ANNUAL LABOR REPORT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Analysis of Data..........3
Growth in manhours was widespread throughout the United States in 2004 with further increases
anticipated in 2005 by almost half of responding Chapters. Labor is plentiful and nonunion
competition remains the primary concern of contractors.
2004 Hours and Bargaining Trends
Manhours worked increased or remained the same in two-thirds of responding Chapters. Even with
this improvement over last year, manhours remain below their level of five years earlier in two-thirds of
reporting Chapters. The outlook is even better for 2005 with only 12 percent anticipating a reduction
Changes in market share, 2003 through expected 2005, have been minimal. Estimated market share
of union sheet metal contractors for 2004 was 38 percent. New settlements negotiated in 2004, a light
bargaining year, had an average first year increase of 4.6 percent with the lowest average in the
Most Chapters continue to report a high level of cooperation with labor. They generally reported at
least one of the available measures to make union contractors more competitive with the nonunion.
Many areas without Equality Funds would like to have them.
Joint Labor-Management Committees are widespread throughout the industry and received praise
for their accomplishments. Grievance activity remains minimal, except where work volume is low
Collective Bargaining Issues
Health and welfare contributions are increasing almost everywhere, even as benefits are becoming
more restrictive. The average fund increased its hourly contribution by $.93 in 2003. All Chapters
reported that retirees are covered by the health and welfare program, most commonly on a sharing
of cost basis with the retiree.
Illegal drug use was identified as a serious problem by close to three-quarters of respondents.
Negotiated alcohol/substance abuse policies are widespread. Random drug testing policies have
become more prevalent than in past years.
The number one challenge for contractors in the coming years remains nonunion competition. There
is also widespread concern over the increasing number of retirees and the ability to recruit qualified
new entrants to replace them. About half of Chapters reported that work is being sought in new
markets, most often residential and service.
While not all respondents are identical each year, some change in responses are evident compared
to a year earlier:
o Manhour outlook for the coming year is positive.
o Joint Labor-Management Committees are increasingly active.
o Percentage increase in new settlements is higher.
o Random drug testing is more widely permitted.
o Industry promotional programs are growing in numbers
Analysis of Data
Responses were received to the SMACNA State of the Industry Survey from 48 of the 101 Chapters in
the United States and Canada, a response rate of close to half. The responses were geographically
representative and include information from most major metropolitan areas.
In an improvement from last year, manhours increased or were unchanged in two-thirds of
responding Chapters. The rebound fell short of offsetting years of reduced manhours. Only one
Chapter in five reported that 2004 manhours exceed 1999. The outlook for 2005 is favorable with
almost half of Chapters anticipating higher manhours and 12 percent expecting a decline. Manhours
worked in 2004 and anticipated in 2005 were most positive in the West; however, manhours for three-
quarters of Chapters remain below five years earlier (Figures 1 through 3).
2004 Manhours Compared to 2003
Manhours Remained Same
Reported mean decrease of 13.9%
Reported mean increase of 9.5% Figure 1
2004 Manhours Compared to 1999
Manhours Remained Same
10% Manhours Increased
Reported mean decrease 21.6% Figure 2
Reported mean increase 19.9%
2005 Predicted Manhours
Manhours Remain Same Manhours Increase
Estimated manhours decrease 7.6% Figure 3
Estimated manhours increase 7.5%
Average Employment for 2004
Employment during 2004 has averaged 80 percent, unchanged from a year earlier, with little regional
variation. There were Chapters in all regions reporting employment of more than 90 percent. Only in
the East were there reports of less than 70 percent (Figure 4).
Estimated Percentage of Sheet Metal
Work Performed By Union Contractors
39 38 38
1999 2003 2004 2005
Annual changes in percentage of sheet metal work performed by union contractors are small, but
the current portion is down from five years earlier. The 2004 percentage was 38 and is expected to
remain unchanged in 2005 (Figure 5). Percentage of union work is highest in the Midwest.
Selected Work Categories
Percent 14 12.3
State Work Davis Bacon Work PLA
Among special categories of work, state prevailing wage projects account for nearly 20 percent of
total volume (Figure 6). This includes Chapters reporting no state prevailing wage regulations. Work
under Project Labor Agreements was most common in the East where some Chapters reported this to
be the most prevalent way to contract work. Close to half of Chapters reported jurisdictional
challenges with other crafts to be a problem(Figure 7).
