Ielmini talks training and mental health on the AWF Union Podcast

Pete AWF

Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust Executive Director Pete Ielmini appeared May 22 on the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the importance of training and mental health awareness in the construction industry. 

Ielmini began by explaining how proper training results in safer jobsites, which can save contractors money.

Successful companies put effort and resources into training their personnel and raising awareness to ensure they are performing at a level that reduces mistakes, Ielmini told AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc. 

Because new technology is regularly introduced, proper training becomes even more important for union construction workers, he said. 

“That’s the best way for you to evaluate if you’re getting a quality contractor is to look at the training that’s being done,” Ielmini said. “I haven’t talked yet about safety training or performance training because it’s all the same thing. It’s not a coincidence that a company that properly trained their personnel has a low accident rate.” 

Ielmini said he is most familiar with apprenticeship training in the construction field,  adding that proper training costs money, and in the union construction industry, that money comes from the paychecks of union members.

“We as members and workers value the fact that we have to train our people,” Ielmini said. “We have to be able to have the best workforce to provide the customer with the best work we can offer.” 

Ielmini emphasized that contractors are willing to spend money on quality construction services as long as workers receive high-quality training.

Mental Health Awareness 

Ielmini switched the conversation with Ferenc to mental health awareness. He started by recalling an event that happened four years ago. He attended a lecture about suicide and construction. He was shocked to learn that five times more construction workers are dying from suicide than from jobsite accidents.

Since then, the LMCT has been working to change the paradigm and raise awareness about the importance of mental health in the construction field and at home, he said. 

“The International has invested in a program that is going to service our members, and it’s available for our members to seek help,” Ielmini said. “The program the Insulators implemented is not only for the member but also for the family. We put in a tremendous amount of effort and outreach to the member and their family. 

The HFIAW believes the significant others of their members should have the information and ability to contact professionals who can help a struggling member. 

“I’m really excited and proud of my International,” Ielmini said. “We’re making strides in this area to make a difference and we’re already starting to see the benefits.”

Ielmini added that the utilization, treatment and counseling have all increased, which is rewarding. 

“Earlier, when I was talking about training, it was all about getting people home safe every day,” Ielmini said. “Now, this is about getting people back in the job safely every day. Getting them from home to work every day is becoming the new mantra.” 

Sharing a Memorial Day reminder

Ielmini concluded the interview with a message to all listeners. Over the Memorial Day weekend, he wants everyone to think about all the servicemen and women who gave their lives for the greatest country in the world. 

“Sometime this weekend, think about the many people that died so we can live in the greatest country in the world,” Ielmini said. 

Listen to the full interview: 



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