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  • Ironworkers Standards Of Excellence Increase Pride, Productivity and Craftsmanship
    Posted On: Jun 29, 2016

    By JoAnne Powers, June 30, 2016

    In 2007 the International Association of Ironworkers introduced seven Standards of Excellence as part of a labor-management initiative called IMPACT, the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust.  Union Historian and retired Ironworker Bill Hohlfeld:

    [Bill Hohlfeld]: “We need to be partners with the people that we go to work for.  And these are standards of excellence we felt that, as an organization, every contractor who’s employing us and paying our wages and paying our benefits, certainly deserves to have their employees adhering to.”

    By signing the Standards, Ironworkers agree to a wide range of behaviors ranging from adhering to responsibilities under their Collective Bargaining agreement and respecting their employer’s property and equipment to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and showing up for work prepared and fit for duty:

    [Bill Hohlfeld]: “They’re basic things, but it’s good to codify basic things.  Because, I think what happens in any organization…familiarity breeds contempt.  You develop this attitude of ‘yeah, well, everybody knows this,’ and at some point I think you have to step back and say, ‘Well, wait a minute…maybe everybody doesn’t know this, and maybe we need to say this out loud.’”

    The Ironworkers introduced the commitment to improve workplace conditions, increase work opportunities, and help maintain good union wages, benefits and standard of living:

    [Bill Hohlfeld]: “What [AFL Founder Samuel] Gompers talked about was an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work.  That union contractor needs to get the benefit of that honest day’s work if he’s going to stay in business, because if he doesn’t, then the only people that are gonna be around are gonna be the non-union contractors.  And those are the guys we don’t necessarily want to work for.”

    Hohlfeld says the Standards are intended to increase the pride, productivity and craftsmanship of every Ironworker in North America:

    [Bill Hohlfeld]: “This was the recognition of ‘absolutely, you guys are paying top dollar, we’re gonna give you top dollar,’ and I think it was a wise move on our part to take that stand.  You’re paying into an apprenticeship fund, well, you know what?  We’re gonna use that money in our apprenticeship fund, and we’re gonna provide top-notch training, and that’s what we do.  We have a rich history, we have a craft, we have a trade and we have every reason to be proud.  I think any time you have standards of excellence in any field of endeavor, that kind of self-esteem is just good all the way around.  You feel good about who you are and what you are…and if it isn’t being used as a fictional tool to drive down wages, I’m all in favor of it.”

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