Ielmini: Recruitment is key to overcoming labor shortage

Pete Ielmini, Executive Director of the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Trust (LMCT), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and gave an update on two pieces of federal legislation, the need to educate the public on the work Insulators perform and how the trades are combating a labor shortage.

Legislative udpate

Ielmini spoke about the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act (FMIA) and the Mechanical Insulation Installation Incentive Act (MIIA). The FMIA, which was reintroduced into Congress by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), would require Mechanical Insulation Energy Audits to be performed on all federal buildings every four years. 

If passed, the FMIA will not only save taxpayers money, but help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by making government-owned buildings more energy efficient. He noted the work to either install or repair the Mechanical Insulation would create jobs for members of the Insulators Union. 

The second bill, the MIIIA, was introduced into the House by Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). If passed, the bipartisan legislation will create jobs for members of the Insulators Union and promote energy efficiency by significantly reducing U.S. energy consumption by supporting mechanical insulation installation across the country. The bill proposes providing a tax credit for up to 10 percent of the labor costs incurred by a taxpayer who hires a contractor to install Mechanical Insulation properly on pipes and equipment.

Educate the public about work performed by members of the Insulators Union

The vast majority of the public does not know what type of work members of the Insulators Union perform. Ielmimi stressed the need to inform the public about different crafts in the trade, especially fire stopping. 

Ielmini explained how in the event of a fire, fire stopping can prevent smoke from escaping a specific area of a building. Smoke, which is the leading cause of death in fires, can be contained in a properly compartmentalized system if fire stopping materials are properly applied. 

Construction industry labor shortage

Ielmini acknowledged there is a labor shortage in the construction industry. He explained how this shortage is affecting the building trades and the work being done to alleviate the problem. 

Building trades unions, he noted, are placing a high priority on training apprentices and giving them an opportunity to work. Besides apprentices, unions are also organizing non-union construction workers. Those who join a union earn better wages, health insurance and retirement benefits than those offered in the non-union sector. 

He also said the building trades face a shortage of signatory contractors. Without union contractors, there will be no work for union members. Ielmini explained how quality work benefits union contractors, helps workers stay in the industry and can lead to more people seeking to join the building trades and getting hired into good-paying careers.

Listen to the entire interview: 


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