Entry-level and management jobs available at Unistress

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Interview with Becky Recker, director of human resources at Unistress Corp.

Company: Unistress Corp., founded in 1968, is one of two subsidiaries of Petricca Industries of Pittsfield, a third-generation family business whose origins date to 1936. Unistress, one of the Berkshires' largest employers, is the state's only manufacturer of prestressed concrete and one of only four companies in New England to offer that product. The company specializes in the design, production and construction of large-scale precast/prestressed concrete structures used in major highway bridges, power plant cooling systems, railway stations, microchip manufacturing facilities, stadiums and multilevel parking garages. Unistress has provided material for the Big Dig in Boston, the new Yankee Stadium in New York and the new Tappan Zee Bridge over New York's Hudson River.

Apply: Unistress has 12 open positions, according to Recker. They include associate manager, crew leaders and general laborers. Crew leader and general laborer are union positions; associate manager is not.

Duties: The associate manager leads supervisors and crew leaders to deliver on safety, quality and productivity targets for the production, inspection and shipping of precast and prestressed concrete products. The crew leader regularly supervises multiskilled workers in the finishing of precast concrete products. General or multiskilled laborers manufacture precast concrete products by preparing molds and casting products, setting rebar, and finishing and stripping products.

Pay: Unistress does not have preset pay ranges. General laborers make $14.76 per hour during their 90-day trial period, which increases to $19.59 per hour when they join the laborers' union after the trial period ends. Applicants for union labor positions are required to join Laborers International Union Local 473 of Pittsfield. Crew leader is a position that includes opportunities for advancement.

Qualifications: The qualifications for associate manager include a college degree or equivalent experience as well as experience in leadership and problem-solving in manufacturing. For general laborers, applicants should have either a high school diploma or an equivalent like a GED. One to three years of experience in carpentry, mechanical, manufacturing, production or labor-related experience is preferred, as are basic mathematical skills, and the ability to read, understand and comprehend documents like safety rules, operating instructions, simple drawings and procedure manuals.

Benefits: Union members receive a pension and an annuity. Crew leaders receive health insurance, and eye and dental care. Union dues are less than $10 per week after joining. Nonunion positions include medical, prescription and dental benefits; a 401(k) and employer-paid short-term and long-term disability.

Why you should work there: "This is a third-generation family business," Recker said. "We get the benefit of having a close family atmosphere, but also have the added benefit of having a corporate culture. We are forward thinking and offer many benefits a small family business don't typically offer."

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