Cooperation with Local Union
Very Cooperative 51
Somewhat Cooperative 37
Somewhat Uncooperative 4
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Percentage of Chapters
Good relations with labor continue to be the norm. Almost 90 percent of Chapters rate relations as
either very or somewhat cooperative (Figure 8). All responses in the Midwest were in the two most
cooperative categories. Poorer labor-management cooperation tended to be associated with other
negative local industry characteristics
Local Grievance Activity
in Recent Years
9% Figure 9
Grievances are generally infrequent or declining. Stable activity was often noted to be no
grievances either now or in earlier years. Few or no grievances were identified as the result of good
labor-management relations (Figure 9).
Joint Labor-Management Committee
Joint Labor-Management Committees are found in four of five areas. Their activities are viewed
favorably. Meetings are generally scheduled monthly or quarterly (Figure 10).
Market Recovery Vehicles Available
Specialty Agreements 60
Resolution 78 67
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Most responding Chapters reported at least one of the available measures to make union
contractors more competitive with the nonunion segment of the industry. Prevalence is little changed
from a year earlier. Many areas without Equality Funds would like to have them (Figure 11).
Bargaining activity was relatively light in 2004 with a quarter of respondents reporting bargaining
results. The average first year increase was $1.70 or 4.6 percent, somewhat higher than the prior year.
Half of the settlements were for three years with the remainder for longer periods. The national
average first year settlement was held down by the average percentage in the Midwest. Use of
mutual gains/interest bargaining was widespread, usually with success. For 2005, 40 percent of
Chapters will be negotiating new agreements (Figures 12, 13, 14 and 15).
2004 Negotiated Wage/Fringe Increases
Compared to 2002 and 2003
5 4.5 4.6
4 3.7 3.8 3.6
0 Figure 12
2002 2003 2004
1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year
Regional First Year Sheet Metal
Increases Negotiated in 2004
East Midwest West
Use of Mutal Gains/Interest Based
Bargaining Techniques in 2004 Bargaining
Percent of Chapters Negotiating New Contracts
or Wage/Fringe Reopener in 2005
Will NOT Negotiate
Percent of Area Agreements
Containing Selected Provisions
H&W Maint of Benefits 37
Alternative Pension 60
Classified Workers 56
Apprentice Rotation 23
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Other provisions are included in agreements to varying degrees. Related to manning, about two-
thirds of contracts permit Preapprentices and over half include Classified Workers (Figure 16).
Maintenance of benefits language for health and welfare benefits is included in about one-third of
All Chapters reported that retirees are covered by the health and welfare program whether the
individual retires early or at 65. It is most common for the cost of coverage to be divided between the
health and welfare program and the retiree (fund is subsidizing coverage). With one exception, funds
fully paying for retiree health benefits were in the East. Most plans increased the employer
contribution to health and welfare and adjusted benefits. The average increase in health and
welfare contribution was $.93(Figures 17, 18 and 19).
Retiree Health & Welfare Coverage
Retires Before Medicare Eligibility
Fund Fully Pays
Individual Fully Pays
Retiree Health & Welfare Coverage
Retires At Medicare Eligibility
Fund Fully Pays
Individual Fully Pays
Recent Changes Made to
Health & Welfare Plan
Increased Contribution Changed Provisions
Unlike many questions, there are different regional views on drug/substance abuse. Illegal drug use in
viewed as a serious problem or worse in about three-quarters of all areas, including all in the West.
Almost all Chapters, except in the East, have a negotiated alcohol/substance abuse policy (Figure
Illegal Drug Use Problem
Very Serious Serious Minimal
Random drug testing is widely permitted in most alcohol/substance abuse policies, especially when
required by owners. Random drug testing policies have become more prevalent in the last year.
Most areas reported some owners/general contractors required random testing, however it was
usually less than half. (Figures 21, 22, and 23).
