PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMARTâ€”Building a Future Together
SMACNA and SMART Work Together to Access Government Grants and Build a Stronger Industry for All
PartnersINProgress SMACNA & SMART—Building a Future Together
JOSEPH SELLERS, JR. NATHAN DILLS Co-Publishers KAARIN ENGELMANN email@example.com Editor-in-Chief
Photo credits: Left: Standard Sheet Metal. Right: Russ Signorino, BUD Program Director.
June 2019 - Volume 13, Number 6
4 GOVERNMENT GRANTS BUILD INDUSTRY Local 12’s JATC is working hard to access government funding that
supplements training resources for area apprentices.
6 THE INTERNATIONAL TRAINING INSTITUTE BRINGS NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN ARCHITECTURAL SHEET METAL
ontractors and craftspersons work together to stay ahead of increased C demand for talent in the growing architectural sheet metal market.
THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING UNION DIVERSITY
and diverse workforce is at the ready.
BUD offers training opportunities for minorities and women, ensuring a skilled
11 THE OPIOID USE DISORDER EPIDEMIC IN CONSTRUCTION
Labor and management must work together to support themselves and each other in the fight against opioid use disorder.
JESSICA KIRBY firstname.lastname@example.org Editor POINT ONE MEDIA INC. email@example.com Creative Services ERIC WESTBROOK Cover Illustrator
Partners in Progress is a publication of the Sheet Metal Industry LaborManagement Cooperation Fund. All contents ©2019 by the Sheet Metal Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Fund, P.O. Box 221211, Chantilly, VA 20153-1211. Find Partners in Progress online at pinp.org or at issuu.com/ partnersinprogress. An archive of all issues is available and printed copies may be ordered for a minimal fee. For comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
S HE E T M E TA L | A I R | R A I L | T R A N S P O R TAT I O N
© Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov
Every relationship has a culture. With each interaction between individuals and groups we teach others how to treat us, and we demonstrate what we are willing to contribute to the relationship. Without consciously realizing it, every time we speak, act, or gesture in the context of our relationships we are laying the groundwork for the culture that will define these engagements. We are showing others our potential and our limits. We are observing others and taking in subliminal clues about what they are hoping to achieve. We are building something important. At the heart of relationship culture is the people who define it. To make any cooperative agreement work we need not only agree on the end game; we must also collectively contribute to the culture of that relationship and agree (subconsciously or otherwise) to abide by the “rules”. That means that although there may be money, business, or disagreements at stake, the most important consideration must be defining a culture that respects the people in the relationship, their contributions, and their emotional and social investments in the endeavor. Unfortunately, most of the time relationship culture is built by accident. Individuals focused on a collective achievement come together and give it all they have, without any deliberate thought about developing a relationship culture that works. As a result, relaxed, open communicators with collective problem-solving skills get thrown together with self-focused, corporate ladder climbers, or introverted analytical-minded calculators, and we wonder why agreement is difficult. We wonder why we don’t see eye to eye and how another person could interpret our words so dramatically different from how we meant them. Because we can’t (and shouldn’t) change who we intrinsically are, successfully negotiating relationships means ensuring those relationships have their very own culture with values and ethics we can all respect and that guide our actions. Is the relationship defined by being accountable? Making a difference? Making money? Focusing on detail? Being completely honest? Respecting policy and rules? Respecting others? Once the relationship culture is clear, the people involved know where to place their focus and the values by which they can shape their contributions.
