The Mechanical Insulators LMCT and the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers were well-represented at the 2022 Tennessee Valley Trades and Labor Council/Tennessee Valley Authority (TVTLC/TVA) Labor-Management Conference, held in mid-July in Nashville, Tenn.
The LMCT and members of the Insulators Union were joined by representatives from the TVA, the 15 member TVTLC and the TVA's contractors.
The annual event brings labor and management together to discuss important issues within the Tennessee Valley region.
The theme for this year's conference was "Persevering for Progress."
Since 1933, the TVA has worked industriously to make life better for the people of the Tennessee Valley region, which spans 80,000 square miles across parts of seven states in the Southeast.
Every day the TVA provides safe, clean, reliable and affordable electricity; supports a robust, award-winning economic development policy that has created prosperous communities throughout the region; and upholds an environmental stewardship program that has created some of the most beautiful and productive waterways in the U.S.
“The Tennessee Valley Authority gains allows our Local Unions to employ additional members, and the Insulators Union are not just looked at as a support craft, but as an important part of the day-to-day operation of its assets,” said Anthony H. Nicholson, IAHFIAW International Representative to the TVTLC. “I believe we had a strong presence at the conference and had the opportunity to have conversations with the TVA management team as it pertains to both Mechanical Insulation and the safety of our members who work throughout the Tennessee Valley Authority region.”
While many positive strides have been made in the arena of construction health and safety, there have been some stark reminders over the past few years that there is still room for improvement.
Sadly, one such reminder affected the TVTLC, IAHFIAW and LMCT.
Seth Black, journeyman Insulator from Local 46, was tragically killed at Bull Run Steam Plant on Sept. 16, 2021.
Bother Black was a brilliant young man with a bright future ahead of him, who passed away at too young of an age while at work. To this day, he is greatly missed by his family, friends and union Brother and Sisters.
As a respectful tribute to him, all Insulator Union members in attendance at the 2022 TVTLC/TVA Labor-Management Conference wore a special remembrance sticker on their name badges. Many conference attendees were drawn to the tribute, which served to keep the memory of Brother Black alive and make sure his legacy is not forgotten.
This year’s conference was the first held since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Insulators Union had a robust visual presence thanks to the Insulators LMCT exhibitor booth, which promoted the labor-management relations.
The conference keynote speakers were Brent Booker, North America’s Building Trades Unions Secretary-Treasurer, LIUNA General President Terry O'Sullivan and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh.
On behalf of the IAHFIAW and LMCT, Nicholson presented Secretary Walsh with a symbol of appreciation - a patriotic colored hard hat with the International logo that now resides in the office of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Throughout the conference, there were a host of presentations that reinforced the importance of the union construction industry, an emphasis on safety and a recognition of Department of Labor register apprenticeship programs, which produce a highly skilled and highly trained workforce.
There was also a presentation from the Helmet to Hard Hats program and an incredible and inspirational presentation given by veteran Travis Mills.
“If anyone reading this has not heard of Travis Mills, please take the opportunity to research his story,” said Nicholson. “It will most definitely give you a different prospective of your life and struggles you think you may have.”
Besides Nicholson, the Insulators Union was represented by Local 46 Business Manager Charlie Woody and President Rob Headrick, Local 86 Business Manager Matt Berlin, Vice-President Shane Hammock and Financial Secretary Steve Adkisson, plus Local 90 Business Manager Blake Joyner. The LMCT was represented by Executive Director Pete Ielmini and Deputy Director Gina Walsh.
“Having a presence at conferences such as this is so important,” said Ielmini. “We have to show how the Mechanical Insulation industry is related to every facet to the energy construction environment. We must make the business energy decision makers aware of mechanical insulation.”
For more information about the TVA, please contact Nicholson at firstname.lastname@example.org.