Negotiated Alcohol/Substance Abuse Policy
81% Figure 21
Policy Provides for Random Drug Testing
*Many respondents that answered yes qualified that their policy provides for random drug testing when required by owners. SMACNA
estimates that 19 Chapter agreements include random drug testing regardless of owner requirements.
Percent of General Contractors/Owners
Requiring Random Drug Testing
0-24% 25-49% 50-74% 75-100%
Require Random Testing
The most important labor relations challenges to be faced by contractors in the next few years were
1. Nonunion competition
2. Recruiting new entrants/labor supply
3. Labor cost.
Nonunion competition was again the number one issue and is related to labor cost. Health care
costs, last year’s number two issue, was mentioned by a number of respondents.
Relating to other issues, the A-701 version of the SFUA continues to experience increased usage
(Figure 24). For the first time it was identified by a majority of respondents in all regions. Manpower
shortages and provisions to enhance worker productivity were infrequently noted (Figures 25) . While
a majority of local unions have lost membership in the past 10 years, increases in the number of newly
indentured apprentices were reported in 31 percent of areas. Most of the positive responses were in
the West (Figure 26).
Version of SFUA
A-7-01 A-3-91 Other
No Figure 25
Local Union Membership Change
Last 10 Years
Over three-quarters of Chapters reported the existence of labor-management programs that market
the benefits of the industry’s skilled craft training (Figure 27). Most programs appear to be customized
to reflect their area. In a related labor-management cooperative effort, 60 percent of areas
reported joint lobbying on issues.
About half of chapters reported that work is being sought in new markets. Most often mentioned
were residential and service. There were comments that in the current environment no opportunity
can be ignored.
Over 90 percent of Chapters, including all in the West, reported that their local participated in the
SMWIA’s Paid Organizer Program. At least some success in “stripping” workers from nonunion shops
was reported in most areas. Some success in organizing was also reported; however, two Chapters in
the West accounted for half the total number.
Print Ad 45
Other Ad 24
Public Relations 38
0 10 20 30 40 50
Measures of activity were weakest in the East. Only a third of responding Chapters reported higher
manhours in 2004 and an equal portion are expecting increases in 2005. The region reported the
lowest market share and highest bargaining results.
Years of declining manhours have ended in Kentucky, but no reversal is seen in the coming year. The
result has been declining market share as the wage difference with nonunion has increased. This
could be mitigated with better crew mix and reduced work restrictions. Health and welfare
contributions increased while benefits were reduced. Retirees are covered by the plan, but at no
cost to the plan. In the coming years, efforts will be made to at least maintain the present market
Work is plentiful in Central Florida, but so is nonunion competition. Manhours increased in 2004 at the
same rate as overall volume. A very cooperative relationship with labor through a labor-
management committee has resulted in a residential agreement and productivity advances.
Contract measures are in place to make union contractors more competitive. Retirees are covered
by the health and welfare program, but fully pay the cost themselves. There is also the need in the
area to replace older workers who will be retiring (apprentice indentures are steady).
South Florida has experienced increasing manhours with expansion anticipated to continue in 2005.
Advances have been insufficient to increase market share. Local labor relations are very
cooperative. A Joint Labor-Management Committee meets quarterly and has developed a
residential contract and productivity surveys. The local agreement includes all measures to make
union contractors more competitive. Health and welfare contributions increased, benefits decreased
and co-payments were revised. Although there remain unemployed workers, shortages for certain
skills exist. There is a long-term need to replace aging workers and apprentice indentures have
Efforts to maintain market share in Jacksonville have been successful. The employment level is high.
Job targeting, organizing and marketing have all been utilized. The local agreement includes all
measures to make union contractors more competitive. Retirees are covered by the health and
welfare plan, if they pay the cost. Illegal drug use is viewed as a serious problem. While there is an
alcohol/substance abuse policy, it excludes drug testing. Contractors could be more competitive if
labor supply permitted contractual crew ratios. Local union membership and apprentices have
An improving economy in Georgia increased manhours in 2004 with further increases expected in
2005. Market share is stable and labor-management cooperation is excellent; however, there is no
Joint Labor-Management Committee. While some measures to assist contractor competitiveness
exist, a light commercial agreement is needed. Grievances are non-existent in the area. Managing
health and welfare costs has required many changes to the plan. A widening margin between
nonunion and union wage and benefit packages and concerns regarding productivity continue to
worry contractors in 2005.
