Q1 2022
Welcome to the Southern States Millwrights' Industry Partner E-News. Through these email newsletters, we hope to keep our current and prospective industry partners up to date on developments in our organization and in the labor industry in general, and on ways we can work together to meet mutual goals.
Military Veterans Program earns DOL recognition, grant
The U.S. Department of Labor has recognized our Military Veterans Program with a 2021 Hire Vets Gold Medallion Award. The program, run by our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, is a free, eight-week training initiative for soldiers transitioning out of the U.S. Army. It gives them the basic skill set of a first-year apprentice.

The program also received a Labor Department grant to assist military service members and their spouses dislocated by pandemic-caused delays. Through this grant, 39 MVP graduates received $1,500 each to purchase tools in 2021. In 2022, graduates are getting $1,500 for tools and the program is receiving $2,750 per graduate to enhance training.

We can't wait to put more graduates from this initiative to work for our partnering contractors. Read more about the program.
Update on training-center construction in Arkansas and Tennessee
New training centers that will address the shortage of skilled industrial construction workers and help contractors and facility owners staff projects with elite craftspeople are under construction in Russellville, Arkansas, and Nashville, Tennessee. A similar facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, opened last year. Read more about the current projects:

Russellville, Arkansas, training center nearing completion
The new millwright and carpenter training center in Russellville, Arkansas, is approximately 85% complete. The 30,000-square-foot new center will provide three times the space the current Russellville facility offers. Learn more about the Russellville center and the project's progress here.

Nashville, Tennessee, training center 35% complete
The new 25,000-square-foot facility near Nashville, Tennessee, will include two robot stations and a conveyor prop for training on floor conveyor and power and free monorail systems used in many manufacturing processes. Learn more about the Nashville center and keep up with its construction here. A 24/7 camera feed of the site is also available.
SSMRC provides compressors for training centers in Moss Point, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The SSMRC recently purchased compressors worth approximately $30,000 each for the Moss Point, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, training centers. Members will use the compressors to train for work in the petrochemical and related energy fields.
Let's pull together to solve workforce retention issues
I am asking our business partners to consider the retention issue we all face. For the SSMRC to continue delivering our value proposition – providing safe, professional, productive millwrights who help owners get their product to market efficiently and keep that product there the longest possible duration – we need consistency in the message and opportunity provided to future SSMRC members and business-partner employees. Read more.
Council staff participate in labor roundtable with vice president, DOL secretary
Two SSMRC staff members were among a small group of union leaders who met with the U.S. vice president and labor secretary in Durham, North Carolina, on March 2, sharing concerns about unfair competition from law-breaking contractors and about the need for government policies that support contractors who hire skilled workers and provide good wages and benefits.

The roundtable discussion was held after Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke during a visit to Durham Technical Community College. Learn more about the meeting.
Council leaders meet with politicians, industry leaders in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia
At two recent industry-government events and a private meeting, SSMRC representatives discussed the benefits of our workforce and of doing business with our partnering contractors.

EST Wayne Jennings, Political Director Rick Halford, and Central Region Director Jeff Smith met with Alabama political and industry leaders during the Manufacture Alabama Annual Legislative Reception and Dinner held in Montgomery Jan. 11. Halford and Smith also attended the 110th Tennessee Chamber Legislative Luncheon Feb. 22.

In a late-January meeting with Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Jennings and Halford discussed labor issues including visa-program abuses, project labor agreements, and tax and workers’ compensation fraud by unscrupulous contractors. Read more about the meeting here.

