Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. In response, SMART issued the following statement.

“SMART applauds the work of the United States House and Senate for pushing this vital piece of legislation across the line for working families across our country. The Inflation Reduction Act will combat rising prices, cut the cost of healthcare for working Americans and invest billions of dollars into clean energy facilities and making homes and commercial buildings energy efficient. Importantly, the strong labor standards attached to the tax credits for production, energy efficiency and investment will help create good, union jobs – and SMART members are the workers with the skills and expertise to take on those jobs, from retrofitting schools to building green energy facilities. Our members are ready to meet the demands of this bill and will play a crucial role in solving the climate crisis.”

Today, President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act, codifying legislation that will strengthen America’s ability to build, expand and modernize semiconductor facilities. In response, SMART released the following statement.  

“We commend President Biden for taking swift action and signing the CHIPS and Science Act into law. Not only will the CHIPS and Science Act invest billions of dollars into the semiconductor industry – expanding our national capacity to develop chips and incentivizing companies to increase production – it will mandate that manufacturing to happen in America, and it will support good-paying, union construction jobs by requiring Davis-Bacon prevailing wage rates for facilities built with CHIPS funding. Companies are already responding to the passage of this legislation by making historic investments in American semiconductor manufacturing. SMART members are uniquely qualified to take on this work, and we look forward to taking on that responsibility.”  

The International Training Institute’s (ITI) Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality curriculum took another step forward this year when the ITI hosted eight JATC instructors at its first train-the-trainer course at Local 359 in Phoenix. It was the second component of the training — the first half was held remotely.

Ventilation verification is a physical assessment of an existing commercial HVAC system completed by a skilled, trained and certified technician. The result is a report that design professionals can rely on when recommending adjustments, repairs, upgrades or replacements. School districts and building owners can then make educated decisions on the verification or recommended improvements to their building indoor air quality — from virus and biologic mitigation to carbon dioxide level control.

The Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality curriculum provides a basic heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) foundation in addition to sample forms and hands-on skill assessments. It was designed to be customizable by a given JATC to meet a student’s or class’s level of experience and expertise. For the instructors learning the curriculum, once they have the overall picture of the training material and curriculum, they can tailor it to each level of training required.

“If a JATC has experienced HVAC, TAB or service instructors, they can offer this curriculum immediately — even if they do not have an installed TAB lab. The HVAC equipment that runs the building of the training center may work for demonstrations or practice,” said Pat Pico, one of the framers of the curriculum and a member of the Testing, Adjusting and Balancing Bureau (TABB) Hall of Fame.

While the instructor class is delivered partially online, the hands-on, in-person component of the class provides the most benefits because instructors can “get [their] hands on the instruments and equipment and build that muscle memory,” added Pico, who is also the training coordinator and TABB supervisor for Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 and the Bay Area Training Fund.

Although the initial planning for the curriculum began long before the pandemic — as a means to address improper ventilation and increased levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms — it came together while the world was still reeling from the impacts of COVID-19. Development of this new curriculum began at the end of 2020, and the first virtual pilot course went live in May 2021 — a rapid turnaround under normal circumstances.

“We were able to respond quickly because we had subject-matter experts already in place and familiar with ITI’s process of curriculum development,” Pico said. “With this curriculum, we can show any federal, state or local government entities that we have the resources and ability to train people to get the work done properly.”

At Local 104 in Northern California, where Pico is a TAB and HVAC instructor, every apprentice receives HVAC fundamentals and basic TAB skills as part of their overall training. If a member has received an education that focused on HVAC fabrication and installation, this curriculum can add skills and knowledge to keep them prepared for the opportunities in ventilation verification assessment — even if those opportunities have yet to hit their corner of the country.

“The curriculum can make our members better sheet metal workers by adding skills and knowledge that helps explain HVAC system functionality,” Pico said. “Now, sheet metal workers have the tools to recognize potential design mistakes before fabrication and installation and can reduce potential errors in ductwork installation. They can recognize how a system is supposed to operate and function. They ask key questions, so the work is done right the first time. We sell that quality, so we can be the best in the industry.”

Additional classes are scheduled throughout the year for training centers that want to get into the game.

“We’re hopeful end-users see the success of ventilation verification assessments and it leads to more opportunities for our contractors and our members, as well as to a healthy building environment for occupants,” Pico said. “If you need an instructor to take this curriculum and bring the knowledge back to their locals and training centers, send them to this valuable class.”

Click here to check the ITI’s course catalog for the next Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality train-the-trainer course.

