Sheet metal work combines ancient traditions of craftsmanship with cutting-edge manufacturing technology. Sheet metal workers, when backed by a strong union, have the opportunity to earn high salaries and accrue significant employee benefits, including a defined benefit pension plan (which is almost nonexistent in today’s workplaces). Moreover, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, numerous job opportunities in sheet metal work are expected in the coming years, particularly for craftsmen who have apprenticeship training or are certified welders. These advantages of choosing the sheet metal trade are particularly distinctive and appealing in today’s uncertain economic climate, when many industries are suffering heavy job losses, when 20% of the workforce has no employer-provided health insurance, and when 25% of the workforce earns poverty wages.
Sheet metal work is the only trade in which finished items are manufactured entirely from raw materials, and is involved in nearly every type of large-scale construction project. The products manufactured, installed, and maintained by sheet metal workers include:
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) duct systems
- Piping & Dust Collector Systems
- Rain gutters and downspouts
- Restaurant equipment
- Outdoor signs
- Precision equipment
- Residential specialty craftsmanship
The Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SWMIA) chartered Local 312 as a contract local union in September 1900 and as a building trade local in October 1934. We have greatly expanded our work on behalf of sheet metal craftsmen over the years, adding an apprenticeship training program in 1945, a federal credit union in 1950, the first negotiated health and welfare plan in 1953, and a defined benefit pension plan in 1964. Workers who are part of a union, on average, make 30% more in wages, are 63% more likely to have employer-provided health benefits, and are four times as likely to have pensions than non-union workers. For more information on the benefits of union membership, click here.
Our membership works safely in a drug- and -alcohol free environment in conjunction with contractors and drug and alcohol treatment programs.