the local 601 difference


As a building owner or general contractor, one of the first considerations when working with a mechanical contractor is ensuring they hire skilled labor that stays on budget and finishes on schedule. How can you have confidence this will happen? While navigating the hiring process, you’ll need to think about the intangibles that can impact your bottom line.
  •  – Can workers complete the job safely?
  •  – Will they show up on time and be reliable?
  •  – Will they be able to problem-solve in challenging situations?
Unqualified workers can lead to serious problems from cost overruns to project delays that could damage reputation. Avoid these headaches by selecting mechanical contractors that consistently adhere to the highest standards and best practices in the industry. Look for exceptional training that includes on-the-job experience and a wide network of highly skilled tradespeople motivated to perform their best. Use a UA signatory contractor that provides high-quality craftsmanship in a cost-effective, safe and timely manner.
Here are four ways the Local 601 difference impacts today’s construction projects.

Exceptional Training

The United Association Steamfitters Local 601 apprenticeship program is the most comprehensive around. This paid program lasts five years and includes rigorous classes, testing and on-the-job training. Highly skilled instructors bring years of knowledge and real-world experience to the classroom.
Keith Budreau, a journeyman and superintendent at J.M. Brennan, notes that there’s a clear difference between union and non-union training in terms of the level of quality standards. After customers work with open shop and union workers in the field, this becomes evident.
“There’s just a higher benchmark for union-trained labor. Customers can have peace of mind knowing that a Local 601 trained steamfitter has put in the effort over five years to make sure their grades were hitting the marks and getting on-the-job experience,” said Budreau.

On-the-job Experience

Classroom learning is important, but the true test comes from practicing skills in the field. Local 601 equips workers to transform project blueprints into reality – with the training to know what’s needed and address challenges as they arise. Apprentices go beyond the classroom to work at local companies gaining real-world experience. For example, apprentices in Local 601’s Advanced Refrigeration class recently visited Sendik’s Food Market to learn how they operate their refrigeration system.
“Local 601 offers thorough training, covering every possible scenario a steamfitter could run into. This turns out well-rounded steamfitters who are knowledgeable in all aspects of the trade,” said Casey Boero, Local 601 journeyman and superintendent.

A Nationwide Network

Local 601 is a network of 2,800 members across Southeast Wisconsin and is closely connected with the United Association, a network of steamfitters across the U.S. and Canada. If many workers are needed, a Steamfitters Local 601 signatory can provide enough manpower. While some non-union contractors can hire workers through staffing agencies or open calls, Local 601’s network helps mobilize highly skilled labor within a few days to fill jobs faster.
Bill Pearson, foreman at Hooper Corporation, believes that customers will feel more confident when Local 601-trained employees arrive at the job site. “When contractors need to look for workers outside of Wisconsin, we know that they’re well-trained union craftspeople who have completed the same thorough apprenticeship,” said Pearson. “They are also held to high standards with strict drug and alcohol policies that their unions have in place.”

A Motivated Workforce

Union labor is more likely to stay on the job. A recent report found labor turnover is one-third less likely when union labor is employed versus open shop. Workers are also compensated more fairly and feel more invested because of it. Union workers make on average 18% more than their non-union counterparts. Beyond their excellent training, Local 601 Steamfitters receive a better compensation and benefits package that is highly motivational.
Steamfitters Local 601 union workers take pride in what they do and in being a part of the union.
“The Local 601 difference is in the consistency of the work, the quality of the finished product and a much lower level of callbacks for incorrect installation,” said Pearson.
Check out these questions to ask when hiring a contractor for your next project. To inquire about hiring the right Local 601 signatory contractor reach out to our team.

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