Do you have dreams of starting your own service business? Or do you have an existing sheet metal business that you’d like to add a service department to? If so, the International Training Institute (ITI) Service Academy is for you.

The ITI launched its new Service Academy in April, aimed at supporting union sheet metal workers who want to become service contractors signatory to SMART, as well as existing signatory contractors looking to add a service arm to their business. The academy features a series of courses designed to teach SMART members the fundamentals of business ownership and help them decide whether or not to start a business.

Beginning with the ITI Business Development course, participants are introduced to the tools they need to plan for successful business ownership, including choosing a business name, hiring and retaining the right people, bidding accurately, keeping track of cash flow and more. The Business Development course also gives participants a jump-start on writing a comprehensive business plan and examines strategies for marketing and financing a new business in today’s construction and service markets.

Once they have completed Business Development, participants can choose from various courses in the Service Academy’s pathway, addressing the needs of members at all stages in their careers.

For example, the Basic Service Technician Training course is designed for those who have gained knowledge and insight into the Business Development and Service Manager courses but need more hands-on experience working with the tools of the trade. Another course, the Service Specialty Manager Training, is for those who want to open a dedicated service department at an existing signatory contractor. Participants learn the ins and outs of dispatch, cost of overhead, maintenance contracts, marketing and more.

The Service Academy provides the most robust and well-rounded approach to the service side of the industry and includes more than just HVACR. With multiple course selections available, the academy is centered on participants’ needs and will address a broader perspective of service-based scopes of work, including – but not limited to – HVAC Fire Life Safety, TAB, BIM and Ventilation Verification for Indoor Air Quality. Most of the courses are offered either entirely online or in a hybrid learning environment, and independent study expectations are kept manageable for participants who are still working full time in the field.

Visit the Service Academy website to learn more!

The newly certified ICB/TABB contractors listed below recently entered the ranks of elite professionals who have proven they are at the top of their craft, meet the rigorous requirements for ICB/TABB certification and employ certified, highly skilled technicians and supervisors who continue to improve their skills with continuing education units and who invest their knowledge in the future. These TABB, fire and smoke damper, and commissioning contractors perform quality work for customers of the HVAC sheet metal industry while providing a solid company bottom line.

Healthy, forward-thinking companies like these are the lifeblood of our profession – and NEMIC and its certifying bodies, ICB/TABB, are here to help contractors help customers by identifying emerging technology, certifications, legislation, HVAC Fire Life Safety, indoor air quality, marketing and branding, field staff support and much more.

Please join us in congratulating the following companies for demonstrating the highest level of excellence, commitment and dedication to our industry:

CertificationCertification DateCompanyCompany CityLocal Union
TABB Contractor3/30/2022Pan-Pacific MechanicalFremont, CA104
TABB Contractor3/8/2022Bledsoe Environmental, LLCIndianapolis, IN20
TABB Contractor, Commissioning3/8/2022Built Environmental Systems TestingCashion, OK124
TABB Contractor3/3/2022Total MechanicalPewaukee, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022T&B ServiceEau Claire, WI18
TABB Contractor2/7/2022Big City BalancingAstoria, NY28
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022AMS Mechanical Systems, Inc.Woodridge, IL265
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor3/8/2022Sunset Air, Inc.Lacey, WA66
Fire & Smoke Damper Contractor2/14/2022Cahill Sketching and InspectingSomerdale, NJ19

Click here for more information on becoming an ICB/TABB Certified Contractor.

In late March, SMART mem­bers joined union brothers and sisters from across the Okla­homa labor movement for a good cause. Together with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Major League Fishing (MLF) Fisher­ies Management Division (FMD), local union members teamed up at REDCREST — MLF’s Bass Pro Tour championship — to build 120 artificial fish habitats. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conserva­tion, MLF co-founder and Bass Fishing Hall of Fame inductee Gary Klein, FMD members and MossBack Fish Habitat deployed some of the structures into Lake Bixhoma shortly after to improve the quality of life for numerous fish species.

“Much of the natural fish habitat once found in many of our reservoirs has been buried by siltation or slowly degraded over time as it decom­poses,” said Steven Bardin, a fisheries biologist with MLF-FMD. “This habitat loss must be addressed if we plan to continue to support healthy fish populations. That’s why a project like the Ferguson Habitat build and partnerships with Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, MossBack Fish Habitat, the KVD Foundation and Berkley Labs are so important to MLF Fisheries Management Division.”