This issue looks at some of the incredible people who make this industry great and demonstrate some important values intrinsic to successful relationship culture. Local 12’s JATC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, demonstrates tenacity and dedication by actively pursuing government grants and putting them to use to build more robust training facilities that benefit contractors and tradespersons alike. The ITI and manufacturers have teamed up to make sure contractors and craftspersons are armed with the skill, creativity, and innovation they need to tackle growing demand from the architectural sheet metal industry. See page 6 for details. On page 9 we feature Building Union Diversity—a program training minorities and women in an array of construction trades, employing sensitivity and curiosity in supporting these individuals in their journeys toward rewarding and fulfilling careers. Finally, we look at the opioid crisis in the construction industry. Despite its controversial nature, there are common elements that lead employers, craftspersons, and the medical industry together for the good of solutions—empathy, accountability, and mutual respect. ▪ 2019 State of SMART-SMACNA Labor-Management Cooperation Survey In order to assess the perceived value of labor-management cooperation, find success stories, and ensure that the 2020 Partners in Progress Conference provides value to all attendees, SMACNA and SMART’s Best Practices Market Expansion Task Force is conducting the State of SMART-SMACNA Labor-Management Cooperation Survey 2019. It is available at surveymonkey.com/r/ DMTVK6R and via Partners in Progress at pinp.org. All SMACNA chapters and contractors; SMART Locals, business managers and agents; JATC coordinators; apprentices, foremen, supervisors, and labor-management cooperation committee or trust members are requested to participate by Aug. 15, 2019. Results will be shared only in aggregate in SMACNA, SMART, and Partners in Progress publications. Direct questions to Kaarin Engelmann at editor@ pinpmagazine.org. Partners in Progress » June 2019 » 3
© Can Stock Photo / zerbor
By / Jordan Whitehouse very year, governments across the continent offer up billions of dollars in grant money that could go to Locals looking to do everything from renovate a training facility to add staff. But every year, some of that money gets left on the table. That’s really too bad, as there are grants available to everybody, says Greg Blose, business manager at Local 12 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “You just have to apply for them,” he says. “And once you get those funds, you just got free money. It’s a no-brainer. Any chance we get now, we apply for the grants.” In May, Local 12’s JATC received a $500,000 grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Last year, the JATC learned it would be receiving $297,000 from the state to expand its apprenticeship program. And in 2017, it was approved for a grant of $900,000 for a completely new training center. All of those funds are a big relief to a Local that will train about 160 apprentices this year, Blose says. “It just helps our budget,” he says. “We’re able to move part of our budget elsewhere to where we might need something extra. In the near future, for instance, we’re probably going to need to add another full-time teacher because we have day school, and that’s certainly going to help having that extra money.” 4 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
So what, specifically, will the JATC be spending this grant money on? Well, the $500,000 will go to remodelling its circa-1800s union hall—aka its “largest classroom”—in Harmar, Pennsylvania. Plans include a new HVAC system, electrical upgrades, and a new exterior door, as well as a new roof, exterior repairs, and plumbing improvements. Plus, the Local wants to purchase new furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the reception and kitchen areas. The renovation will also allow the JATC to rent out the facility for small events and weddings. Profits go to the apprenticeship training fund. “This facility is rather old, and it’s definitely in need of upgrades and updating,” says James Strother, executive director of SMACNA of Western Pennsylvania. “And, it’s a costly endeavor to be picked up by the training center. We’d rather use those funds that are negotiated to actually train the apprentices and the journeymen that come in for training.” That $900,000 grant will certainly help them do that, too, as those funds are slated for a new year-round training center in Harmar. In the past, the JATC had to do some training outside, so if there was bad weather, class would be cancelled. Now, that won’t be an issue.
“I think it always helps when you’re showing the politicians, the ones that you’re applying to for grants, that you’re working as a team, that this is a joint effort between the union and the company. I think that goes a long way.” No word yet on which grants they’ll be working on getting next, but no doubt they’ll be doing their best to get as much of that unused grant money off the table as possible. ▪
© Can Stock Photo / AntonioGuillem
Jordan Whitehouse is a freelance business journalist from Vancouver, British Columbia, who writes for magazines, newspapers, and online publications throughout Canada and the United States.
The $297,000 grant will help pay for teachers’ and coordinators’ salaries for three years, enabling the JATC to expand its apprenticeship program and support the training of 30 additional apprentices.
