CHICAGO - A labor management committee was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to identify factors that motivate journeymen to step up into foreman positions. The committee is comprised of The Construction Employers' Association (CEA), the Chicago Building Trades Council (CBTC), the Mechanical Contractors Association, the Chicagoland Sheet Metal Contractors Association, the Electrical Contractors Association, the Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors of Northern Illinois, and the Plumbing Contractors Association.

The reluctance of journeymen to assume leadership positions in recent years has put a strain on the industry in general, and the labor management committee is working to combat this trend. To be a success, the committee must first find out what the incentives and disincentives are for journeymen could be moving into foremen and general foremen leadership positions.

The study, conducted by Dr. Russ Rogers, professor of Organizational Behavior and Professional Studies, DePaul University, is attempting to: identify factors that promote or impede participation in leadership positions; identify strategies for addressing those factors; measure the effectiveness of strategies implemented; disseminate findings to coalition members; and make the information available to the trades in general.

"This isn't just a labor problem," explained Dan Day, executive director of CEA. "If the industry lacks good leaders on the labor side, efficiency and profitability will suffer."

"Journeymen used to want to move up in large part because of the additional compensation. That doesn't seem to have the same impact anymore," said Tom Villanova, president of the CBTC. "We're not sure what has changed, but we need to find out so that we can offer appropriate incentives to attract the best and brightest in our industry to leadership positions. Ultimately this information will help to strengthen labor-management relationships."

For more information on the labor management committee, call Dan Day at 312-384-1220.

Publication date: 10/23/2006