Texas AFL-CIO and Bank of Labor Partnership Cultivates New Contractor

The Texas AFL-CIO was hesitant to sell, given its close proximity to the Texas State Capitol building and governor’s mansion in Austin. The location aided the state federation’s visibility fighting on behalf of social and economic justice for working families. But years of deferred maintenance had taken a heavy toll on the headquarters, and the organization was looking at a $3,000,000 investment. After careful consideration of multiple alternatives by the Texas AFL-CIO’s leadership and Board, the organization agreed to a complete interior retro-fit, providing that the project would be completed using 100 percent union labor.

“The bank helped facilitate the use of a Project Labor Agreement to convert a non-union contractor to union. The renovation was a success and created new man hours for many union trades beyond the completion of the PLA”

~ Joe Schoonover, First Vice President for Bank of Labor

The plan stalled until AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recommended Bank of Labor. The Bank offered guidance and helped determine financially viable funding strategies to meet the project’s objectives. “It’s a complex problem that we see every day, to consult and develop strategies where margin meets or exceeds the mission,” said Joe Schoonover, First Vice President for Bank of Labor. The first obstacle was to make certain the organization could afford the investment. The second obstacle was to identify union contractors to bid on the project in order to achieve the objective of 100 percent union labor. The size of the project, while big for the organization, does not meet the scale sought by most union contractors. Ultimately, the use of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), facilitated a competitive bidding process that created a viable construction budget. Through the PLA bidding process, G. Hyatt Construction Inc. was selected as General Contractor. 

“[Bank of Labor is] a true partner of Labor.”

~Rick Levy Texas AFL-CIO President

“We completed the job on time and within budget,” said G. Hyatt Construction President Justin Hyatt. “We realized the tremendous value and benefit of using highly trained and skilled union workers.” “You can’t put a price on visibility,” Schoonover adds. “Just as it has for the last 40 years, the building today stands as a symbol that working class Americans have a voice. In Texas that voice echoes’ loudest at 1106 Lavaca St. in Austin.” Bank of Labor takes pride in the process that made the renovation a success and created new man hours for many union trades beyond the completion of the PLA. “The Texas AFL-CIO is thankful to Bank of Labor in working with past Presidents, Becky Moeller and John Patrick and our team in helping us navigate through this challenging opportunity ,” said Rick Levy, Texas AFL-CIO President. “They are a true partner of Labor.”

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