Years of declining manhours are expected to end in 2005 in Dayton. A poor economy has reduced
construction activity. Management has found labor to be very cooperative. Through a labor-
management committee, a referral list has been developed which better matches skills to needs.
Contractors could be more competitive if an equity fund were negotiated and fringes were paid on
hours worked instead of hours paid. Inertia from the rank and file is making it challenging in
overcoming competitive disadvantages.
Detroit is anticipating an upward turnaround in manhours in 2005. Market share is steady with state
prevailing wage work important in this market. Relations with labor are very cooperative which has
resulted in a decline in grievances. The health and welfare fund fully pays the benefits for all retirees.
Negotiations for a contract renewal are scheduled for 2005. There remains the need to more
effectively deal with nonunion competition.
A small upturn in manhours is anticipated in 2005 in Michiana, IN following years of declines. State
prevailing wage projects are significant in the area. An active Joint Labor-Management Committee
is promoting the industry. Contractors are being monitored more closely by the local union resulting in
increased grievances. The local agreement includes the 55/30 retirement plan and maintenance of
benefits for health and welfare contributions. While illegal drug use is a serious problem and the local
agreement has an alcohol/substance abuse policy, there is no random drug testing.
Manhours increased in 2004 in Evansville, but remain below five years earlier. Currently, employment
level is low. State prevailing wage work is important. Labor and management have a very
cooperative relationship and a Joint Labor-Management Committee has recently been
implemented. Early retirement and worker attitude are issues to be faced in the coming years.
Contractors need help in being more competitive with nonunion, especially in the light commercial
and residential markets.
There has been little year-to-year change in manhours in Northern New Jersey. As a result, union
contractors are performing less of the total work each year. State prevailing wage work is very
important to contractors. Few measures to make contractors more competitive with the nonunion
segment are included in the local agreement. A new agreement was negotiated in 2004 with
increases of $3 for each of two years. The largest portion of the first year increase was allocated to
the health and welfare fund. The fund fully pays for coverage of all retirees. Illegal drug use is
considered a serious problem and no general contractors or owners require random drug testing.
Years of increasing manhours in Central and Southern New Jersey were offset by a weak 2004. There
are many workers available for employment and share of union work is declining. Most union projects
are prevailing wage jobs. A Joint Labor-Management Committee has recently been formed.
Contract terms which assist contractors in combating nonunion competition are needed in the local
agreement. Residential construction is an untapped potential market.
Boston has experienced manhour declines, but the area is coming off an exceptionally strong period.
Percentage of work performed union is down and most projects are performed under Project Labor
Agreements. Almost no measures are included in the local agreement to enhance competitiveness
and there is the potential for increased labor-management cooperation. Jurisdictional challenges
between crafts are a problem in the area. Efforts are underway to implement a union promoted
local supplemental pension fund. To enhance worker productivity, flex hours have been
implemented in shops.
With new projects started, years of declining manhours in New York City are expected to be reversed
in 2005. There is a high level of cooperation between labor and management and grievances are
infrequent. Many measures are included in the local agreement to increase competitiveness,
however, a Preapprentice or Classified Worker classification is needed. The labor agreement will be
renegotiated in 2005. There is a need to increase efforts to retain and expand market share.
A 2004 increase in manhours in Southeast New York is expected to continue in 2005 as the local
economy expands. The employment level is high and market share is increasing. Most work in the
area is performed under a Project Labor Agreement. There is a high level of cooperation between
labor and management. An active Joint Labor-Management Committee has implemented an
Equality Fund. A wide variety of contract language exists to assist contractors in being more
competitive. Supply of an adequate number of trained workers is of concern.
Years of declining manhours on Long Island, NY are anticipated to continue in 2005. Nonunion
competition has increased in recent years, but market share remains stable. There is the potential for
improved relations with labor. The local agreement includes few measures to make union contractors
more competitive with nonunion. If a worker retires before Medicare eligibility, the health and welfare
fund fully pays for coverage. This agreement will be renegotiated in 2005.
Public sector projects resulted in increased manhours in Buffalo in 2004 as well as full employment.