In projects like the one at REDCREST, community engage­ment is a concrete aim — and that aim was certainly achieved in Oklahoma, in no small part because of the enthusiasm and skill set of union members who took part

Habitat restoration projects like the one at REDCREST target fisheries near MLF Bass Pro Tour stage locations and — using science-based methods, a community-driven approach and materials preferred by local agencies — help to reestablish natural areas of local communi­ties. The event at REDCREST saw 41 union volunteers representing Sheet Metal Workers Local 270, the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, Transportation Workers Local 514, Roofers Local 143, Electrical Workers Local 584 and National Letter Carriers Local 1358 donate 530 hours — a $28,090 value — to build the habitats using tools donated by Milwaukee Tool and materials provided by Ferguson and MossBack Fish.

“The Oklahoma AFL-CIO has partnered with the USA on multiple projects in Oklahoma, and the communities are always grateful for the work we do. During the expo, many attendees stopped by the booth to ask questions about the habitat builds and the work the USA does,” said Jimmy C. Curry, Oklahoma AFL-CIO president, who organized volunteers for the project. “I’ve personally done work with our unions and different charities for over 30 years, and the projects we have done with the USA have been my most memorable. Seeing the work the USA does has made me a Union Sportsman for life.”

MLF and the USA signed an agreement in July 2021 to pursue angler recruitment, retention and reactivation via each entity’s staff and respective pools of member volunteers in order to put together local and state fishing events, MLF fishing events and USA habitat conservation projects.

“Through our Work Boots on the Ground conservation program, the USA reaches into local communi­ties to create and improve access and opportunities in the outdoors,” said Forrest Parker, USA director of conservation and communications. “Combining the USA’s workforce of union volunteers with the resources and influence of Major League Fishing through projects like this propel both of our organizations’ efforts to pass on the fishing heritage to a whole new level.”

In projects like the one at REDCREST, community engage­ment is a concrete aim — and that aim was certainly achieved in Oklahoma, in no small part because of the enthusiasm and skill set of union members who took part.

“An added benefit of bringing together skilled union volunteers to complete a conservation project in the middle of an event attended by tens of thousands of bass fans was the educational component,” said Sam Phipps, USA conserva­tion programs manager. “There were hourly demonstrations and printed instructions avail­able, so expo attendees can now build habitats on their own to benefit additional water bodies and fisheries.”

In late July, third-year apprentices at SMART SM Local 12 (Southwestern Pennsylvania) had the opportunity to perform hands-on architectural sheet metal fabrication and installation. After separating into three sections – Group A, Group B and Group C – each group of apprentices was assigned a different application of architectural sheet metal, enhancing their day-to-day study with practical experience.

Group A’s task was to make improvements to the sheet metal shop at the Local 12 training center, which had a gypsum board wall that was damaged from a roof leak. The apprentices first had to safely remove the drywall, the wood substrate and the old, damaged insulation. Then, after cleaning the area, the apprentices sealed any openings and installed new insulation, new substrate on two-foot centers, a new metal water table, J-channel and corrugated metal panels, and window trims.

Meanwhile, the local tasked Groups B and C with a community service project at a local baseball/softball field. The concession stands at Scharmyn Park, the home of the West View Ross Athletic Association in Pittsburgh, Pa., required several upgrades. The wood siding needed painting. The wood ceiling had been removed and still lacked the necessary replacement. The gutters were in desperate need of improvement, and wood soffits needed to be covered.

In response, the Local 12 apprentices took to the work quickly and efficiently: They installed new metal trims, (J-channels, siding sill, fascia) and vertical siding panels that covered the old wood siding. They also mounted a corrugated metal ceiling onto rafters on two-foot centers and metal trims on three dugouts, plus corrugated metal roofing.

The project gave all three groups of apprentices firsthand training in the installation of architectural metal wall and roofing systems in real-life situations. The buildings were not as plumb, level and square as they would be in ideal circumstances – making them perfect examples of the conditions sheet metal workers run into in the field. Additionally, the apprentices had to build the scaffolding to access the work area, lay out the panel systems to develop symmetrical appearance, install the metal trims, cut the metal panels and cut in any penetrations that were in the way – all obstacles they are likely to face on future jobsites. The apprentices completed these tasks in a safe, effective manner, helping them develop on-the-job skills and give back to the community.

