Rchard Bermack Photography


Heat and Frost Insulators
and Allied Workers Local 16
Organized Labor
Dec 2008

Insulators are an especially tight group of people. Local 16 has only 800 members, but they cover northern California and northwestern Nevada, with an 85-percent unionization rate for commercial and industrial construction. The highly skilled and critical nature of the trade, along with a cooperative labor-management culture, has allowed union contractors to out-compete the non-union companies by providing a higher quality product in an industry that can’t afford mistakes. Insulators Local 16 members work on projects including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, oil refineries, food processing plants, high-rise office buildings, power plants, hospitals, and schools. The craft used to have a high mortality rate from working with asbestos. Now a large part of the work is in the abatement field, removing the hazardous material they previously installed. But unlike in the past, workers now uses state of the art protective suits and procedures when removing asbestos or other hazardous materials. Safety is one of the union’s number one concerns. On the Jobsite interviewed workers at the Gateway Power Plant in Antioch, insulator contactor, Metalclad the over all contractor is Black and Vietch.