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By Eastern District Vice President
William Waterkotte

The Eastern District's purpose is to help each regional council build capacity in their current staff while encouraging collaboration and communication across council boundaries. Our work is about amplifying the efforts of our councils for the greater good of our membership. That means making sure our training is meeting the needs of our employers and that each EST has access to the tools and resources they need to serve their members.


Our General President set the goal of achieving a 70% market share. In our area, the union share of the construction market varies significantly, and the regional councils are responsible for large geographical areas. That equates to more jobs to visit, more workers to educate, more bad contractors to fight - but it also means more opportunity. If we are going to rise to meet the General President's challenge, we can't rely solely on the old standards - we have to work smarter.


How do we do this? By building a constructive culture on the District level. Every month our office holds regular coordination calls with Training Directors, Organizing Directors, and Political Directors to share information in each of our goal areas. We set up working committees for specific topics to make sure progress is happening, and new concerns are considered in between calls. These committees also allow us to bring our employers to the table, so we're tackling shared problems together. Over time we have seen the collaborative process help us make better decisions, generate better solutions, expand our institutional knowledge base, and keep us all operating on the same page.


Though each Council has a responsibility to serve its members, everyone benefits overall when we operate together.  By creating District-wide agreements in the concrete polishing and trade show markets, we were able to give councils robust tools for winning more work hours in their markets. By standardizing training, we've provided a uniform workforce for our regional employers to gain more work. By utilizing shared marketing strategies and training for the UBC's Infection Control Risk Assessment (ICRA) Program, we are winning more work hours in hospital construction. By creating a constructive culture and working together, the councils in our district have become more responsive and readier than ever to meet the demands of our industry.


Most importantly, our members understand the value of working together to achieve a common goal, treat people with respect, and engage in clear communications. These values are the foundation of our success and will help propel us in the future.


Chuck Noll said, “I can’t tell you how much you gain, how much progress you can make by working together as a team, by helping one another. You get so much more done that way.”  He was right. We accomplish so much more together than we do as individuals. That is what being part of a union is all about.

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