Director Ielmini meets with congressional staffers regarding the FMIA

Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust Executive Director Pete Ielmini made his monthly appearance on The America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about the lobbying efforts to pass the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act

If passed by Congress, the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act would ensure mechanical insulation is properly installed in federal buildings, resulting in advanced federal energy efficiencies, saving tax dollars and reducing energy loss and emissions. 

The bill requires bipartisan support, which is why Ielmini was in D.C. visiting the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

“Republicans and Democrats both agree that the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act is something that is good and we are going through the process of getting the support we need,” Ielmini said. “We currently have 41 cosponsors.”

Ielmini will be visiting other Republican legislators this week in hopes of gaining more support. 

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey is working with the LMCT to present the Senate Companion Bill for the FMIA. Ielmini is hopeful to present before the NABTU Legislative Conference in April.

Ielmini added that not a lot of people are familiar with mechanical insulation so the LMCT has been explaining what it is and why it’s important in every building. 

“The federal government has guidelines on all federal buildings to do an energy audit,” Ielmini said. “It’s a good process to look at everything in the building to be able to conserve energy and reduce pollution.”

Mechanical insulation is often overlooked and after government staffers learn what mechanical insulation is, their eyes open and they realize the importance, he added. 

“Once they see the value and how much money can be saved by having mechanical insulation properly installed, it’s a no-brainer,” Ielmini said.

Congressman Randy Weber (TX)  and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (Calif.)  want to get at least 40 cosponsors, which the Bill already has. 

“If we can make the bill more of a headline news item, I think we could make this progress further,” Ielmini said. 

Insulators Member Assistance Program

Ielmini also discussed the Insulators Member Assistance Program (IMAP), a resource for insulators fighting mental health battles.

“We’ve taken the next step to be able to evolve our leadership from the International level all the way down to the Local level where we’re training officers and instructors on the warning signs and being able to look at an individual and recognize warning signs so that we can possibly help,” Ielmini said.

Perspective and Youturn are two companies hired to provide professional help to HFIAW members. Both companies provide different specialties when it comes to mental health. One provides treatment and counseling while the other provides long-term rehabilitation. The combination of both makes IMAP different than any other program. 

“We have to be able to get the word out to our members and constantly get the word out and give them confidence that if they reach out for assistance, it’s 100 percent confidential,” Ielmini said. 

Ielmini emphasized that employers, union leaders and coworkers won’t know who is seeking help. 

The IMAP resources are not just for members, but also for their families. The LMCT believes families of members should have the ability to reach out for these services because no one will recognize a problem sooner than a family member. 

“It’s all about the outreach and having a way to get this information out to union leaders,” Ielmini said. 

Ielmini recalled when he was an Apprentice Coordinator and Business Manager in New Jersey, there were some issues that were beyond his skillset. With the IMAP program, members will have a place to turn when they need it. 

“We have to be able to hand things off to professionals and we need to have the materials and the access ready to give it to someone else,” Ielmini said. “There is no cost, it’s all confidential and it is our duty to get people to these services.”

 

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