Expansion in the union sector has been matched by the nonunion. Some measures exist in the local
agreement to make contractors more competitive, but a light commercial and service agreement
would be helpful. Bargaining in 2004 resulted in a four year agreement with annual increases about
3.5 percent. The parties utilized mutual gains/interest bargaining techniques. Nonunion competition is
expected to continue to be a serious challenge.
Philadelphia experienced flat manhours in 2004, a trend that is expected to continue in 2005,
reflecting the local economy. An active Joint Labor-Management Committee is involved in a
number of initiatives. While the local agreement includes many measures to make union contractors
more competitive, there remains a need for a classified worker. Negotiations in 2004 resulted in a
three year agreement with increase of $3.25 each year. $2.00 of the first year increase was allocated
to health and welfare. There was some success in using mutual gains/interest bargaining techniques
during negotiations. Health care costs and possible withdrawal of the carpenters from the AFL-CIO
are of concern.
After years of decline, manhours in Connecticut have leveled off. There is considerable labor
available to meet any increased activity and market share has declined. Most work is performed
under Project Labor Agreements. There is the potential for improved cooperation with labor as
evidenced by increasing grievances. While some measures are available to assist contractor
competitiveness, the Equity Fund is inadequate. A large increase in the health and welfare
contribution was required in 2004. Negotiations are scheduled in 2005 in an environment of strong
Employment level and market share are highest in the Midwest. Half of Chapters reported that there
will be contract negotiations in 2005.
Manhours in St. Louis leveled off in 2004 after years of increase and are expected to be little changed
in 2005. There is full employment and a stable market share. Some measures to assist union
contractor’s competitiveness are in the local agreement. Illegal drug use is considered a minimal
problem, partly due to a strong substance testing policy which includes random testing. Nonunion
competition is a long-term challenge. Next negotiations will occur in 2006. Both the size of
membership of the local union and the number of newly indentured apprentices are on the increase.
The sheet metal industry on its own, and in cooperation with other industry sectors, has been active in
industry promotion, including new area project agreements and a newspaper insert.
Iowa experienced growth in manhours in 2004 with expansion anticipated to continue in 2005. Some
areas are experiencing full employment. Projects are plentiful resulting in a steady percentage of
work for union contractors. Larger projects, especially all union, are prone to jurisdictional challenges
between crafts. There is a very cooperative relationship with labor and a Joint Labor-Management
Committee has promoted the industry and safety. Pre-apprentice language is widespread, but only
one agreement in the state includes a Classified Worker. There was one new settlement in 2004 for
three years with increases just over a dollar each year. Illegal drug use is a very serious problem. The
drug/alcohol program and emphasis on safety training are enhancing worker productivity.
Illowa has experienced years of declining manhours which are anticipated to continue in 2005.
Performance reflects the local economy. During this period there has also been a reduction in the
portion of work performed by union contractors. A Joint Labor-Management Committee, meeting
monthly, has promoted PLA’s , safety and the industry. A number of measures are included in the
local agreement to improve contractor competitiveness, but there remains the need for a job
targeting fund. A new agreement was negotiated in 2004 which resulted in increases of 3.5 percent
each year for five years. The group participates in an extensive area-wide program that markets the
benefits of the industry.
Years of significant reductions in hours worked are expected to be reversed in 2005 in Wichita. Losses
in market share are also expected to rebound. Relations with labor are very cooperative. There is no
Joint Labor-Management Committee in the area. Most measures to enhance union contractor
competitiveness are included in the labor agreement.
A poor economy, restricted state funding and improved capabilities of nonunion contractors have all
adversely affected the unionized sheet metal industry in Springfield, IL. State prevailing wage work is
very important in this market. There is no Joint Labor-Management Committee and some measures
are available to assist contractor competitiveness. Programs have been developed to facilitate
residential work. Labor and management are working on an alcohol/substance abuse policy to
address illegal drug use in the industry.
Chicago has experienced small yearly changes in manhours in recent years. The outlook for 2005 is
favorable. There is a high employment level and stable market share. To assist union contractors
become more competitive, a residential specialty agreement and Classified Worker are needed. The
agreement includes a drug/alcohol abuse policy and a random drug testing requirement by general
contractors and owners is widespread. Contractors in the Windy City remain concerned about
escalating health and welfare costs. There will be negotiations for a new agreement in 2005.
