program is a testament to the relationship between St. Louis’ leading home builders and its union partners,” said John F. Eilermann Jr., chairman and CEO, McBride Homes.
“Most importantly,” Eilermann said, “It shows that working together is the best way to stimulate our local economy and get experienced, talented trades men and women back to work doing what they do best, building quality homes, fulfilling our program’s theme, ‘Working Together to Keep St. Louis Working.’”
“This program is about neighbors coming together to make a difference,” he said. “That fact is when Union trades people are working they are buying other goods and services and the economy grows.”
INCENTIVES IN ADDITION TO BUILDERS’ BEST DEAL
“This is real cash for use at closing and it’s in addition to St. Louis Union Homebuilding Partnership builders’ best deal,” said Jim Brennan, president, McKelvey Homes. “It’s really an amazing deal for buyers.”
“Our local unions are truly putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to keeping people working,” said John Fischer, Fischer & Frichtel Homes. “They have committed over $1 million for use at closing to home buyers. That really says a lot.”
(For details or go to stlunionhomebuilders.com.)
Memo to Jefferson City lawmakers
Unions re-invest in community, stimulate local economies
As Missouri legislators consider new bills to strangle and kill unions, a number targeted at the building trades, they completely overlook programs like Neighborhoods Built By Your Neighbors where unions are re-investing in communities throughout the state to build local economies. This is only one of many such efforts across the state.
One such example: Last year, a Labor Tribune survey showed that St. Louis area unions donated over $1.9 million in free work and volunteer services to 422 charities, churches, civic groups, schools and non-profits. In the past seven years of our survey, that was over $13.2 million in free services and dollars donated.
“The efforts of legislators in Jefferson City to try once again to destroy our unions is hurting their own constituents, many of whom are the beneficiaries of the volunteer services our unions provide, but they don’t care,” said John Stiffler, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building Trades Council.
And why don’t they care? “Because their business funders, out-of-state interests and dark money groups are pouring millions into their re-election campaigns to keep them compliant,” added Pat White, St. Louis Labor Council president.
“Day in and day out a union is helping someone, some group in their communities, but some legislators can’t see the forest for the trees,” Stiffler added.
“Cripple our unions and you cripple ALL the working families of Missouri and our state’s economy,” White added.