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 recent progress of the Federal Mechanical Insulation Act. He also addressed the lack of female-appropriate labor attire at brick and mortar retail stores and its negative impact on women in the building trades.
The Mechanical Insulation Act was first introduced on Dec. 22, 2022, by Rep. Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.), but did not receive any committee hearings prior to the end of the legislative session.
On June 28, Ielmini said Sanchez was preparing to reintroduce the bill and it would likely have Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas), as a Republican co-sponsor.
He explained how the FMIA would require mechanical insulation as a part of the energy audits required for all federal buildings. This would ultimately improve the energy efficiency of each building and save taxpayer money.
If passed and signed into law, the bill would fuel an influx of man-hours and improve working conditions for union insulators, while also increasing the value of federal buildings.
Ielimini said Weber, who owned and operated a HVAC company for 35 years, understands the value of mechanical insulation and believes this is a commonsense piece of legislation.
Women in the workforce are here to stay
The conversation with Ferenc then shifted as Ielimini told a story about his wife, who was shopping for work boots, but could not anything that fit her. Ielmini said he was disheartened by the lack of appropriate safety attire for women in the workforce.
The store carried only two types female boots, which featured pink flowers and were not designed for long-term wear. He noted how the same store offered 60 different pairs of heavy-duty men's workboots.
Now, more than ever, is the time to spread awareness that women in the construction workforce are here to stay and they deserve quality, accessible safety equipment to work in their desired field, Ielimini said.
Efforts to improve diversity in the workforce is something the Insulators LMCT and its affiilates are constantly fighting. For Ielmini, the fight will not end until women are given all the proper tools to do their job as efficiently and safely as their male peers.
Listen to the interview: