On the Road with USGlass

Having an Impact

It takes a lot to impress me. I’ve gotten to see and do a lot during my career in the glass industry, so I don’t impress too easily. Therefore, it’s a bit humbling to admit that I was blown away by a visit to the offices of IMPACT a few weeks ago.

While the offices were full of historical and ironworking memorabilia, and sported an unforgettable view of the Washington Monument and National Mall, it was the organization’s genesis and programs that impressed me beyond belief.

Memorabilia on display at the IMPACT headquarters.

IMPACT stands for the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, a unique partnership of labor and management. That’s right, a partnership of labor and management–let me explain.

A number of years ago the very forward-thinking Ironworkers Union realized that they and the glass and metal contractors for whom their members work have a lot in common. They shared goals in wanting to increase the competitiveness of the ironworking industry and the companies that work in it. Stronger companies are more likely to employ more ironworkers for long periods of times. So IMPACT was born.

The Trust is overseen by a board made up of equal numbers of labor and management reps. The glazing contractors represented are among the strongest and most forward thinking in the country. Victor Cornellier of TSI/Exterior Wall Systems in Maryland is a trustee.

And together, they have tackled some of the industry’s toughest problems with great success. In short, they have made the IMPACT after which they are named.  Over the next few months, we will be exploring a number of these innovative programs, but let me give you just an example here.

Unions and the glazing contractors that employ their workers recognized a common problem. Their workers sometimes get hurt off the job. And as a result of that non-job injury, the worker may choose to “work through” the injury, thereby subjecting themselves to further injury and pain on the job, possibly placing themselves and their coworkers in unsafe systems. So a non-job-related injury can harm the worker and his co-workers, as well as result in a dubious worker’s comp claim anyway.

Enter the IMPACT Off-the-Job Accident Plan. It provides disability payments to Ironworkers starting on the eighth day after the non-job injury.  The amount of benefit is either $800 or 66.67 percent of a worker’s weekly earnings, whichever is less.

“Injured workers no longer have to pretend they are not to get a paycheck and their chance of injuring themselves worse or others lessens,” says Cornellier. “It helps everyone.”

The Off-the-Job Accident Plan requires a leap of faith from both sides, as many IMPACT programs do. But the results of that leap have been compelling. More to come on innovative programs such as this.

Wishes for the Happiest Season

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and a peaceful and healthy New Year are my wish for you. I and our whole staff wish you a wonderful and joyous holiday. We all are honored to work for you. See you in 2018.