Partners in grant applications
As successful as Local 12 has been recently in getting these grants, that wasn’t always the case. “We tried once before years ago, and it was a lot of work and we didn’t really get anywhere,” Blose says. “So now we hired a company called DTI Development that specializes in getting grants. They know exactly where to look, when to apply, and what’s coming up. They’ve done wonders for us two years in a row. It’s a lot of work, and if you miss one little step, you may have missed your opportunity. So that’s why it’s important to hire someone who does this for a living.” What’s also helped is having all sides work so well together, says Strother. While he isn’t part of the JATC’s training committee—which is made up of half union members, half SMACNA members—he’s had the privilege of seeing the upsides of that solid working relationship for decades. “Local 12 and our chapter have had a very good relationship for many years, and this grant process is a great example of that,” he says. “Both sides sat down and decided to hire DTI together, and it’s been successful and very amicable. Everyone has agreed, for the most part, on what the funds will be used for. I’m very proud of that. I’ve been here almost 20 years now, and rarely do we have issues where we can’t just sit down and hash them out and get them cleared up pretty quickly.” That positive relationship may even have a direct impact on successfully getting these grants, Blose says.
Digital class is in session In addition to those interior and exterior upgrades to the union hall, the JATC also plans on using some of that $500,000 grant money on new technology, including upgrades to its computer-aided drafting software. The training center will also be investing in equipment that will allow instructors to broadcast classes directly to students’ homes. “That’s really going to set the training center and its students apart,” says Greg Blose, business manager at Local 12 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “We have 23 counties that belong to our union, and some of those members who live in outlying areas can’t get here for evening classes or even Saturday classes if there’s bad weather,” he says. Once new big-screen monitors and other technical equipment are installed, however, that will change. “With a lot of classes, apprentices and journeymen will be able to take part via Skype,” Blose says. “So, they’ll be able to stay on their own computer in their own home and take part just like everyone else.” ▪ Partners in Progress » June 2019 » 5
The International Training Institute Brings New Opportunities in Architectural Sheet Metal By / Sheralyn Belyeu Photos by Roger A. Reed, courtesy of Standard Sheet Metal
6 Âť Partners in Progress Âť www.pinp.org
“Composite materials are transforming the architectural sheet metal market,” said Jason Ferguson, apprentice coordinator at the Local 2 JATC in Kansas City, Missouri. “We’re not seeing the same old brick and mortar buildings anymore. Using composite materials through sheet metal contractors brings buildings far more personality.” The changing market is opening up new opportunities for sheet metal workers and contractors. “Architectural work for SMART membership over the last five years has seen a major increase in market growth,” said James Page, administrator of the ITI. “The conversation itself has changed from an ornamental restoration conversation to a building envelope exterior system conversation and all the intricacies that come with it.” Kansas City’s Missouri Innovation Campus (MIC) illustrates the potential for architectural sheet metal. Standard Sheet Metal (SSM) of Kansas City designed and fabricated aluminum composite material panels for the award-winning building skin. Each clear anodized aluminum panel features two bends to produce the distinctive look the designer envisioned. The parapet was one of the more complex issues with this project. “The coping on the MIC was like none other I’ve experienced in my 29 years in the trade,” says Jerry Fuller, field superintendent for SSM. “It followed the profiles of the wall panels that recessed in and out. We had to punch each piece of coping in our press punch. We did a couple of mockups to fine tune the look we were after.” Another challenge was ensuring that the panels’ finished dimensions remained consistent from panel to panel. “The panels were fabricated on 24-inch finished dimensions,” says Todd McLellan, project manager and estimator for SSM. “Any variations from that during fabrication could have ruined the efficiency and layout on the install.” McLellan attributes the success of the project to a highlyskilled workforce. “Local 2 provided assistance in all aspects of the project,” he says. “From the initial panel layouts and
technical properties of the dimensions, to the craftsmanship in fabrication of the panels, and then in finalizing the project, the skilled hands of the installers ensured that the panels fit and looked as the design team dreamed.” Fuller adds that the team comprising SSM and Local 2 craftspersons fabricated several internal mock-ups and had numerous meetings on game planning to create the design that the architect intended. “In the early stages of the design, we fabricated two vertical panels for the general contractor and the architect to review,” Fullers says. “The mock-ups demonstrated that we would produce what they were looking for.”
