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 President Biden's appearance at the North American Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference on the dame day he announcement he will seek re-election.
Ielmini told Ferenc there was a buzz in the room as President Biden entered that reflected the administration's strong support for the building trades and the opportunities he has created for union workers. Ielmini also addressed job creation, supporting union members and the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act.
A labor-friendly president
President Biden has been hailed as the most labor-friendly president ever, said Ielimini. In Biden’s first two years in office, significant legislation that empowered the working class was passed.
He called the passage of the CHIPS Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act as important milestones that will have a transformative impact on the union construction industry. President Biden has repeatedly emphasized the crucial role unions play in creating and sustaining the middle class and his actions emphasize his commitment to strengthen the backbone of America's economy, Ielmini added.
Addressing the skilled labor shortage
Despite the positive strides made by the administration, there are concerns about the future, specifically the availability of skilled workers to meet the demands of the booming construction industry. As the country embarks on a massive infrastructure overhaul, the need for skilled construction workers will be unprecedented.
To tackle this challenge, Ielmini stressed the importance of encouraging more individuals to join the building trades through registered apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (ARPs)
Ielmini also discussed the significance of Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (ARPs) as a means to attract new talent to the building trades. ARPs aim to engage underserved communities and raise awareness about the career opportunities available within the trades.
ARPs create an environment conducive to exploring and pursuing a career in construction by helping men and women gain the basic education needed to join a registered apprenticeship program. Ielimie believes ARPs will play a crucial role going forward as many entry-level apprentice candidates in their late 20s and early 30s have expressed a growing interest in the trades as they seek stable and good-paying jobs.
Federal Mechanical Insulation Act
Ielmini then gave an update on the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act, which will soon be introduced to the 118th Congress by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.). The FMIA promotes Mechanical Insulation as essential to energy efficiency and job creation. By investing in this sector, the government can stimulate economic growth while simultaneously addressing environmental concerns.
Listen to Ielmini’s entire interview: