Tips for Using the Mix 20/20 System
How to Use Mix 20/20 to Find Your Next Job
As any carpenter knows, it’s best to know your tools and their proper use. The UBC’s Mix 20/20 system is a tool that will serve you well if you know how to use it.
Mix 20/20 is a conduit between signatory contractors looking to fill positions and union members looking for work. But how does one properly use Mix 20/20? And how can you be sure to get a callback?
Direct from the Dispatch department, here are tips for using the system more efficiently to ensure you get the callback you need for your next job.
“My dispatch call hung up on me. What do I do?”
Depending on where you are when you receive the call, your cell service coverage can occasionally drop calls if the connection is weak. If this happens, call Dispatch at 800-953-6444 immediately to follow up. If it’s after business hours, you can call Dispatch at 206-947-0167.
Protip: Don’t answer calls on speakerphone, as the echo caused by it when entering your PIN can confuse the system.
“Can I get job calls via text instead?”
As of right now, Mix 20/20 doesn’t send out job calls via text. However, you can set up your phone to receive follow-up texts about accepted job information (such as the contractor’s name, and contact info). You can do so by updating your Mix 20/20 profile.
Once you have this set up, you can also have the system text you if you miss a call.
“I never get callbacks!”
To stay on the Out of Work List (OWL), you must call in every 14 days. If you don’t, then you’re dropped from the queue, and you’ll be placed at the bottom next time you call in.
Mix 20/20 will tell you your renewal date at the end of each check-in. When you first sign in Mix will assign you an Out of Work Date (OWD). This date represents the day when you first signed up and if you fail to call in you will drop off the list. You’ll know you have dropped off the list when you next call in, and the system gives you a new date.
Protip #1: You can have up to two “mulligans” or do-overs a year if you miss your call-in date. Just reach out to Dispatch to update them.
Protip #2: Since you must be on the OWL to receive unemployment benefits, you can call the Mix 20/20 system on the same day you file your weekly unemployment claim. Set a calendar reminder so you don’t lose your place in the queue!
Back in the day, union carpenters would travel to their local union hall to write their name in a large book. To expand their work area , carpenters might have to travel to another hall hours away to write their name on that hall’s out-of-work list.
A local union staff member would take requests from contractors, and spend the day reaching out to carpenters to fill positions. A phone call could take anywhere from two minutes to an hour. It could take a long time for a single person to call through a whole list to fill a job that needed 15 millwrights for a shutdown.
In recent years, consolidation of local unions has helped to pool resources and modernize operations.
“I’ve had a call for 50 millwrights fill within an hour,” says Rob Kader, the Lead Dispatcher of the Northwest Carpenters Union Dispatch Department. “I can build a call in 15 minutes and as soon as I hit ‘send,’ the system will send out the max number needed. In this case, 50 phone calls were sent out at once, and then, within 2 minutes, Mix 20/20 sent out another call based on how many we still needed. Mix is a very efficient system.”
Leveling the Playing Field
While the construction industry has sometimes lagged in bringing diversity to the job site, Mix 20/20 is a color- and gender-blind system that provides opportunities to groups who have not traditionally had easy access to them. The system matches jobs with skills and area criteria, ignoring the category of race and gender to instead match jobs with UBC members on the Out of Work List.
With the rise of Community Workforce Agreements and Project Labor Agreements (CWAs and PLAs, respectively), which require contractors to hire more minorities, Mix allows contractors to hire a percentage of women or people of color.
“We don’t keep track of their workforce, but if a contractor knows they need to fill that need, Mix 20/20 can send out calls specifically for people of color or women.” Kader notes, “We use the technique a lot for dispatching to projects under CWAs in the City of Seattle and King County. We can also pull members by zip code, as is required by these contracts. An overall goal of these CWAs is to not only increase participation in the trades of women and people of color but to put to work citizens who are living in the community that project is happening.”
“It’s been rewarding to see some of these big projects make the news. It certainly adds a human element to everything we do. It’s not just on paper. We see it affecting lives in the real world and that is inspiring to our team.”
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