In February, the Mechanical Insulators Labor Management Cooperative Trust was excited to announce that Local 17 Chicago and Local 1 St. Louis formed a partnership to promote the Mechanical Insulation industry through state legislation.
Once filed, Senate Bill 2049 and House Bill 2485 began the process of becoming Illinois law.
Both bills are known as the Mechanical Insulation Energy Audit Act and would establish a pilot program, which would require the Illinois State Capitol Development Board (CBD) to contract with a qualified Mechanical Insulation contractor to execute a Mechanical Insulation Energy and Safety Plan on 50 state buildings. It would also require the board to develop a plan to bring the Mechanical Insulation systems in these selected buildings up to code in accordance with the Energy Efficient Building Act.
The leadership of both Local 17 and Local 1 began with an idea, but had to figure out how to turn the idea into legislative action. To get an idea signed into law, a lot of work needs to be done in order to complete the process. The first step is to get the idea written or drafted to fit into state law. To do this, the drafter needs to have an understanding of the subject matter. Then they need to promote it within the legislative community (both the House and the Senate) to generate interest. This procedure may take a long time to reap the benefits. It is very unusual that an idea becomes a law in the first session it is introduced, but that is exactly what happened.
In this case, Business Managers Tom McGrath and Gary Payeur decided they needed some help, so they hired a consultant. Alison Howlett, President of Coalition Consulting, led this leadership team to victory.
“Without the help of Ms. Howlett, I’m not sure if we would have been able to move so quickly,” McGrath said. “Her ability to hit the ground running and learn about our industry quickly made the process easier for all of us. We are grateful for her help and the friendship we developed throughout the process. We look forward to working with her in the implementation process.”
In the early morning hours of May 27, the Mechanical Insulation Energy Audit Act was amended to H.B. 3817 as amendment 3. It passed both chambers and is now on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk awaiting a signature.
This was a result of collaboration, compromise and hard work by both Locals.
“This legislation transforms our industry, providing jobs for the next generation of union insulators,” Payeur told his members.
When asked what this means to his membership McGrath was to the point and stated it was about jobs.
“Local 17 is ecstatic about growing our industry and securing more man hours for our membership,” he said.
“This is a game changer for the industry and puts mechanical insulation on the map,” Local 17 Organizer Bob Flynn said.
Local 1 Business Agent Jerry McAtee called the legislation “an excellent example of what we can do for our members when we work together to bring awareness to the Mechanical Insulation Industry.”
For Brad Ackman, Local 1 Marketing Director, H.B. 3817 is about helping the environment.
“With this pilot program in place, the state of Illinois will surely realize the important role a well-working Mechanical Insulation system will play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing a cleaner environment for all Illinois residents,” he said.
The passage of the bill through both legislative chambers was just the beginning of the work to enact H.B. 3817. The House of Representatives has 30 days to send the bill to the Governor, who then has an additional 60 days to take action (sign the bill). The legislation is subject to appropriation, so now the leaders from both Locals are busy advocating for funding and working hard to educate the Capitol Development Board on the value of Mechanical Insulation.
Once the bill is signed into law, the CDB must prepare and provide a report to the General Assembly by July 1, 2025, on the results of their audits and their plan for remediation and repair.
This is important work. The effort of this collaboration opens the door for other Locals to follow suit in their state.
If your local would like to pursue similar legislation to promote the Mechanical Insulation Industry, please reach out to LMCT Deputy Director Gina Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314-683-6136.