There has been a severe downturn in manhours in Central Ohio with a similar drop in market share.
The poor economy and nonunion competition have adversely effected the industry. Relations with
labor are very cooperative, however, more language in the local agreement to assist contractor
competitiveness is needed. Responsible health and welfare fund administration has maintained a
sound financial position. Illegal drug use is a very serious problem with most owners and general
contractors requiring random drug testing. The state of the local economy is making it very difficult
for the industry to thrive.
While manhours increased in 2004 in Cincinnati, they remain below those reported five years earlier.
No change is expected in 2005 with a stable market share. There is the potential for better relations
with labor and the creation of a labor-management committee. Few measures are included in the
local agreement to assist contractor competitiveness with an Equity Fund needed. Retirees fully pay
for their health benefits. Illegal drug use is a very serious problem. Half of general contractors require
random drug testing and this is included in the alcohol/substance abuse policy. Health care costs
remain a concern as is the need for more agreement flexibility.
There have been small annual changes in manhours in Central Indiana with the current trend
upward. Market share has, however, declined with state prevailing wage work important. There are
very cooperative relations with labor and an active Joint Labor-Management Committee. Many
measures are available to assist union contractor competitiveness, but an Equity Fund Program
would be helpful. Negotiations in 2004 resulted in a three year agreement with annual increases just
over three percent. Mutual gains/interest bargaining techniques helped the initial phase of
negotiations. Control of fringe benefit costs will be a challenge in the coming years.
A weak economy in the past and a poor outlook are adversely affecting manhours in Michigan. The
employment level is low and market share is steady. While all measures to assist contractors become
more competitive are available, they are insufficient to offset lower nonunion labor costs. A variety of
factors will make it difficult for contractors to thrive in the coming years. Lack of work will make it
more difficult if the economy reverses as the workforce has decreased.
In Northeastern Illinois manhours declined in 2004 and are expected to remain at the current level in
2005. Market share is high and steady. Labor-management cooperation has the potential for
exceeding its current level. A Joint Labor-Management Committee is promoting the industry through
scholarships and marketing. The local agreement permits Preapprentices. A new agreement was
negotiated in 2004 providing increases of about $2.50 each year. Mutual gains/interest bargaining
techniques were utilized with some initial success. Escalating wage and fringe benefit costs will
challenge contractors as nonunion competition continues to grow.
A healthier economy in 2005 is expected to reverse years of declining manhours in Colorado. Market
share has also declined and state prevailing wage work is important. Labor and management have
a very cooperative relationship and a Joint Labor-Management Committee has implemented a
number of programs. The local agreement includes many measures to assist contractors to be more
competitive, however the gap between union and nonunion wages and fringes has widened. The
health and welfare fund covers, but does not pay for early retirees. Contract negotiations are
scheduled in 2005. Local union membership has declined, but apprentice indentures rose in 2004.
The past year was one of weak performance in Houston with some rebound in manhours anticipated
in 2005. Improved market share is also expected. Relations with labor are very cooperative and a
Joint Labor-Management Committee is focusing on continuing education programs. All measures to
assist union contractors in being more competitive are included in the local agreement. Negotiations
this year resulted in a moderate settlement with a reopener in 2005. Mutual gains/interest bargaining
techniques facilitated negotiation of improved ratios and specialty addenda.
Increased area building has resulted in years of growing manhours in North Texas/Dallas. There is full
employment and a stable market share. Some measures are included in the local agreement to
make union contractors more competitive, but better ratios and greater flexibility are still needed.
There is a “maintenance of benefits” clause for health and welfare contributions which is capped at
$.50. Health and welfare contributions remained unchanged in 2004 with a PPO option adopted.
