Today’s special session on labor relations focused on the good work being done by local Labor Management Cooperation Committees around the country, and the role LMCCs have in raising market share and recruiting new talent to the industry.
Rex Ferry, NECA President, John Negro, NECA Vice President, District 7, and Geary Higgins, NECA Vice President, Labor Relations, opened the session with reports on NECA’s work to improve and promote positive labor relations on the national level. NECA and the IBEW have held two joint NLMCC retreats this year, focusing on where the industry is, and where it needs to go.
“[IBEW International President] Ed Hill gets it,” Ferry said. “Together we’ve been able to create programs like the Code of Excellence and agreements to recapture small work. However, he’s not going to force anything on his members. So we have to work at the local level to make any real impact.”
To discuss those local efforts, chapter managers and contractors from the four NECA regions each described the own LMCC activities.
Jeff Collins and Dan Neal described the community outreach programs the Western Ohio LMCC has sponsored and the how they have united labor and management outside of work in service projects. “You have to include everyone,” Neal remarked. Neal also advised getting professional public relations help on communication projects. He reports that the area has seen a 12 percent increase in market share.
Dan Schaeffer and Doug Martin portrayed the St. Louis LMCC, the Electrical Connection, as the public face of the industry. The organization’s +5 homeowners protection plan led to greater involvement in community building and service projects, at the mayor’s request. “Such projects helped erase negative impressions that people had about union contractors,” Martin said.
Gary Neil and Chase Pendergraft explained the importance of both doing good work and then telling people about the good work you’ve done. Pendergraft played a radio ad that the East Tennessee LMCC produced that named the NECA member contractors who had worked in the community’s Habitat for Humanity program and how they could be trusted to do work for home and building owners, too.
Jeff Zuniga and Don Campbell reported that Northern California LMCC efforts on meeting very specific local, regional and statewide needs. “We reach out to local school districts with information,” Campbell said. “We are the best and first resource for electrical construction information, and we do whatever it takes to things right for the client.”
Q&A followed the brief presentations, with many NECA members praised the high level of organization and collaboration the profiled LMCCs activities demonstrated.
A download of the special session slides will be available on NECA’s website following NECA 2009 Seattle.