Ironworkers, operating engineers to train together

Ironworkers and operating engineers in Michigan can now train together just as they’ll one day work together on real projects.

Iron workers Local 25 and Operating Engineers Local 324 have created a program to simultaneously train workers from both groups. The final beam was placed Wednesday on a 150-ton, 60-foot-tall steel frame training building in Howell, Mich.

“There’s a long history between the operating engineers and the ironworkers because there isn’t a piece of steel hoisted anywhere in America where the two organizations don’t work together,” Patrick Gleason, president of Local 25, told the Detroit News.

The training program is important for ironworkers because many experienced veterans of the trade began retiring in the 1990s as they became eligible for pensions plans. Newcomers to the trade now need before-job training because there aren’t as many experienced workers in the field to pass on what they’ve learned, Gleason said.

Joint training with the operating engineers is designed to help members of the two groups learn to communicate with each other before they have to work on a real-world project.