The team comprising Standard Sheet Metal and Local 2 craftspersons fabricated several internal mock-ups and had numerous meetings on game planning to create the design that the architect intended, says Jerry Fuller, field superintendent, SSM. This early input contributed to the project’s ultimate triumph. “Companies see the value of bringing in someone with field experience and utilizing them in a detailing role,” Ferguson says. “It helps the whole job come together more smoothly. You also see the benefit of well-rounded training. All aspects of training from start to finish are involved on a project like the MIC.” The Kansas City JATC offers Local 2 members intensive and specialized training to prepare them for work completing custom architectural sheet metal projects. Local 2 has a fiveyear apprenticeship with training in layout, fabrication, welding, and architectural installation training along with the HVAC and industrial training. “We also have training courses in AutoCAD, which we rely
Partners in Progress » June 2019 » 7
The Future of Architectural Sheet Metal In the International Training Institute’s view, the building envelope industry is a booming market with endless opportunities for longterm growth, says James Page, the ITI’s training coordinator. With each new system designed by a manufacturer, there is a support structure of companies that provide components to those systems, and a trained workforce that is approved and certified to install the systems. ITI is working closely with manufacturers so SMART is recognized as the skilled workforce prepared to do that job. ITI is the fund that provides the skilled training to meet the need. The ITI is repurposing the vast amount of existing curriculum that’s been developed over years past and breaking it down to focused modules of training that include hands-on practice trainers. It has revisited some conversations in soldering and produced a short training piece to address soldering qualification testing and documentation for soldering certifications.
Although the ITI continues to support multi-year training programs in architectural metal work, it has become clear that many Locals do not have the luxury of time when the call comes in that a signatory contractor needs a trained workforce for a project-specific system. The ITI addresses that need aggressively with strike force training. In this program the ITI, local union leadership, JATCs, contractors, manufacturers, and members work in collaboration through focused training to provide a qualified labor force. Learn more at www.sheetmetal-iti.org/ www.smacna.org/news/smacnews/article/smacnewsseptember-2018---the-robotics-revolution/fabricating-angledpanels-for-missouri-innovation-campus smart-union.org/news/architectural-sheet-metal-strike-forcetraining-allows-focused-learning/ ▪
8 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
on when working on projects like MIC,” Fergason says. “We are trained on creating blueprints and shop drawings and on programming our complex equipment, such as laser sheet metal cutting machines, punch press, and computer press brakes.” The focus on architectural sheet metal recognizes the special challenges that cutting-edge materials pose. “When we think of sheet metal, we often envision thinner sheets, like those used in ductwork,” Ferguson explains. “Composite materials are different because of the thickness. They are like doing an industrial job on the exterior of a building.” The Kansas City JATC is constantly updating architectural sheet metal training for Local 2 members and maintains positive relationships with local and national manufacturers. “Right now when one of our contractors wins a bid, our members go to the manufacturer for training, as needed,” Ferguson says. “We plan to move the training to the JATC, so we’re building mock-ups for training on site. Manufacturers will bring in components and the correct equipment to install their products.” Ferguson also recently sent an instructor to Philadelphia to learn directly from ITI’s Dan McCallum. “McCallum helps make connections with industry to bolster our training,” Ferguson says. Besides offering courses for JATC instructors, McCallum runs the ITI’s Architectural Strike Force Training—intense courses focused on the requirements of installing a particular manufacturer’s products (see Partners in Progress, vol. 12 number 5). “From a manufacturer’s point of view, it is about the required knowledge that a trained workforce needs to have when installing proprietary systems,” Page explains. Architectural sheet metal is just one part of the ITI’s plan to build a strong future for SMART and SMACNA. “As building codes change, we have a chance to strengthen our hold on the market,” Ferguson says. “We offer certificates in many different aspects of construction, from architectural sheet metal to fire life safety, so we are in a strong position to pick up new projects.” ITI’s dedication to expanding the architectural sheet metal market is paying big dividends for SSM and Local 2. “With the success of the MIC, we have received calls directly from architects in the early stages on several new projects asking to help team up with the designs and concepts,” Fuller says. “The MIC project has intrigued other architects and designers who are after a similar look or have questions about whether or not a specific look could be achieved,” McLellan says. “They can visit the mock-up located on the side of our building and physically see what their project could look like. They see that we can make their vision come to life.” ▪ A Colorado native, Sheralyn Belyeu lives and writes deep in the woods of Alabama. When she’s not writing, she grows organic blueberries and collects misspellings of her name.
