Training News

Tile Study Group Adopts Uniform Training System

Journal: October - November 2002

At its October meeting, BAC’s Executive Council formally ­adopted a uniform training system for tile, marble, and terrazzo mechanics and finishers recommended by the Union’s Tile Study Group. The new system supports a logical system of advancement, and complies with U.S. and Canadian requirements for registered training programs.

It includes detailed competency levels that apprentices in each craft category will need to achieve to successfully complete their apprenticeship, as well as a means of progressing through apprenticeship levels and from finisher to mechanic status. In addition, the Study Group recommended long-term goals for achieving greater uniformity of wages and benefits. At the Council meeting, BAC President John J. Flynn congratulated the labor and management members of the Study Group for achieving their goal, and noted that they had devised “a system that we believe will strengthen this important segment of our industry.”

Need for a Task Force

The need for the Study Group flowed out of the findings of the BAC Apprenticeship and Training Task Force. At their first meeting, the Study Group reviewed the Task Force’s findings:

• There was no uniform training system for tile, marble, and terrazzo finishers and mechanics;
• No agreed upon length for apprenticeships;
• No standardized levels of competency for advancement within an apprenticeship or from finisher to mechanic status; and
• No standardized system for recruiting apprentices.
As a result, many Local tile, marble, and terrazzo apprenticeship programs were at risk of losing their registered status or had no registered program in place.


Based on a review of existing training programs in place and government requirements for a registered training program, the Study Group identified key components of a uniform training system for tile, marble, and terrazzo. Under the new system:

• Tile, marble, and terrazzo mechanic apprentices will go through eight training tracks and finishers will go through four training tracks. Each track involves detailed work processes and related instruction that an apprentice will need to cover to move onto the next track.
• A mechanic apprenticeship will last four years and a finisher apprenticeship will last two years. Individuals currently in an apprenticeship program would be grand-fathered in to its existing requirements.
• Advancement would be linked not just to the passage of time and hours, but to achieving a level of competency. Competency would be the determining factor when deciding which track a finisher would move to if he or she decided to transition to a mechanic apprenticeship program.

The Study Group’s recommendations also included longer-term goals related to equalizing fringe benefits for finishers and mechanics within a Local, and creating an economic incentive for interested finishers to transition to a mechanic apprenticeship program.


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