Landscaping Unions?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lawn Wizard, Jul 31, 2001.

  1. Lawn Wizard

    Lawn Wizard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I was wondering if anyone here has heard of a union for landscapers or lawncare workers? Or does any owner run a union shop?
  2. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Lawn Wizzard,

    I am in a Union for my PT job. I work for a Supermarket. Everything is just great. However, on a whole, the "Landscaping Workers" get paid very well (IMHO) and often don't need or want bennys. 90% of those who would want a Union aren't even US citizens! Unions work in certain work areas, I don't think Landscaping is one of them. Granted, there are a few big Landscaping companies out there that are Union, and they get the "BIG" Union-Only jobs, but for the most part it is a right to work job. Meaning that there are more workers available then there are jobs.
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    In NYS we call union shops a Labor Union today. Back in the 50's they called them the Mafia. :cool:

  4. Lawn Wizard

    Lawn Wizard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    I am seeking information on the topic of Lanscaping/Lawncare unions regarding if there is such a thing and if anyone has information about it, not peoples opinions on the subject
    Thank you.
  5. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    BTW, the Mafia is very much a part of todays Labor Unions. The 1970's were the heyday of Unions, not the '50's. Some Unions are still very powerful, while most are just hanging on by threads. I belong to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Every Supermarket (there are a lot more than you think) that is Union belongs to this union. My dues are $11 per week, but they fight tooth and nail for our bennys and wages everytime a contract comes up.

    I feel that, as a business owner, (as most here are) a Strong Landscapers Union would seriously harm our bottom line. I'm on both sides of the fence on this subject. I've seen many a good company go under due to organized labor Unions.

    Lawn Wizzard,

    Why would you want info on a Landscapers Union? Are your workers threatning you with going Union? As a business owner, you may as well shoot yourself in the foot, then let your employees join a labor Union. Do a search on and check to see how many Landscape Unions there are.

  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Thom are you affiliated with WAWA or TURKEY HILL???

    I too believe that these strong holds that can be put upon those of a union or forcefully implemented are of no beneficial value to those who belong to these organizations.

    I have seen many many sites shut down because a non-union company is doing the work that unions could be doing. Im not familiar with the logistics but I know that it seems to be a mixed site more often than not of union shops and non-union laborers.
  7. Lawn Wizard

    Lawn Wizard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Im an owner/operator I was wondering about a union for the fact that when I do need to hire people I would like trained quality people that many trade unions provide. Also I think it would strengthen the professionals out there by putting pressure on all the scrubs just like the plumbers or electricians or laborers. I think it would be great to have a union maintained lawn its a sign of quality.

    I have no problem payin workers a fair wage for the work performed but as you stated most lawnscaping workers are well payed so what would be the difference cost wise? I guess I have a different out look on being the "boss"

    As for the union you belong to The SEIU (United Food and Commercial Workers Union) is an industrial union which is a bit different than a trade union.

    Hows this for a Slogan: Lawn Wizard "Nature Made, Union Maintained" I like it!:p
  8. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Lawn Wizard,

    A few thoughts on a union and landscape/lawn service.

    First off, a union does not garantee that you will have a quality labor pool. What they usually garantee is that you will have qualified workers. There is a difference.

    Second, where would you get enough American workers who are willing to work for the low wages that LCOs usually pay? One of the goals of American unions is to protect American jobs and that means not hiring forgein workers. A huge portion of the present LCO labor force is forgein workers, often illegal ones.

    Third is related to second. The bigger companies that post here on Lawnsite report that their profit margins are already low. In the 10 to 15 percent range. If you unionize one of these companies where are they going to find the money to be union? It's not cheap. Besides the fact that union workers are often paid considerably more than their non-union counterparts they also have benny packages that would cost far above what little money larger LCOs are making.

    Your answer to 2 and 3 above is that LCOs will have to raise their rates but that won't accomplish one of your goals of raising the bar for scrubs. Raising rates would actually make it easier for scrubs/low ballers to find work. As long as anybody with a mower can start a LCO and KMart sells riding tractors for $800.00 the rates cannot go up but a given amount and I don't think it would be enough to cover costs.
  9. cos

    cos LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,253

    When I took a couple of courses at Penn State he said that California had quite a few Union Landscape businesses. That was the only way they could secure a few of the big contracts.
  10. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Leave the mafia out of this. We don't even exist!:mad:

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