Q2 2022
Welcome to the Southern States Millwrights' Industry Partner E-News. Through these quarterly 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.
Ford to build its largest manufacturing complex near Memphis, Tennessee
Ford Motor Company announced in September that it will build the largest auto-production complex in its 118-year history in Stanton, Tennessee, near Memphis. Called BlueOval City, the $5.6 billion complex will produce electric F-Series pickups and advanced batteries. The 3,600-acre campus will cover nearly 6 square miles and will include a supplier park. Ford and its partner SK Innovation also will build twin battery plants in central Kentucky.

Site-preparation work is currently taking place in Tennessee. Millwright work is expected to begin there in fall of 2023 or early 2024. The SSMRC and our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, is gearing up to provide the millwright labor needed for this massive project, said Steve Williams, business agent for Millwright Local 1554.

Learn more about the project here. Walbridge, Ford's general contractor for building construction, is announcing subcontractor events and future bid packages here. To learn more about the equipment-installation bid process, contact Steve Williams at swilliams@ssmrc4070.org.
$2.5 billion aluminum mill to be built in south Alabama
An Atlanta-based company’s plans to build a $2.5 billion, high-tech aluminum mill in Bay Minette, Alabama, will provide a wealth of opportunities for SSMRC partnering contractors and millwrights to install robotics and other equipment at a 3,000-acre site. Read more here. If you would like to be notified of bid requests for this project, please contact Jeff Smith, SSMRC Central Region director, at jsmith@ssmrc4070.org.
W&W|AFCO Steel to invest $18.7 million in Arkansas fabrication facility
Port of Little Rock
W&W|AFCO Steel, the United States' largest steel fabricator, announced April 20 it will invest $18.7 to transform the former LM Wind Power building at the Port of Little Rock in Arkansas into a steel-fabrication facility. The company, which makes steel for bridges and commercial and industrial facilities, has 18 production facilities in 11 states. Four existing locations are in Arkansas.

Read more about the Port of Arkansas project here. If you would like to be notified of bid requests for this project, please contact James Rowland, SSMRC Western Region director, at jrowland@ssmrc4070.org.
Hyundai to invest $5.54 billion to build electric vehicles, batteries in Georgia
Hyundai Motor Group announced in May that it will invest $5.54 billion in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in Bryan County, Georgia. The site will be the company's first to focus exclusively on electric vehicles, and it will have an annual capacity of 300,000 units. Ground is set to be broken on the vehicle plant in early 2023. Production is slated to start in 2025. Learn more about the project here. For more information about opportunities related to this project, contact Logan Brown, SSMRC Eastern Region director, at lbrown@ssmrc4070.org.
UBC Military Veterans Program training center opens near Fort Campbell
LEFT: The training center is at 2650 Hwy. 48 in Clarksville, Tennessee.
RIGHT: Esther Freeman instructs millwrights and carpenters during the first half of the program and millwrights during the second half.
A new training center that is part of the Military Veterans Program run by our parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, began training its first class of applicants earlier this month. The Clarksville, Tennessee, center is serving soldiers transitioning out of the U.S. Army at nearby Fort Campbell.

“It is an immense privilege to work with vets, the people who have served our country,” said Esther Freeman, who was hired to serve as an MVP instructor in Clarksville. “They have the discipline and diligence to see things through. I have a lot of respect for them.” Read more here.
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. Read more about the projects:

Russellville, Arkansas, training center open for business!
Classroom instruction is underway at the 30,000-square-foot Arkansas training center and the offices are open! The exterior is done, as is interior work on offices, classrooms, restrooms, and break-room areas. Next step: populate the training floor with several mockups and training areas for both carpenters and millwrights. New photos are added regularly to this photo album.

The new address is 340 North Shamrock Boulevard, Russellville, Arkansas, 72802. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Training Director Bryan Spradley at bspradley@aokcat.org or call the office at 479-967-4240.

Nashville, Tennessee, training center more than 60% complete
Brickwork is underway at the new 25,000-square-foot facility near Nashville, Tennessee. The facility 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 staff attend job fairs, career days
SSMRC business agents and regional directors regularly attend job fairs and career days at technical colleges and high schools in their areas. With current labor needs high, they are ramping up these efforts.

Pictured above are Cliff Tucker, business agent for Millwright Local 1000, and Logan Brown, director of the SSMRC's Eastern Region, attending the Fort Myers (Florida) Technical College job fair in April. This college has a turbine generator maintenance, inspection, and repair program.
SSMRC, UBC fighting tax fraud because it harms law-abiding contractors, workers
Regional councils and locals that make up the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, our parent organization, participated in more than 200 events and initiatives across the United States and Canada during construction-industry Tax Fraud Days of Action. See a recap here.

Construction-industry tax fraud harms law-abiding contractors, including our business partners, by forcing you to compete against companies that use illegal business practices to lower their labor costs.

