Training News

Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committees:

New Products and New Opportunities for Members and Contractors

Journal: Issue 2 - 2008

“ BAC, IMI and ICE are committed to developing and promoting the training programs, and conducting research and development to increase signatory contractors’ market share and keep BAC members working.”

—James Boland,
IU Secretary-Treasurer


Expanding work opportunities through new products, and selling the “green” benefits of materials installed by BAC members, were a central focus of the winter Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committee meetings. Toward that end, the IU, the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE) and IMI have coordinated efforts to identify new products and technologies as they are introduced into the market. This ensures that BAC members have access to the required training and certification programs and contractors have the information needed to bid on new work. At the individual Craft Committee meetings, BAC labor representatives, officers and signatory contractors discussed products and technologies in their respective crafts with industry representatives.

William Voorhees, a partner with Calibre CPA Group, presented a status report on the Operating Plans submitted by the Locals for 2008. Based on the submissions, the IU has established four committees to address such critical member issues as immigration, education and training, communications, and work trends. In addition, Locals that sent in their Plan by the deadline received a $2,500 bonus from the IU to jump start one of the initiatives outlined in their Plan to improve members’ services and increase membership strength.

IMI Director of Program Development Maria Viteri discussed green building opportunities at the joint session of the IU Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committees.

“One of the greatest challenges we share as labor and management representatives is staying on top of changes in the construction market, and doing everything we can to ensure that these changes create new work opportunities for BAC employers and members,” IU Secretary-Treasurer James Boland told attendees. “That means being aware, and willing to take advantage of new materials, methods, delivery systems, technology and equipment. BAC, IMI and ICE are committed to developing and promoting the training programs, and conducting research and development to increase signatory contractors’ market share and keep BAC members working.” (To learn more about training and certification programs, go to

Traditional materials – brick, tile and stone, for example – are also receiving renewed and positive attention from architects and owners as the U.S and Canada embrace green building practices and materials. “Given its evolution from design trend to social movement, it’s no secret that green building practices are transforming the construction industry,” Fred Kinateder, IMI Co-Chair and the President of the International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers told the joint session of the BAC Executive Council and the Labor-Management Craft Committees. “And fortunately for our industry, masonry solutions present an immediate and measurable way to impact sustainable building. Thanks to strong leadership at all levels of BAC and IMI, action is being taken through a growing matrix of coordinated initiatives designed to position BAC contractors and craft workers as recognized leaders in green building.”

“To understand our opportunities in the market today, we must understand how our buildings impact sustainability,” Maria Viteri, IMI Director of Program Development, told attendees. Buildings have a huge impact on the environment, accounting for 12% of water used, 39% of carbon emission, 65% of waste generated, and 71% of electricity consumed. The products installed by BAC members can reduce a building’s impact on the environment. With 75% of all buildings scheduled to be built or renovated by the year 2037, that translates into opportunities for the masonry industry and BAC members. In 2007 alone, there was more than $12 billion in green building starts, according to McGraw Hill and the 2007 energy bill encourages a continuation of this upward trend.

George Churchwell of Tech 2000 presented the Council with information on how technology, such as iPods, iPhones and other handheld electronic devices, can help the Union stay in touch with members, and also allow contractors to get information to the jobsite faster. Churchwell used the BAC Code of Conduct DVD to demonstrate the technology. To view the Code of Conduct DVD, go to and click on BAC Code of Conduct.

“Sustainable initiatives and views are redefining the way our buildings are designed,” said Viteri. Today, there are a variety of building-specific guidelines for schools, hospitals, federal facilities and commercial buildings. The most recognized is LEED, a guideline provided by the United States Green Building Council. LEED for New Construction has four levels of certification, starting with LEED-certified at 26 points and continuing to the highest level, Platinum starting at 52 points. The products installed by BAC members and contractors contribute up to 35 points toward the Platinum score.

The BAC/IMI strategy stresses masonry not just as a material solution, but as an energy system and performance solution. IMI is actively implementing this strategy and getting the word out to architects, builders, government agencies and owners through its American Institute of Architects-approved green building presentations, as a registered education provider for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and through educational programs for BAC members and signatory contractors.

Canadian Congress Co-Chair Clarence Medernach reported that training was the central focus of the last Canadian Congress meeting. According to Medernach, the government of Ontario has expanded its outreach to apprenticeship and certification stakeholders in the province by encouraging them to submit their findings and research on the effect of expanding compulsory certification to individual trades that are currently voluntary. In response, BAC and Ontario Locals submitted supporting documentation to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The Ministry is weighing the impact of expanded certification in areas such as health and safety, new apprentice registration, the number of apprentices to complete trades training, and the overall impact on the economy. The Ministry also held focus group meetings with stakeholders in February where BAC and Local Union representatives presented the case for mandatory certification.



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