“The SSMRC needs to take advantage of these opportunities to get our branding and message to the right people so we and our business partners can be successful in future endeavors," Halford said.
Political Division: We're working to level the playing field for law-abiding contractors
The political arms of the Southern States Millwrights and our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, are working to stop illegal labor practices that give unscrupulous contractors and facility owners an unfair advantage when competing against law-abiding companies. These illegal labor practices include worker misclassification, tax fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, and more. Continue reading.
Nuclear Office: Web-based platform streamlines labor communications during outage seasons
To address and streamline the communication process before and during outage seasons, EST Jennings and the SSMRC Nuclear Office made the decision to research, develop, and build a web-based program specifically designed for the nuclear industry. In collaboration with our industry partners, the SSMRC implemented a new “real-time system” streamlining the process of meeting each outage’s labor needs. Read more.
Western Region: Help us build an accelerated pipeline of skilled labor to meet today's needs
Through our relationships with community colleges, vocational schools, high schools, and other educational outlets, we are building a pipeline of quality candidates to enter our program at an advanced level due to their previous work experience and training. These candidates can advance to journey level at an accelerated pace. Where we need your help, as an industry partner, is with involvement in local or state manufacturing associations, trade groups, and educational outlets like school boards, community colleges, and even universities. Read more.
Central Region: We’re dedicated to teamwork and advocating for our business partners
Our commitment is to provide an elite workforce committed to safety, productivity, professionalism, and training regardless of what industry we are working in. In addition, we identify upcoming projects and let our business partners know about bidding opportunities for those projects. Read more.
Eastern Region: We're providing business-development opportunities, not just skilled labor
I would like to report on the business-development resources available to our industry partners as well as some examples of successful campaigns. Three years ago, the SSMRC leadership team put in place the regional directors’ positions. These positions allow the directors the time and resources to build relationships within the industries our millwrights serve and to assist our partners in increasing work opportunities. Read more.
President signs executive order requiring project labor agreements on large federal construction projects
President Biden has signed an executive order requiring project labor agreements on federal construction projects that cost more than $35 million. Project labor agreements are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors that determine wages, employment conditions, and dispute-resolution processes.

The order will help level the playing field for our signatory contractors who work on federal projects, including nuclear-site maintenance and construction of airports and water infrastructure projects. Read more.
Bipartisan infrastructure law to generate millwright work, ensure ethical contractors can compete for federal projects
The bipartisan infrastructure plan signed into law in November is expected to create approximately 800,000 jobs. Millwright work will be created through investments of $73 billion in electric-grid and power-generation infrastructure, $55 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure, and $25 billion in airports. Learn more about what's in the law here and read it here. See fact sheets about funding the infrastructure law will deliver for projects in each state here.

Most of the construction projects funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law will be subject to Davis-Bacon prevailing wage labor standards, and workers on these projects must be paid at least the locally prevailing wage and fringe benefits for the work they perform. This ensures that responsible contractors can compete for federally funded or assisted construction contracts. Click here to learn more about Davis-Bacon as it applies to projects funded by the infrastructure law.
Approximately 678,000 jobs were added to the economy in February, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. Notable job growth occurred in the industries of construction, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and health care.
Proposed rule would update powered industrial trucks standard
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a proposed rule last month that would update standards for powered industrial trucks, including fork trucks, tractors, platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks and other specialized industrial trucks powered by an electric motor or an internal combustion engine.

The proposed rule would update design and construction requirements for future manufactured powered industrial trucks and address equipment manufactured before the effective date of the final rule. You can read the proposed rule here and submit comments about it here until May 17.
Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls to be held May 2-6
Falls accounted for more than a third of construction-industry fatalities in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics, and those deaths were preventable. Employers can participate in the National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction by having conversations with employees to discuss fall hazards (at particular jobsites and/or in general) and reinforce the importance of fall prevention.

You also could share with employees the presentation above and here that identifies many fall hazards millwrights face and suggests corrective actions. Learn more about the Stand-Down and access additional resources here.
OSHA offers free, no-penalty consultation program
OSHA offers a no-cost, on-site program in which consultants from state agencies or universities help small- and medium-sized contractors identify jobsite hazards, comply with OSHA standards, and establish or improve safety and health programs. These services do not result in citations or penalties. Learn more about the program and find an office in your state to schedule a consultation.