In the 1880s, skilled building trades workers began to form local unions to protect their work and improve their standard of living. It soon became obvious that there was a need for an organization that would bring all of the trades together, not only to build strength, but to create harmony among the trades. At times, many of the trades were fighting for jurisdiction for the same work, and in some cases, different groups formed local union offices for the same craft in the same city.
Over a 30-year span, several organizations tried to bring the trades together under one umbrella, but it was not until 1908 that the American Federation of Labor achieved that goal, creating the Building and Construction Trades Department and establishing authority over the building trades and the ability to issue charters to local building trades councils. This organization is still operating today and celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.
The West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council (WCIBCTC) was chartered in 1935, and then, jurisdiction covered only Peoria and Tazewell counties. Today, it is an alliance of 15 craft unions that work together to improve relationships and create harmony among its member organizations. The WCIBCTC strives to improve the quality of life and job opportunities for over 15,000 members throughout a 13-county area in west-central Illinois. Today, we service Adams, Brown, Fulton, Hancock, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, Peoria, Pike, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell and Woodford counties.
The WCIBCTC belongs to the National Building Trades Department, based in Washington, DC. This council is one of 317 in the United States and one of 20 in Illinois. It represents 3.5 million members nationally, with over 245,000 members in the state. It is run by a group of individuals representing the 15 craft unions and is financed through a check-off from affiliated union members. The officers of the council are elected positions, with each officer serving a term of four years.
The WCIBCTC offers construction users one-stop assistance when choosing contractors for their projects in the West Central Illinois Building Trades region. We can help them obtain the expertise needed to complete their projects on time and within budget.
The Council is affiliated and active with various organizations in the community, including area chambers of commerce, economic development councils, The Heartland Partnership, the Heart of Illinois Regional Port District, Heart of Illinois United Way, Peoria Civic Center and the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, just to name a few. Many of our affiliated members serve on boards within these organizations.
The contractors and unions of West Central Illinois enjoy an outstanding cooperative relationship implemented through such labor-management groups as: TRICON (Tri-County Construction Labor-Management Council), PALM (Peoria Area Labor Management Council), NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association), SMACNA (Sheet Metal Air Conditioning National Contractors Association), MIMCA (Mid-Illinois Mechanical Contractors Association) and others. The cooperative effort fosters improvement and cooperation in areas such as productivity, job safety, quality, training, customer satisfaction and countless other important challenges facing the construction industry. iBi