Benefits of Open Shop

The end-user sees real benefits from employing open-shop:

  • End-users overwhelmingly prefer open-shop companies, according to a survey conducted by the National Constructors Association, a union employer group. The reasons cited were quality, flexibility, better control and a better attitude among workers. This survey is supported by a union study referenced by IBEW International President Edwin Hill, which found that "union craftsmen are perceived as expensive, entitled, inflexible, arrogant, protected and not customer oriented."
  • Lacking the burdensome staffing requirements of union construction, open-shop companies are able to deploy manpower more efficiently. Open-shop contractors also lack many of the "terms and conditions" provisions found in union construction. These terms and conditions, which include such things as "show up pay," add a a significant premium to the cost of union construction, at least 14-20 percent on public construction and a whopping 30-35 percent on private construction projects.
  • Open shop employees don't have to concern themselves with jurisdictional turf wars that their union counterparts are all too often engaged. This allows a complete focus on the customers needs, not worrying about whose job it is to carry and cut plywood.
  • A common misperception about open-shop companies is that they are all small, without the capability to do big projects. In truth, some of the biggest companies in the construction industry are open-shop.
  • Hourly union wages may sometimes be higher, but annual open-shop wages are competitive because open-shop companies are employers in the true sense, offering workers year-round employment. In addition, open shop companies provide health and life insurance as well as fringe benefits not enjoyed by their union colleagues, such as sick and vacation time, continuing professional education, professional advancement, profit-sharing, company vehicles and more.
  • Open-shop companies employ 80 percent of the construction workforce in Massachusetts - four out of five workers - according to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics as compiled on