The Benefits of
BUD Building Union Diversity Construction Training Program By Don Procter Photos courtesy of Russ Signorino, BUD Program Director
Russ Signorino awarding a certificate. When Sheena Houston applied to a construction training program offered to minorities and women in St. Louis earlier this year, she had no experience in the building trades. But the 37-yearold textile artist and community organizer knew she wanted to be in construction, and the Building Union Diversity (BUD) preapprenticeship course was a sensible introduction. Under the umbrella of the St. Louis Building and Constrution Trades Council (BCTC), BUD comprises a core of more than eight joint labor-management construction training programs and their training centers—including Local 36. By the time they graduate after five weeks in class, the students—who spend a few days at each training center—have a direction. Houston, a former business analyst with a well-known financial institution, chose Local 36, and she hopes to land her first job as a sheet metal apprentice this summer. “My experience at Local 36’s training facility was pretty positive,” Houston says. “I learned so much about the trade within a short time.” Houston was impressed that Local 36’s trainers included an African-American man and a woman. “They both were pretty enthusiastic about being sheet metal workers and the plethora
of opportunities the local union provided its members. It was inspiring,” Houston says. “The energy in the training center was good, and I can actually see myself learning major skills there.” In its fourth year, BUD has a graduate placement rate of 87%. The program runs four cohorts annually with about 16 students in each class. “By the time they graduate they have a much better sense of what it takes to be sheet metal workers, carpenters, and other tradespersons,” says Russ Signorino, BUD’s program director. Steve Sneed, Local 36 director of education, says the idea for BUD made “good sense” to Local 36 from its inception more than four years ago. “We all got on board with it,” Sneed says. “Union contractors all try to hire the best of the best, regardless of gender, race, or economic status.” During the two days students spend at the training center, they get an opportunity to do some drafting, build a tool tray, and observe other elements of the sheet metal trades, ranging from HVAC to specialty architectural sheet metal, Sneed says. Signorino adds that Local 36’s training center has been a great partner to BUD. “When Steve (Sneed) has time to put on classes we spend a couple of days there learning about the trade.” Partners in Progress » June 2019 » 9
The Benefits of BUD
Training classes at BUD cover a number of trades and are composed on 80% ethnic minorities with the remainder women. An important part of BUD’s success is the collaboration between the unions and signatory contractors. There are more than 80 SMACNA contractor members in St. Louis. “We always discuss what we can do for them from a recruitment standpoint. Most of the contractors want to be involved,” Sneed says, adding that the union’s relationship with its SMACNA partner is one of the strongest in the country. One of those SMACNA contractors is Murphy Company, which has participated in the BUD sessions at Local 36 by providing a “contractor perspective” of the sheet metal industry. Senior Project Estimator Robert Grossman says BUD’s approach to assist women and minorities is a good example of a proactive— rather than a reactive—approach to recruitment. “It is a very important program developed by the union construction industry,” Grossman says. An important part of BUD is that efforts are made by all parties to keep track of every graduate as they move into the work world. It measures the program’s success, Grossman says, pointing out that the various building trades involved in the program have all gotten along. “Any time you have a common project like this you can work together,” he says. Currently, along with Houston, there is another BUD graduate on the apprentice waiting list at Local 36 and a third was scheduled for an interview in June. While Local 36 has not seen many applicants from BUD over the past four years, that is largely because the union has a comprehensive application process tailored to recruiting and retaining people who want to make this a career. The application process includes entrance exams covering math skills, mechanical comprehension, and reading comprehension. Night tutoring is offered for free to students having trouble meeting their objectives, Sneed says, adding that the screening process is partly why the retention rate (85-90%) is so high. Signorino says the experience students have at training centers such as Local 36 gives them an opportunity to start to form relationships with trainers, who can assist them with letters of support for job placement after graduation. 10 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
About 80% of the students participating in BUD are minorities, with the remainder women. Students receive a $150 stipend for tools on their first job, and BUD assists them with transportation costs. The program also connects them with mentors. “We try to knock down as many barriers as we can, which increases the students’ chances of success,” Signorino says. “Contractors have been impressed with graduates because they know these students have taken five weeks of their time to learn what it is to be successful in the trade.” BUD’s success rate is high: about 92% of its students have graduated, and close to 85% have landed jobs in construction. Signorino says he has confidence in those going into the trades. “I know by the time they graduate they are serious about working in construction.” Sneed argues against critics who see the construction industry as a “dumping ground” for initiatives like BUD that aim to funnel