Local Minneapolis celebrates 110th Anniversary

On Aug. 19, HFIAW Local 34 celebrated its 110th anniversary at the Radisson Blu Hotel Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

Founded in 1913, Insulators Local 34 has been committed to representing and advocating for the rights and interests of Mechanical Insulators in the Minnesota-Western Wisconsin region.

Local 34's apprenticeship training programs have created highly skilled members experienced in the latest mechanical insulation technologies for over a century. 

Local 34 has and will always strive to ensure members have access to the training and equipment necessary to do their jobs safely and efficiently. 34 pic

Years of putting members first

Local 34 began the celebration the day before the anniversary event at a Minnesota Twins baseball game, where members could bring their families. 

Former and current Local 34 members, industry leaders, local government officials, signatory contractors, and Minnesota Building Trade officials all came together for the anniversary celebration, which more than 400 people attended. 

Along with Local 34 leaders and representatives, Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bernie Burnham, HFIAW International Vice Presidents Samuel Schultz, Don Stanley, Paul Faulkner and Tim Keane, General Secretary-Treasurer Robert W. Reap, IIIATF Administrator John L. Stahl, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz were all in attendance of the celebration.

Joel Myhr, Local 34 President, started the celebration with a speech thanking the Brothers and Sisters for their hard work and dedication to supporting their Local and the mechanical insulation industry. 

Gov. Walz also congratulated and encouraged Local 34 members to continue fighting for livable wages and benefits for their members. He added he has been a supporter of union labor for years and understands the importance of unions like Local 34 that help contribute to a powerful voice for all labor workers.

"I am humbled and honored to be a part of this great organization during this achievement of 110 years. Many companies around the world aren't around this long," said Local 34 Business Manager Albert Byers, III. 

The greenest trade, the best workforce

The safety and well-being of members has always been Local 34's top priority. The anniversary reminded everyone of this as the union's new efforts to provide members with strong medical benefits, financial stability and safety training were highlighted. 

Local 34 Business Agent and Financial Secretary William Meyer emphasized the Local's efforts to implement regulations on the job site. He added that Local 34 prioritizes and values its members' safety, the importance of family and education and professionalism in the workforce.

Representatives and members have been vocal about increasing demands for energy efficiency in federal buildings. The Local has been partnering with industry leaders to demonstrate that mechanical insulation is an essential component to our country's infrastructure. 

"For years, Local 34 members have been advocating for the benefits of mechanical insulation to State Capitol officials that they are the leaders of green energy and the most well-trained, safest workers in the industry," Business Manager Byers said. 34 110 anniversary

The future of mechanical insulation

Local 34 now has future goals to lobby local, state and federal legislators about the critical importance of properly installed mechanical insulation. 

"In the future, we plan to get more recognition for the importance of mechanical insulation as being the greenest trade; continue to retrieve licensing and ensure mechanical insulation inspections are required in all buildings," Business Agent Meyer said. 

Since May 2009, Local 34 has partnered with the HFIAW to promote outreach programs and campaigns that harness data and powerful financial arguments to target potential industrial and retail clients. 

By using energy audits, Local 34 has successfully generated hundreds of jobs and thousands of miles of insulation for the mechanical insulation industry and plans to continue these initiatives in the future. 

"It's not the years of our life that count; it is the life in your years that truly matter," Midwest States Conference International Vice President Samuel Schultz said. "I know each and every one of you have and will continue to put that life into this great organization, progressing us to new heights and adventures."

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