Labor union to build new HQ in Valpo
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent May 21, 2013 2:16PM
Updated: June 23, 2013 6:28AM
VALPARAISO — The local chapter of the Laborers’ International Union of North America plans to break ground for a new headquarters and training center within a month.
The 95,000-square-foot building for LIUNA Local 81 will go up at 3502 Enterprise Ave. after city approval of plans, and city officials seemed receptive at a very short Site Review Committee meeting Tuesday.
LIUNA has been at 253 S. Washington St. in Valparaiso since 1977, using the 112-year-old home to hold seven employees and sending members about four hours south to Bedford for training.
“We’d outgrown this building years ago, but we weren’t financially able to (move to a bigger place),” Business Manager Mike Campbell said.
The union chapter rents a Hobart bingo hall for monthly membership meetings and the Valparaiso American Legion hall next door for two other meetings.
“We’ve got no place to call our own, and the members deserve a home,” Campbell said.
The new building will house offices, meeting areas and training for its 1,500 members on current equipment for work at steel mills, on roads, on sewers and in a variety of labor work. It will be one of three such training areas in the state.
“We’ve got to keep our guys updated with all the certifications and OSHA regulations,” he said.
Besides the construction jobs, Campbell doesn’t see any more permanent full-time jobs coming out of the new building besides a trainer.
However, he thinks it will bring more opportunities to the area.
The union chose Valparaiso because of the city’s central location and wants to stay where it developed ties.
Campbell said that with the hands-on charity work with United Way, Valparaiso’s soap box derby, veterans’ organizations and others, “we’re a vital part of the community.”