These experiences were made possible by the donation of metal siding and metal roofing panels by ATAS International, Inc. Local 12 elected to use these donated materials to help West View Ross Athletic Association with its concession stand, which was in dire need of attention. Local 12 also wishes to thank Miller, Thomas, Gyekis (trim fabricator), Pennsylvania Roofing Systems (trim fabricator), Business Manager Greg Blose, Apprentice Coordinator Joshua Moore, Instructors Mike Shields, Dan Lyons and John Naples, and Business Agents Geoff Foringer, Kevin Mally, Dan Maslo and Todd Deitrick for bringing this real-world learning event to life.

 

Today, the United States House of Representatives passed the CHIPS and Science Act, sending the bill – which includes $39 billion to build, expand and modernize semiconductor facilities in the U.S. – to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. In response, SMART issued the following statement:

“We applaud both the United States House and the Senate for investing in the future of our country. The billions of dollars that the CHIPS and Science Act will direct to the semiconductor industry will expand our national capacity to develop chips and incentivize companies to increase production – and most importantly, it will require that manufacturing to be made in America. We also welcome the provisions in the bill that will put union members to work building new manufacturing plants, helping facilitate the growth of a skilled American workforce. The passage of this legislation will bring the expertise of union tradespeople into high demand; tens of thousands of SMART members across this country are ready to answer the call.”  

Today, U.S. Representatives Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) led 101 of their colleagues in introducing legislation intended to punish corporate union busting and make it easier for workers to organize and collectively bargain. Essentially, the bill would take American taxpayer subsidies away from any corporate activity intended to discourage workers from exercising their legally protected right to form a union.

“Our union has a long history of helping workers form a union, and we know all too well the lengths corporations will go to try to prevent workers from having a voice at work,” said SMART General President Joseph Sellers. “It’s time to end the ability of corporations to deduct union busting activity from taxes — a practice that allows corporations to get off scot-free with union-busting activity. We greatly appreciate Congressman Norcross, Congresswoman Chu and their colleagues for their leadership on this legislation and stand ready to advocate with them for its passage.”

According to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, it is the official policy of the United States government to encourage collective bargaining and protect workers’ freedom of association. In practice, however, corporations often engage in anti-union activity without punishment. As workers around the country continue to organize their workplaces at historic levels, employers are spending an estimated $340 million per year on union-busting campaigns. These expenses are currently tax deductible – and frequently written off as business expenses. (Even though, because of former President Trump’s 2017 tax package, workers are not even able to deduct their union dues or the cost of work tools from their taxes, as they had been able to do in the past.)

Common anti-worker interventions – currently tax deductible – include  “captive audience meetings,” where employers hold mandatory meetings during work hours and spread misinformation intended to discourage unionization; hiring expensive “union avoidance” firms to lead union-busting campaigns; threatening to withhold benefits from pro-union workers; firing pro-union workers; and closing workplaces that appear to be pro-union or that have voted to unionize.

Rep. Norcross and Rep. Chu’s No Tax Break for Union Busting Act would curtail all such practices, ending taxpayer payment for anti-union corporate practice by classifying corporate interference in union campaigns as political speech under the tax code – thereby revoking its tax deductibility. Additionally, the legislation would require corporations to report anti-worker interventions to the IRS, ensuring these corporations pay their fair share of taxes and do not receive undeserved tax deductions.

“American taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for corporations engaged in anti-worker activity,” Congressman Norcross said. “We need to level the playing field for workers and end handouts for union-busting campaigns. It’s not fair that workers pay taxes on their hard-earned paychecks while their bosses save money crushing worker organizing. Why does our tax code favor employers at the expense of the American worker? It’s time to bring fairness to the tax code and end tax breaks for union busting.”

“The right to organize is not just protected by law, it is the official policy of the U.S. government to encourage workers to exercise this right,” added Congresswoman Chu. “However, our tax code provides companies lucrative tax breaks for the hundreds of millions of dollars they spend yearly to upend pro-union action and organizing. The No Tax Breaks for Union Busting Act would not only end taxpayer subsidies for these anti-union efforts, but would give workers the fair shot they deserve to form a union.”

On June 9, 2022, 3M Fall Protection announced a stop use/recall of specific 3M™ DBI-SALA® ShockWave™2 Arc Flash Shock Absorbing Lanyards. 3M determined that, for a limited number of devices, a potential manufacturing issue could result in the lanyard not performing properly in the event of a fall, which could result in severe injury or death. There have been no reports of injuries, accidents or complaints associated with this issue.

At this time, users/owners of affected lanyards can choose to receive either a free new replacement unit (when available) or a cash option. Visit the recall website to read the detailed recall notice, view a list of affected part numbers and file a claim for any affected lanyards you own.