CSO conference examines industry developments

IP Newton Jones introduces the new Boilermaker membership card with Visa® debit card option.

Three new initiatives spark interest

CONSTRUCTION SECTOR LODGE leaders met at Marco Island, Fla., March 3-6 to address industry developments, including three new initiatives: a member code of conduct, a market share analysis system, and a new kind of member ID and electronic payment card.

International President Newton B. Jones introduced the Boilermaker code as a collaborative effort by MOST and Construction Sector Operations to identify qualities Boilermakers should exemplify. Each letter in the word “Boilermakers” is keyed to a positive quality. The corresponding Boilermaker Creed describes actions and beliefs aimed at optimizing pride and performance.

President Jones noted that a code of conduct has been of particular interest to the MOST Owner Advisory Committee. He presented a film that has been in development as an educational tool depicting behavioral issues that negatively impacted owner-contractor-union relations. Titled “The Boilermaker Code,” the video is being produced by Wide Awake Films. Using interviews and recreations, the film describes an era — primarily during the 1980s and 1990s — when inappropriate behavior by some members of the trades caused problems at worksites. The purpose of the film is to demonstrate the costs associated with bad behavior in terms of lost man-hours and damaged relationships. Although not uncommon in decades past, those behaviors are not tolerated today; however, they have left an unfortunate blemish in Boilermaker history that makes it difficult to re-establish bonds of trust when reaching out to some owners.

IP Jones also introduced the new Member Preference membership/Visa® debit card under development by the Brotherhood and Bank of Labor. The card (redesigned since the conference) resembles a standard debit/credit card and depicts the Boilermaker’s new “Live the Code” emblem along with a member’s name, register number, and initiation date. It can be used solely as a membership card, replacing the traditional paper cards. If the member so chooses, he or she can activate the card’s Visa® debit card function. Activation enables the member to use the card like any other Visa® debit card, with ATM access (and no-fee, in-network transactions). It is reloadable, and funds can be added to the card by the cardholder or through direct deposit. The card can be used for purchases, bill paying, or transfer to home accounts. Its features are especially helpful to traveling construction members who wish to avoid out-of-town ATM and check-cashing fees. Activation also enrolls the member in a points-based rewards program.

The third new initiative presented at the conference is a computer software system designed to assist local lodges with marketing efforts. Construction Division Services Director Dale “Skipper” Branscum said the system will identify industrial facilities by lodge jurisdiction, including those facilities where a lodge has active or recent involvement and those that hold potential for new relationships. When implemented, the system will be an important resource to track market share and target marketing activities.

National funds show progress

THERE WAS POSITIVE news from the Boilermakers National Funds and pension consultants. John Fultz, Assistant Director for Construction Sector Operations, explained organizational changes to the Boilermakers Health and Welfare Fund that have saved members millions of dollars annually in administrative costs and are also focused on improving services.

“I want to assure you that the trustees on every labor-management board are working like a true partnership,” said Fultz, who is leading the effort to improve Health and Welfare operations. “We have a great group, and we’ve been through some stressful times. We owe a lot of credit to the trustees; they’ve all made a heck of an effort.”

Fultz was joined in the presentation by Lori Jasperson, Director of Health and Welfare, and Christine King, Director of the Retirement Plans Department.

Jasperson went into depth on the key Health and Welfare changes; King explained improvements to the Boilermakers National Annuity Trust, including more flexibility in the way money is accessed for loans or distributed at retirement.

Nick Trella of Marco Consulting Group reported on the 2013 investment performance for the Boilermaker-Blacksmith National Pension Trust and the Officers and Employees Pension Plan. Both plans had solid investment gains for the year. Tom Del Fiacco of Segal Consulting said the two plans are projected to reach “green zone” status (an indication of full plan health under the Pension Protection Act) in coming years, barring unforeseen economic developments.

Safety speaker amuses, inspires

NACBE-SPONSORED GUEST speaker Garrison Wynn provided an entertaining and inspirational presentation on safety. He said influential leaders “move safety throughout the organization” and provide clarity in their ideas and direction.

Wynn stressed the importance of making people feel they are heard. He said it is vital that leaders let others know there are options with regard to approaching safety issues rather than insisting on a “my way or the highway” approach.

He also covered such topics as making people look good in front of their peers, generational differences, conflict resolution, and the need to be present in the moment.

Also presenting at the conference were IVP Joe Maloney, on work developments in Canada; Jason McGinnis Canadian National Health and Safety Representative, on a Canadian Boilermakers wellness program; ED-CSO Kyle Evenson, on the need for MIG welders, referral rule changes, and the status of the MOST Boilermaker Delivery System; MOST Administrator Roger Erickson and MOST Safety Reps Bridget Connors and Brian Loftus on programs and budgets; and BNAP Administrator Marty Spencer on training program development and related topics.

Special guests included a delegation from the Italian Federation of Electrical Utility Workers (FLAEI).