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How About This One: Washington State Business Owner’ Calls The Union,’ Says “We Want In!”

Published Thursday, November 21, 2019
by Don McIntosh/NWLabor
How About This One: Washington State Business Owner’ Calls The Union,’ Says “We Want In!”

NWLaborPress Editor’s Note: Hamer Electric Co-Owner Kyle Cole (pictured on the right) brought his Employees into the Union and signed on with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48.  IBEW Business Manager Garth Bachman is pictured on the left with Bachman and IBEW Reps Randy Davis, Mike Bridges and Scott Zadow, and Tim Gauthier of the Union Electrical Employer Group, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).


(LONGVIEW, WASHINGTON) - It’s not every day an employer calls a Union to talk about signing up - but that’s what happened at Hamer Electric in Longview and now, both the company’s owners and the Union Officers of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48 are celebrating a combination they believe will make both sides stronger.

Brothers Kyle and Cory Cole have been co-owners since 2017, when they bought the business their grandfather founded in 1971 from their father and uncles.

Company President Kyle Cole told the NW Labor Press that becoming a Union-Signatory Contractor makes good business sense.

Access to the Union Hiring Hall means Hamer can scale up and take on larger projects.

And, being Union gives Hamer opportunities to bid on big upcoming projects where developers have signed Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), such as NW Innovation Works’ proposed $2 billion Methanol Plant in Kalama.

“We ‘also wanted to offer our guys the best there was in benefits,’” Cole said. “And ‘we felt like the Union’s Training Center was state of the art.’”

Hamer specializes in electrical work for heavy industry like pulp and paper mills, water treatment plants and manufacturing facilities, but has also done commercial and health care industry work.

“They’re in a ‘strategic location that will really help increase Union Market Share’ in industrial work in the Longview-Kalama area,” IBEW Local 48 Business Manager Garth Bachman said. “We’re ‘excited to have them on board and help them grow.’”

Mike Bridges, IBEW Local 48’s Representative in Longview, said Hamer already had a reputation as a good employer, with compensation close to the Union Scale.

Twenty Hamer Employees – more than three-fourths of the existing workforce - made the transition and are now Local 48 Members.

The owners signed on October 18th, Employees signed up on October 25th and terms and conditions took effect on November 1st.

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