Pete Ielmini, Executive Director of the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust (LMCT), joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast and spoke with host Ed “Flash” Ferenc about the reintroduction of the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act into the House of Representatives. He also discussed the LMCT’s efforts to prevent suicide within the construction industry.
On July 14, the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act of 2023 was finally reintroduced with bipartisan support from Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) and Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (D-Calif.).
If passed and signed into law, the legislation would ensure the energy audits performed on all federal buildings include mechanical insulation.
The bill recognizes mechanical insulation’s important role in lowering operating expenses, reducing energy loss and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
For Ielmini, the bill's reintroduction was a good first step in the right direction, but more work must be done for the bill to become law.
He believes that 10-30 percent of mechanical insulation in most federal buildings is missing or damaged. To combat this issue, the legislation would require annual mechanical insulation audits to identify and fix the missing insulation in these buildings.
Under the bill, more than 400,000 federal buildings across the country would undergo a mechanical insulation inspection, creating an influx of work hours and improving working conditions for union Insulators while increasing the lifespan of mechanical systems in federal buildings.
Ielmini believes the legislation could pass through Congress by the end of 2023.
Union labor saves lives
As part of the LMCT’s Suicide Awareness Campaign, Ielmini addressed the suicide epidemic within the construction industry.
It has helped raise awareness of the mental health challenges those in the industry face.
As a practical, unique initiative, the LMCT printed poker chips that have the suicide prevention hotline phone number on them. Due to their discrete size, these chips can be placed anywhere on a job site, such as the boiler or break rooms.
Ielmini said he imagines workers will pick up the chip, memorize the hotline, and place it somewhere another Union Brother could easily find it.
He wants affiliated members to reach out for help whenever they need it.