minorities, disadvantaged youth, and others into the field. “I think this is bigger than that,” he says. “Everyone willing to learn and work hard can set themselves up with a viable, longterm career. I’ll put our wages and benefits packages up against people coming out of college with a degree any day of the week.” He says the take-home rate of first-year apprentices is almost $20 per hour plus benefits. Every 1,000 hours of school and work each apprentice qualifies for a pay hike if they meet the JATC’s criteria. According to Signorino, although BUD is currently in a partnership with the BCTC, the program is working towards becoming an independent non-profit this year. That will allow BUD to apply for financial grants to bolster staffing. “Right now I am the only paid person, and I am supposed to be doing this part-time, but it is much more than a part-time job,” he says. BUD is one of several outreach programs where SMACNA and Local 36 have teamed up. “They are not all minority (initiatives) but they are about recruiting in general,” Grossman says. ▪ A freelance writer based in Toronto, Don Procter covers the building, design and planning industries in Canada and the United States.
SMART and SMACNA join forces to defeat this powerful enemy
By / Deb Draper
Every day in the United States, at least 115 people die from an opioid overdose—that is 42,000 per year. Furthermore, a recent survey from the U.S. Departmenr of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported that 2.1 million Americans have an opioid use disorder (OUD). In 2017, the US Department of Health & Human Services declared OUD to be a public health emergency. How did this happen? In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies assured medical communities around the world that opioids were not addictive, and prescriptions increased dramatically. However, long-term opioid use decreases the pain-reducing effects, higher doses are needed to keep up with growing chronic pain, and this leads to physical dependence and risk of overdose. It is estimated that one out of every four patients prescribed opioids will go on to misuse them to some degree. Half of those patients will develop OUD. Half of those again eventually transition to heroin. This epidemic of misuse affects everyone, in every walk of life. This is especially true for in construction, which has one of the highest injury rates of any other industry, reaching 77% higher than the national average, according to Midwest Economic Policy Institute research. Mike McCullion, director of SMACNA’s Market Sectors and Safety, sees the opioid crisis as, in many ways, a case management and communication crisis. Generally, the focus on the physical injury and attendant pain relief fails to take in the larger issues of the injured dealing with downtime and unknown, latent, or recurrent addictive and dependency issues.
© Can Stock Photo / BackyardProduct
The Opioid Use Disorder Epidemic in Construction
“Often workers will get the drugs, and then sit at home and dwell on their situation without interacting with the outside world, including the employer,” McCullion says. “Unable to deal with these growing issues and seemingly overwhelming mental traps, they may turn to other escape mechanisms of available drugs and alcohol, and an often a fatal spiral begins.” In order to offer an effective, healthy recovery plan, physicians need to know what a worker’s job entails or if there will be drug testing at work—some prescription opioids can mean losing a job. With realistic information and up-todate education on individual drugs including opioids, they can offer alternative medications, using opioids only for the very short term. McCullion believes that proper guidance and health care management must be part of an overall injury case management program to get injured workers healthy and back on the job again. “The reality is that anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them, but those who have addictive tendencies are at even greater risk to misuse opioids.” Even when patients take the prescribed dosage of an opioid, if they add alcohol, sleeping pills, or anti-anxiety meds, their breathing may simply stop. Respiratory depression is the chief hazard associated with opioid painkillers. A report by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that nearly one-quarter of overdose deaths across a five-year span occurred among construction workers. Partners in Progress » June 2019 » 11
Opioid Use Disorder
“Powerful drugs like these actually hijack our natural reward system. Once we understand that addiction is a disease of the brain, we can support ourselves and each other during these struggles,” says Carlough, director of education for SMART. “Our industry is physical by nature and people do get hurt on the job,” says Chris Carlough, SMART’s Director of Education. “The problem with opioids is that they are powerful and highly addictive, some more than others. We have the second highest addiction rate of any industry—16% of construction workers have a predisposition to being addicted. “Powerful drugs like these actually hijack our natural reward system. Once we understand that addiction is a disease of the brain, we can support ourselves and each other during these struggles,” he adds. Studies have shown that opioids are often not more effective than other oral medications for relieving pain. Injured workers need to understand that there are alternate means of pain management. They need to talk to their healthcare provider about options, other non-medical treatments, and reactions to medications they may already be taking. “We need to reinforce to our members that when they get hurt on the job, they need to take precautions about medications,” Carlough says. “There are different types of opioids—all very strong. But there are alternative means of pain management that are not addictive.”
