Local 69 Business Manager discusses work outlook on national pro-union podcast

Steven Overby, Business Manager for Insulators Local 69, appeared on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast on April 10. 

During the interview, Overby talked with AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc about the workload in Local 69’s jurisdiction, which covers the entire state of Utah and areas in Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.

“Luckily for the Insulators, our work has been maintaining pretty steadily, especially in the Idaho area,” Overby said. “Utah is still a (So-Called) Right to Work State.” 

This means Utah has a law prohibiting union security agreements. Under this law, employees in unionized workplaces cannot negotiate employment contracts with their employers. These laws strip workers of protection by lowering wages and endangering worker safety. 

With Local 69’s organizing efforts, work has been moving in the right direction on many projects. Overby is hopeful the membership will rise to more than 200 because of all the work throughout the jurisdiction. 

Utah is staying busy with multiple projects and Nevada is staying steady with the gold mine work. 

Megaprojects on the horizon

Micron struck a union deal for the construction of a $15 billion chipmaking facility in Boise, Idaho. 

“It’s probably one of the bigger projects that our Local’s had in our lifetimes and with the Project Labor Agreement that was signed between Micron and the building trades out there in Boise, it just puts a lot of good work and good paying jobs for our members and other members of other unions for the economy out there in Boise as well,” Overby said. 

Micron said they will be putting money toward the local economy and will create jobs within that community as well as employing people within their own building, Overby added. 

“Luckily, our building trades president put in all the hard work trying to negotiate with Micron, getting us other Local affiliated unions with the building trades together and going over it, going over all the PLAs and the details and then finally coming to an agreement,” Overby said. “It took a lot of negotiating on their part and going back and forth with Micron and trying to find the right deal that would better serve our members out there on the field.”

The Micron project is expected to bring up to 17,000 new Idaho jobs to the area and 2,000 directly for the Micron facility. Mechanical insulation is crucial in a plant like Micron. 

Work is moving forward now that the PLA was signed by Micron and the NABTU building trades. Construction has begun but Insulators are not going to work on the site until later this fall. 

Work amps up at datacenter sites

The Boise Meta plant has been completing preliminary work like the underground piping. The Salt Lake City Meta plant is moving to its next phase after years of work. 

The Salt Lake City plant has been under construction for multiple years and is starting to move to its last phases of work, where the Idaho plant is just barely getting started. 

Both plants are dealing with the same issue – competing for manpower. There are talks of signing another PLA to match what Micron is doing because they know the workforce that is going to be needed in the Idaho area. 

The Salt Lake City Airport is on its third phase of an expansion project. If Salt Lake City is selected to host the 2034 Winter Olympics, another phase could lead to another six to eight years of expansion work. 

“I’m lucky with all the organizing efforts, not only within our own Local but our International Heat and Frost Insulators have been doing a lot to get our name out there,” Overby said. “With our names getting out there, they’re starting to hear who we are and what the benefits are worth.”

Listen to the full interview: 


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