Random drug testing is widely required by area general contractors and owners and is permitted in
The market has been fairly steady in San Antonio with some expansion expected in 2005. The union
segment has maintained its share of the work. Most measures to assist union contractors be more
competitive are included in the local agreement, but the wage package remains an impediment to
increasing volume. Health and welfare contributions remained unchanged in 2004. There will be
contract negotiations in 2005. The upturn in demand for labor at the Toyota plant will impact labor
Manhours have and will remain steady in New Mexico. After dropping significantly, market share has
stabilized. Relations between labor and management are very cooperative. The agreement contains
most measures to make union contractors more competitive. A new agreement was negotiated in
2004 for four years which resulted in annual increases of four percent. The area has a history of
successfully utilizing mutual gains/interest bargaining techniques. Health and welfare contributions
increased significantly and fringe costs will continue to be an important issue.
Manhours are up in Fox Valley, WI, but remain below levels of five years ago. Earlier market share
losses have stabilized. A Joint Labor-Management Committee is now being formed. More measures
to assist union contractors competitiveness exists in the labor agreement are needed. At normal
retirement age, retirees pay for their own health and welfare coverage. Illegal drug use is a minimal
problem as the contract includes a substantive drug testing policy which includes random testing.
Competing with nonunion is and will continue to be a serious problem. Contract negotiations are
scheduled in 2005.
Manhours in Madison have been flat for a number of years as has market share. There is strong
nonunion competition in a sluggish economy. Some measures are in the local agreement to make
union contractors more competitive, but there remains the need to give contractors more crew
flexibility. Contractors believe that the local union’s lack of recognition of nonunion sector growth has
impacted competitiveness. Increased grievance activity and concerns regarding fringe benefits will
continue to be important issues in 2005.
Twin City manhours and market share have been little changed in recent years at an overall weak
level of activity. There is a very cooperative relationship between labor and management and a
Joint Labor-Management Committee has hired a full-time lobbyist. Some measures exist to make
union contractors more competitive, including residential rebates. The low level of activity has
increased friction between labor and management. Health and welfare contributions have
increased and plan benefits are down. A new contract will be negotiated in 2005.
Prospects are most positive in the West. Almost two-thirds of Chapters experienced higher manhours
in 2004 and an equal portion expect further improvements in 2005. Illegal drug/alcohol use is a most
serious problem, but all contracts included a substance abuse policy, most with random testing when
required by the owner.
Manhours in San Diego have been weak in recent years, reflecting the local economy. There is full
employment and architectural sheet metal workers, especially, are in short supply. The percentage
of union work remains about the same. Work volume is strongly influenced by state prevailing wage
projects. Relations with labor are very cooperative and there is no Joint Labor-Management
Committee. Using sheet metal technicians and technician trainees to perform nearly any task they
are qualified to perform is a competitive benefit. Health and welfare maintenance of benefits is
achieved by reallocating wages to fund contributions. There are continuing challenges in meeting
open shop competition.
Very weak manhours in recent years in Oregon are anticipated to be partially reversed in 2005 as
weakness in the tech industries is offset by growth of medical projects. A Joint Labor-Management
Committee has promoted community activities and partnering. The health and welfare fund is being
actively managed in order to remain solvent. The contract will be renegotiated in 2005. The future
looks favorable with improved work opportunities and a more cooperative Labor – Management
Years of declining manhours in Western Washington ended in 2004 with some improvement
expected in 2005. Recently, market share has been steady, but remains below the level of five years
earlier. There is a very cooperative relationship with labor and a Joint Labor-Management
Committee. Most measures to assist contractors in being more competitive have been incorporated
in the local agreement. In 2004, a new five year contract was negotiated with annual increases close
to three to four percent. Health and welfare maintenance of benefits language caps unilateral
employer increase with excess shared equally with workers. Fringe cost control will continue to be a
challenge in the coming years.
Due to the local economy, Tri-Counties, CA has experienced strong growth in manhours in the last
five years. The majority of the increase was in 2004 and manhours are expected to remain at the
2004 level in 2005. There is full employment and union contractors performed a greater percentage
of work in 2004. Very cooperative relations with labor have resulted in a labor-management
committee and no grievances. Negotations in 2004 resulted in a five and a half year agreement with
a large first year settlement and subsequent increases declining from five percent. There was some
success in utilizing mutual gains/interest bargaining techniques. In the current environment labor rates
and labor availability are of concern.
Sacramento has experienced strong growth in manhours, which is expected to continue into 2005.