In April, the Southern States Millwright Regional Council ran a geofence campaign, sent letters to attorneys general and political leaders, and implemented a member-education campaign. Learn more about why we're standing up to tax fraud and about our 2022 campaign here.
Western Region: Growth expanding in power-generation and conveyor/distribution markets
The Western Region of the SSMRC is looking at expanded growth in both the power-generation and conveyor/distribution markets over and above the 2022 spring season growth. Multiple new construction and maintenance outages have been added to our work scope, including several airport expansions. The automotive work outlook is still strong, with major projects ongoing in central Texas that should be releasing work to millwright subcontractors in the near future. The renewables and clean-energy markets also are looking at growth. Read more.
Central Region: Big projects are on the horizon
Through our partnerships with contractors, we identify upcoming projects and inform our business partners of bid opportunities for those projects. We identify these opportunities as much as two years in advance and provide the information filtered by the months when projects will come up for bid and complete with contact information for the projects and plant owners. I’d like to share some information about projects on the horizon. Read more.
Eastern Region: Strong partnerships overcome roadblocks
The first half of 2022 has been very busy. This is a great time to be a millwright as well as a contractor partner of the SSMRC. We greatly appreciate your communication on callouts as well as the flexibility you have shown in allowing us to staff your projects. I have seen a tremendous improvement in our collaboration, which has allowed us to improve our success rate. Read more.
Nuclear Office: The challenges and successes of the Spring 2022 outage season
The busy spring nuclear outage season presented a few challenges. With 12 turbine outages from February through April and a total call for just over 725 millwrights, we knew it would be a logistics hurdle. Click here to read how we collaborated with our partners to make the season a success.
Message from Southern District Labor Management Conference: Councils providing labor, training to keep pace as construction industry rebounds
UBC Southern District Vice President Dennis Donahou (right) addressed 250+ attendees.
UBC General President Douglas McCarron kicked off the packed agenda.
The SSMRC thanks all of our partnering contractors who attended the 2022 United Brotherhood of Carpenters Southern District Labor-Management Conference. More than 250 UBC business partners were in Orlando for the May event.

The primary message from the conference was that the construction industry is steadily rebounding from the pandemic. For the Southern District's millwrights, carpenters, and pile drivers and their employers work opportunities are diverse and plentiful. Union contractors are winning work and getting reliable labor from the District’s four regional councils, including the SSMRC. Training programs are hosting full classes and piloting innovative programs to keep pace with and anticipate the needs of employers and project owners. Learn more about the event here.
We hope to see you at upcoming events!
We enjoyed visiting with our business partners at the PowerGen International 2022 Conference in May. Pictured above, from left, are: David Bonds, president and nuclear representative; Rick Halford, political director; and Jeff Smith, Central Region director.

SSMRC staff will be attending the following events and look forward to talking about upcoming opportunities and ways we can work together or improve our existing partnership. If you would like to attend any of these events, please reach out to the regional director for your area.

All Regions:
  • Sept. 13: Construction Users Roundtable Member Meeting at UBC Carpenters International Training Center in Las Vegas
  • Sept. 26-28: Southeastern Construction Owners & Associates Roundtable fall meeting in Ponte Verdra, Florida

Western Region:
  • June 8-9: Downstream Conference
  • July 13-15: Texas Labor Management Conference
  • Aug. 3: Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Industry Show
  • Sept. 13-15: Texas A&M Turbomachinery and Pump Symposium   
Central Region:
  • June 8: Electrolux Job Fair in Memphis, Tennessee
  • June 22: Manfufacture Alabama Workforce Development Committee meeting in Montgomery, Alabama
  • July 9-13: Tennessee Valley Training Centers/Tennessee Valley Authority Conference in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Aug. 17-19: Tennessee State Manufacturing Conference in Milan, Tennessee
  • Sept.14-16: Manufacture Alabama Annual Conference in Point Clear, Alabama

Eastern Region:
  • June 17: Apprentice graduation ceremony and training center open house at the Savannah training center beginning at 9 a.m.
Governors attack order requiring project labor agreements on large federal projects
Governors of nine states in the SSMRC’s 11-state jurisdiction have signed a letter opposing an executive order issued in February that requires project labor agreements on large, federally funded construction projects.

PLAs help level the playing field for law-abiding contractors who hire skilled, local workers and pay fair wages and benefits. PLAs mean you won’t be forced to compete with contractors who lower their bids by illegally cheating workers and avoiding paying employment taxes.

If you live in one of the states highlighted in orange above, click here or the button below to contact your state legislators to encourage them to support PLAs at the local, state, and federal levels. (It takes less than a minute to send a letter.)
$2.89 billion released to rebuild airports under Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Over the next decade, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will create millwright work through investments of $73 billion in electric-grid and power-generation infrastructure, $55 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure, and $25 billion in airports. So far, $2.89 billion has been made available to rebuild U.S. airports.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the American economy added 428,000 jobs in April. The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent, unchanged from March. Read more from the latest jobs report here.
Georgia lawmakers approve program that would reward contractors for employing apprentices
Georgia lawmakers have approved a program that will reward contractors for employing apprentices. Through the High-demand Career Initiatives Program, Georgia contractors will be able to “sponsor” apprentices in U.S. Labor Department-registered apprenticeship programs for high-demand careers and receive a “contract completion award” of up to $10,000 for each apprentice who remains in their employment through program completion. Read more here.
Union helps pass law clamping down on contractor non-payment of workers’ compensation premiums
A law enacted in Tennessee with the help of the Southeast Carpenters Regional Council will make it tougher for unethical contractors to get away with not paying workers' compensation insurance premiums.

As in many other states, the Tennessee construction industry suffers from contractors and labor brokers cheating on workers’ compensation premiums. As a result, cheating contractors underbid law-abiding competitors. Read about how the new law addresses this problem here.
Ways to celebrate Forklift Safety Day
On National Forklift Safety Day June 14 please consider taking time to encourage safe practices in relation to these machines. Supervisors and crew leaders could hold brief jobsite meetings to review safety training or talk about common mistakes and ways to avoid them. You also can join other employers, industry leaders, workers, and manufacturers at an event being held online and in person. See the speaker lineup, read questions/answers from previous Forklift Safety Day events, and register for the 2022 event here.
OSHA extends comment period on proposed changes to injury/illness-reporting rule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended until June 30 the comment period on a rule that would amend its record-keeping regulation to require certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness information they are already required to keep. OSHA extended the deadline by 30 days at the request of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Learn more and submit a comment 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.