L.A.-Area Construction Wages Tanked as Industry Went From Largely Unionized, White to Mostly Nonunion, Immigrant

Eddie Ybarra and Francisco Martinez, both in their 40s, work side by side building the walls of two of the newest condo buildings in downtown Los Angeles. They drive pickup trucks to work, park in adjacent lots and both take their lunch break around 10 a.m. That’s about all they share.

(Credit: Los Angeles Times Graphics)

Ybarra, born in Los Angeles, has built a solidly middle-class lifestyle on more than two decades in the carpenters’ union, earning $40 an hour on top of a pension, healthcare and unlimited vacation days.

Martinez, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, works for a nonunion contractor, installing metal panels and other parts for $27.50 an hour. He doesn’t have retirement savings, his insurance doesn’t cover his family and he gets five vacation days per year.

The story of these two men illustrates the radical shift that has put construction front and center in the national debate over declining blue-collar jobs and President Trump’s views of immigration.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.