Chris Carlough Making a Difference One Step at a Time A proud member of SMART for almost 35 years and Director of Education since 2007, Chris Carlough works hard for members, representatives and contractors in the unionized construction and transportation industries. The SMART Department of Education team strives continuously to improve all educational programs for its members and their representatives, and Carlough has made it a further mission to develop a network of support for members and their families facing substance abuse, mental health issues and suicide. Drawing upon personal experience with addiction and recovery, he has organized peer support training across North America through SMART MAP training initiatives. Carlough is proud of his union’s commitment to developing a caring network of union members who can offer guidance and support for those going through substance use disorder. He is passionate in his belief that a culture of caring brings a positive difference to the quality of life for everyone in the labor movement. Chris will be speaking at the 2020 Partners in Progress conference held in Las Vegas February 25 and 26. Keep an eye on future issues for more information on speakers and events. Registration will open in September 2019. 12 » Partners in Progress » www.pinp.org
McCullion sees this as where the healthcare provider and employer can come together. “Regulatory-wise, as soon as an injury occurs, the employer is immediately involved, but there are further ways to help,” he says. “They can educate the worker on rights and responsibilities in the process and enable them to see the doctor, as needed, to ensure they are following their recovery program that they aren’t misusing the prescribed drugs.” Many employers already have relationships with healthcare providers, letting them know what type of work the patient does and looking to get them back on the job as soon as possible, even if it means light duties for a while. “With the employer, healthcare provider, and worker all on the same page, we can get our people through the recovery process and back on their feet as healthy as possible,” McCullion says. “This means coordinating a team effort of managed care and attentive communication. Employee assistance programs (EAP) are becoming more available and more useful as they address a number of issues, including depression, suicide, and opioids— talking about these things in open forums, removing the stigma.” Carlough recalls, “About five years ago, thinking about substance abuse, we added a section into a SMART advanced representation class on how to represent our members who are going through crisis. The response was overwhelming and the level of participation kept increasing,” he says. This enthusiasm led to the development of the SMART Members Assistance Program (MAP) in conjunction with the International Training Institute (ITI) and the Sheet Metal Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) and jointly funded by SMART and SMACNA. “We are presently engaged in peer mentorship around this important issue, training SMART MAP mentors who are compassionate, empathetic, and well-respected union members who continue to support our members when returning to the workplace,” Carlough says. “This will be the fundamental element in our success with helping our members and their families.” SMART MAP focuses on the mental health of members and their families by providing training on awareness, solutions, and support, highlighting substance use disorder and suicide prevention. “SMACNA is promoting the MAP program in October in Alexandria, Virginia, and Chris Carlough is a conducing a MAP session at the SMACNA Annual Convention,” McCullion says. It all comes down to education, understanding the risks, and developing a culture of caring on every level of industry. No one chooses to become addicted. By looking out for each other, working as a team in every sense, and learning how to get help and follow through, everyone comes out a winner in the battle against substance abuse. ▪ From her desk in Calgary Alberta, Deb Smith writes for trade and business publications across North America, specializing in profiles and stories within the mining, recreation, and construction industries.
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