Founded in 1913, Local 34 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers unites, trains, and promotes mechanical insulation workers throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Beginning with only 17 charter members, Local 34 currently has over 400 members and continues to grow and thrive.
The first members in the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators were among many workers responding with critical skills to a newly prevalent energy: steam power. A highly effective energy source, steam power dramatically reconfigured both commercial and residential energy use. The mechanical insulation for these vast new boiler systems provided critical energy savings and promoted much needed efficiency. Insulation mechanics brought much needed skills and craft to this new industry; however, they lacked a union to support fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions. The Heat and Frost Union answered these challenges at a difficult moment for workers in American history, promoting their rights to just treatment in all areas. Since then the Union and Local 34 has met new challenges with the same unfailing commitment to fair wages, benefits, safe working conditions, advocacy, education and outreach.
Just as union members responded with craft and skill to energy innovations over a century ago, so today our members deliver mechanical insulation solutions that target today’s radically different energy landscape. Mechanical insulation offers critical solutions for today’s most important green initiatives including net zero energy buildings. In older factories and buildings, our mechanical insulation retrofits deliver the energy savings necessary to compete in today’s marketplace.
The Heat and Frost Insulators Union does more than unite the Brothers and Sisters in our chapters.
At Local 34, we pair our most expert insulators with new workers through our apprenticeship program. By handing down skills only learned through years of experience, we ensure that our members are expertly trained and in demand throughout the western Minnesota/Twin Cities and western Wisconsin area.
Advocates for our members and member contractors, the HFI has implemented a wide ranging outreach to educate industry regarding the vast untapped energy resource of mechanical insulation. Data research and analysis combined with a powerful dynamic public education campaign has generated interest, understanding and jobs for our industry as well as critical energy conservation for our society. HFI has located mechanical insulation firmly on the map of today’s most promising energy solutions.