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Season 5, Episode 98

Massachusetts building trades rely on apprentices to meet work demand



Guest Name:

Frank Callahan

Guest Website:


Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

Frank Callahan, President of the Massachusetts Building Trades Unions (MBTU), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the upcoming work generated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and what it means for the building trades in the state. Callahan also talked about improving diversity among members and what it was like working with former Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

There have been several good years of work in Massachusetts, and with federal funding coming into the state from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there seem to be more years of steady work for the state’s building trades members. To meet the labor demands, the MBTU is promoting the other “four-year degree,” as Callahan put it. These come through Apprenticeship Readiness Programs and the registered Apprenticeship Programs operated by affiliated unions. Callahan talked about the importance of including language that requires apprenticeship standards to bid on projects funded by the Infrastructure Law. 

Callahan also talked about their success in recruiting more women and minorities into the building trades apprenticeship programs. Currently, 88 percent of women and 80 percent of minority apprentices are enrolled in union apprenticeship programs. Ensuring there is intent to diversify the trades membership has been a large part of the MBTU’s success in recruiting and retaining women and minorities, he said.

Callahan also talked about his experience working with Former U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh before he was appointed to the Biden Cabinet and was still a state representative, representing Dorchester, Mass. Together, they were able to work on a lot of issues like promoting Project Labor Agreements and workplace safety programs. Callahan said they continued to work together to update Prevailing Wage laws and safety standards once Walsh became the Secretary of Labor.  

As MBTU President, Callahan serves 74 labor unions with over 75,000 skilled craftsmen and women. He comes from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 939 in Dorchester, Mass. Callahan was elected to his current position in 2007 and has helped establish a more successful path to the middle class with equal opportunities for all residents through the building trades.

For more information on the MBTU from Callahan, listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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