Having an IMPACT

By Debra A. Levy

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 hum-bling to admit that I was blown away by a visit to the offices of IMPACT in late November.

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

IMPACT stands for the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, a unique partnership of labor and management. Let me explain. A number of years ago, a very forward-thinking Ironwokers Union realized that they had a lot in common with the glass and metal contractors for whom their members worked. 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 of trustees including 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 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.

In previous issues and in our video newscasts we’ve been exploring a number of these innovative programs, but let me give you just one example here (another is on page 18 in January 2018 issue).

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 them-selves to further injury and pain on the job, possibly placing themselves and their coworkers in unsafe situations. 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 a non-job injury. The amount of benefit is either $800 or 66.67 percent of weekly earnings, whichever is less. “Injured workers no longer have to pretend they are not injured 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.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.