Carpentry Union deal with city could triple membership

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A major union in Detroit is about to see its membership triple as a result of a new agreement with the city.

Mike Jackson of the Michigan Regional council of Carpentry and Millwrights says, "Because of the tech and skills required you need a four year program if you are going to get a job."

The Carpentry Union training facility in Ferndale is making sure workers are literally building Detroits comeback by calling Detroit home.

"I just see a major comeback. and that's why I'm proud to be a carpenter," said apprentice Johnnie Mahaffey.

"Detroit has always been known as the Motor City but now it's more of a skilled trade city." said apprentice Sabionne Agee.

Jackson explained how the partnership between the city of Detroit and the carpentry union works.

"What we've agreed to is that 25% of each class and the classes start quarterly, will be Detroit residents."
Portia Robinson of the City of Detroit Civil Rights Inclusion and Opportunities said, "Contractors who are using these locals will not have the non-compliance fees that my office is charged with assessing on those development projects."

Over the past year and a half the city has collected more than $1 million dollars in non-compliance fees. 

Large projects like the new Little Caesars arena and other commercial endeavors in the city have been hit with the fine, but  according to the city the money collected goes back into the workforce

"It actually goes to make sure Detroiters are trained properly for the jobs that are coming up," said Robinson.

In the end it is the trained workforce that truly comes out on top.

"I'm just excited about my future and where it's going to go from here," said Mahaffey.

Trained workers in the industry average $28 to $32 dollars-an-hour.

The training is currently being done in Ferndale, but the Union plans to expand with new facilities. Locations could include Downtown Detroit, North of Detroit and another on the west side of the state.