“...And Allied Craftworkers”– The IMI Connection
Journal: Issue 2 - 2006
While many BAC members are quick to associate IMI with training and technical programs for brick masonry, all crafts represented by BAC are supported by IMI.
One trade that personifies the “allied crafts” part of BAC is PCC, since their restoration skills involve working with brick, tile, stone, marble, terra cotta, and more. IMI has responded to the growing restoration market by offering a wide range of services, from training to plan review. A restoration seminar series held at BAC training centers educates designers, contractors and decision makers, while demonstrating the skilled BAC difference. “Theoretical and technical information tied to practical applications make it invaluable,” says Philadelphia architect Nan Gutterman. David Sinclair of signatory contractor Graciano Corp. agrees that this and future seminars can only “help the Union and the industry.” This year, the restoration series travels to Harrisburg, PA, Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Saginaw, MI, New York City, and Fairfield, NJ.
Another example of how the BAC/IMI partnership is supporting the allied crafts is in Wisconsin, where the Administrative District Council officers have been working with IMI to tailor their annual upgrade sessions to market needs. A session on conventional cement plaster held earlier this year “turned out to be a fantastic organizing tool for us,” says WI ADC Field Representative Owen Jones, who expects to sign an impressed Milwaukee contractor who observed the session.
The BAC/IMI partnership is particularly useful in a time crunch. Intrepid Stone Contractors, which has a large, high profile office project in Mobile, Alabama, is working with IMI and Local 6 Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama to provide the scores of skilled stonemasons for the granite panel exterior and marble interiors required for this job. Together, the Local and IMI are delivering two solutions: intensive training for Local 6 craftworkers at the National Training Center, and jobsite instruction headed up by IMI. Either way, says Local 6 LA/MS/AL President Steve McClanahan, “Members are learning a lot, and one of the largest panel installers is happy.” McClanahan is also tapping into IMI training to meet a post-Katrina boom in refractory work in nearby Louisiana.
While competitors scramble for skilled workers, our contractor “was very, very pleased” that the BAC/IMI National Training Center could handle the demand so quickly, he says.
Taking advantage of BAC/IMI training, plus other programs like Foreman Training and Contractor College, “is a win/win situation for the contractor, and for our members – in all branches of the trades,” notes Local 1 Michigan President Ray Chapman. When one of the biggest tile and marble contractors in his state wanted to get into terrazzo work, Chapman contacted IMI, which hosted an intensive round of training in both cement and epoxy terrazzo, plus an introduction to Terratop™. IMI is helping to ensure BAC’s jurisdiction by introducing the product to designers and owners, and certifying craftworkers.
Whether it is training new BAC craftworkers or holding technical seminars for architects, IMI programs and services are all about one thing: jobs for BAC members and contractors.