There is full employment and a steady market share. State prevailing wage work is very important. A
very cooperative relationship with labor as well as an active Joint Labor-Management Committee
have implemented promotional and training programs. Most measures to make union contractors
more competitive are available. Service sector work is increasing steadily and there remains room for
Manhours increased in 2004 in Bay Area, CA, but not enough to offset five year declines. Further
gains are anticipated in 2005. A stable percentage of sheet metal work is performed by union
contractors. Labor-management cooperation is high and a Joint Labor-Management Committee is
working on a joint marketing program with other outreach programs tied in. Most contract provisions
to promote competitiveness are available to contractors. The local agreement will be renegotiated
in 2005. The areas joint marketing and training programs are designed to create greater awareness
of professionalism of the job.
While manhours remain below five years earlier in Orange Empire, CA, a strong 2004 is expected to
be followed by further gains in 2005. State prevailing wage work is very important. Although labor-
management cooperation has the potential for improvement, a Joint Labor-Management
Committee is progressing on a number of programs, including drug testing. Most measures to make
union contractors more competitive are included in the local agreement, but there could be better
A long upward trend in manhours is expected to continue in 2005 in Los Angeles reflecting the local
economy. There is full employment and very cooperative relations with labor. Although the local
agreement includes most measures to make union contractors more competitive, the wage
differential makes competitiveness difficult. Contractors consider illegal drug use a very serious
problem. While most owners and general contractors require random drug testing, the
alcohol/substance abuse policy does not provide for random testing. Although many challenges
face the industry, they are being addressed by labor and management.
The local economy in British Columbia is resulting in increased manhours and cooperation with labor
is resulting in increased market share. An active Joint Labor-Management Committee has focused
on industry promotion projects. The local agreement contains most measures to make union
contractors more competitive with nonunion. The agreement will be renegotiated in 2005. In the next
few years assuring a supply of qualified manpower will be of concern.
Manhours in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, CA are down slightly compared to the previous year. It
is hoped that considerable redevelopment work underway and planned will result in more work.
Relations with labor continue to be positive, but the impact of the nonunion sector continues to be a
Central Valley, CA has experienced a considerable drop in manhours in the past year even with
some pockets of heavy construction. A comprehensive promotional campaign is being developed
jointly with the mechanical and electrical segments. It will stress quality, safety, on time completion
and competitive cost.
Gains in manhours in Southern Nevada in 2004 are expected to continue in 2005, but remain below
the level of five years earlier. There is full employment and a high and steady market share. Relations
with labor are very cooperative and a Joint Labor-Management Committee has implemented
programs in safety, public relations and training. The local agreement includes most measures to
assist contractors to be more competitive, including sector addenda. Even with an increased health
and welfare contribution, costs to workers increased. The industry will be faced with challenges in
dealing with nonunion and exploiting opportunities in non-traditional markets. Organizing activities
have had some success.
Utah has experienced a number of years of declining manhours. In the present economic
environment no upturn is expected in 2005. There is a high level of labor-management cooperation.
Even without a formal labor-management committee, meetings are held to deal with industry issues.
The local agreement permits Preapprentices and Classified Workers. A number of steps have been
taken to manage health and welfare costs, including increasing the hourly contribution rate.
Contractors will be challenged to achieve a competitive wage and benefit package in upcoming
A declining manhour trend is beginning to reverse in Arizona. There is strong nonunion competition
and low market share. Relations with labor are very cooperative and the local agreement contains
most measures to assist contractors in their competitive position. Adjustments to health and welfare
benefits have contained fringe benefit costs. The contract may be reopened in 2005 depending on
manhours. There is a comprehensive labor-management program to market the benefits of skilled
Inland Northwest Washington experienced some upturn in manhours in 2004 with flat activity
expected in 2005. Union contractors are performing a smaller share of the work and there is
considerable additional capacity available. Most projects are in the public sector. There is the
potential for improved cooperation between labor and management. There are some measures in
the agreement to promote union competitiveness. A three year agreement was negotiated in 2004
with annual increase under $1.50. Retirees are covered by the health and welfare plan, if they pay
the cost. It is a very difficult area for union contractors to thrive.