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Locals 24 and 33 work together to keep West Virginia HVAC Licensing Law

Sheet Metal Workers Locals 24 and 33, with help from a SMART lobbyist and the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) West Virginia, defeated an attempt by state legislators to repeal HVAC licensing requirements in the state.

After two years of working with legislators, SMW Locals 24, 33 and 100 won a key victory in 2015, as the state enacted a law to require state licensing for all workers who perform work on HVAC/Fire Dampers in West Virginia.

SMW Local 24 South Point Business Rep. Jeff Rowe

The licensing requirement was ultimately put in place to keep fly by night contractors and out-of-state contractors from coming into West Virginia and hiring whomever they wanted, not knowing whether or not the workers are skilled.

The legislation helped our Locals secure market share and also stemmed the tide of out of state contractors and fly-by-night contractors who would undermine local standards.

A year later, Republicans gained control of the Statehouse and repealed Prevailing Wage and introduced So-Called “Right to Work” legislation.

Over the next two years, they put bills forward to repeal the HVAC licensing, but the bills died in committee as pro-labor Republicans joined Democrats in killing these bills in committee.

Early this year, House and Senate leaders made repealing the HVAC license a high priority.

Partnership Development Representative and SMART lobbyist Steve Hancock worked with SMW Local 24 Business Rep. Jeff Rowe and Steve White, Director of ACT West Virginia, to lobby against the repeal of the license and educate legislators about its importance.

Through hard work and with support from SMW Local 33, the SMART coalition was able to convince members of the GOP that repealing the HVAC license was a bad idea. Facing mounting pressure, Republican leaders vowed to not introduce legislation to repeal the HVAC license as long as licensing requirements were lowered for residential technicians.

Rowe said the education and lobbying helped create enough allies were the Republicans did not have the votes for a full repeal and they settled to only tweak the residential requirements.

“It is very important that we stick together and educate legislators as much as possible and stay as strong as we can,” said Rowe. “It’s very important to build allies because under this current legislative map we are the outsiders.”

SMW Local 24 thanks the hard work and activism of SMART members and Local 33 – along with the solidarity shown from other trades and Local 24 members for helping us save this important license.

Second-Year Apprentices Complete COMET Training

Second-year Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 apprentices recently completed COMET training to help them better understand the role organizing plays in helping grow our union.

Construction Organizing Membership Education Training (COMET) was created in the mid-90s by what was then known as the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), now called North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). The BCTD noticed an alarming trend as the number of building trades unions and affiliated members were both in rapid decline. Continue reading →

Cincinnati leaders attempting to stall Responsible Bidder ordinance implementation

Following an early January Ohio Appeals Court ruling that cleared the way for Cincinnati to enforce its disputed Responsible Bidder ordinance, the city administration is now attempting to stall its implementation.

The ordinance requires contractors on certain public construction projects to have graduated at least one employee from a registered apprenticeship program every year for the last five years. This ordinance is to be implemented in conjunction with a local hire program as well. The Responsible Bidder ordinance essentially requires contractors to supply a union workforce for Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) projects over $400,000. Contracts under $400,000 are exempt from the ordinance in order to allow smaller businesses to bid on these projects.

By creating the ordinance, the city understood that a registered apprenticeship program produces a construction worker who, regardless of race or gender, works efficiently and can help save time and money on the jobsite. Continue reading →

Appeals Court overturns ruling; Paves way for Cincinnati Responsible Bidder Ordinance

A court ruling has cleared the way for the city of Cincinnati to enforce its Responsible Bidder ordinance.

In early January, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of a lower court, paving the way for the city to require contractors to have graduated at least one employee from a registered apprenticeship program every year for the last five years.

Allied Construction Industries, a not-for-profit construction trades group for non-union contractors, sued the city, saying the ordinance was a way to ensure only union signatory contractors could successfully bid on contracts. Continue reading →

Cincinnati Training Coordinator Gary Shinkle Retires

Gary Shinkle, who spent the last 18 years as Cincinnati Training Coordinator, has officially retired.

Following a staff meeting and lunch on Nov. 1, Business Manager Rodney French, with help from the Local 24 staff, presented Brother Shinkle with a proclamation from Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. Continue reading →

City of Columbus Signs Historic Community Benefits Agreement with Building Trades

The City of Columbus and the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council signed a historic Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to  partner together to ensure the work to construct Columbus Fire Station No. 35 is performed by the area’s building trades.

The CBA also requires the C/COBCTC to host apprenticeship-recruitment fairs and to contribute 5 cents per hour worked on the project, to be deposited into a scholarship fund for apprenticeship programs.

“This agreement includes many firsts for our city, all built on my commitment to expanding Columbus’ success to every person in every neighborhood,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “This agreement offers the City and its residents many benefits.”

Continue reading →

 Members and Contractors donate supplies to Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts

Hurricane Irma left its mark in mid-September, leaving a trail of death and destruction through Florida and parts of the southeast.

On the morning of Sept. 10, Irma hit the Florida Keys about 20 miles north of Key West as a category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph.

Several hours later, Irma came ashore on the mainland over Naples, as it made its way north through Florida.

The hurricane ravaged the Sunshine state, leaving cities under water, and according to multiple media reports, 60 percent of homes across Florida were left without power. Continue reading →

SMW 24 Participates in Construction Career Fair

Our Columbus JATC represented Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 at a construction career fair in Columbus.

The Jan. 26 career fair was an opportunity for Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades affiliated unions, such as Sheet Metal Workers Local 24, to reach out directly to potential apprentice candidates.

Continue reading →

High School Students Visit SMW 24 Dayton JATC

Area high school students got an upclose look at what it takes to be a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 24.

As part of National Apprenticeship Week, students from the Upper Valley Career Center visited the Dayton JATC to learn about the work Local 24 members perform, the training members receive and about the money they can earn working in this trade.

Continue reading →

Sheet Metal Workers Local 24 Members Help Refurbish Columbus Park Fishing Pier

A Columbus area park has a new fishing pier thanks to union volunteers, the Ohio AFL-CIO and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance.

Members of 11 different Locals, including Sheet Metal Workers Local 24, teamed up to give Antrim Park a new, sturdier and better looking pier.

Continue reading →

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