ElevatorInfo recently met with Jim Snider, Executive VP at Quality Elevator to talk about the advantages IUEC affiliation brings not only to the elevator constructor mechanics and apprentices his company employs but to his overall business.
Jim has worked in the elevator industry practically all his life. After graduating from high school and starting out as an electrician, he became an installer in new construction at Haughton Elevator. Around the time that Haughton was acquired by Schindler in the mid-1980s, Jim passed his mechanic’s test and transferred to Quality Elevator, a local/regional independent company based in Bladensburg, MD. Jim spent most of his career as a field mechanic there before transitioning to a management position. Today, Jim is the Executive Vice President for Quality Elevator Company, which has, according to its website, “grown to become one of the largest independent elevator service contractors in the Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia Region.”
At the top of the list of advantages for elevator companies affiliated with the IUEC, is the superior education and training all IUEC elevator mechanics receive, starting with their apprenticeship through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) and continuing on through their years in the trade as mechanics. “We invest heavily in training, and the union really helps us out with that area of the industry. They have an excellent educational program,” Jim said.
Because their NEIEP education provides hands-on training and a broad base of knowledge covering the fundamentals of what elevator mechanics need to know to be the most skilled, proficient, and safety-focused in the industry, Jim is able to craft the additional safety training his company provides to the specifics of what his mechanics need based on the type of work they do and equipment they work with every day.
“The NEIEP program is one of those things that sets Quality Elevator and all of the other (IUEC-affiliated) companies apart,” he said. “They provide online training, they provide in-person training, they have shops (including) welding shops… you won’t find any other industry that I know of that provides this training at the level that we provide and work with the union on.”
Knowing his employees are taken care of by a generous benefit plan is also an advantage of being an IUEC-affiliated company. The IUEC provides the best health care coverage there is for its members and their families, with no additional premium costs. “Their healthcare is paid for – it doesn’t come out of their paychecks,” he said.
Through the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan, IUEC elevator constructors and their families have access to a generous and comprehensive schedule of medical, prescription drug, mental health/substance abuse disorder, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. And once an IUEC member is eligible for benefits under the Health Benefit Plan, full coverage is also extended to the member’s spouse and children.
Beyond the health care plan, Jim talked about the three levels of retirement IUEC mechanics enjoy – including a pension, 401K, and annuity. “They can retire very well after this,” he said.
The National Elevator Industry Pension Plan is one of the largest defined benefit multiemployer pension plans in the US and is funded by contributions employers make to the Pension Plan for each hour a member works. So for every hour an elevator constructor works for a contributing employer like Quality Elevator Company, that individual’s monthly lifetime pension benefit grows. It’s especially important that in an environment of troubled Pension Plans, since its inception in 1962, the NEI Pension Plan has been secure and has never failed to meet its financial obligations.
The Annuity 401(k) Plan is one of the largest defined contribution multiemployer pension plans in the nation. IUEC members’ retirement savings in the Annuity 401(k) Plan grow through contributions employers make to the Plan for each hour the IUEC member works (their “Annuity Account”), and voluntary pre-tax wage deferrals (401(k) elective deferrals) each IUEC elevator constructor chooses to contribute to the Plan (their“401(k) Account”). IUEC elevator constructors are always fully vested in their Annuity Accounts and 401(k) Accounts. This great source of financial security is in addition to the pension IUEC members receive through the Pension Plan and Social Security.
Superior education and training, an excellent health care plan and the security of a reliable plan for retirement allow the elevator constructor apprentices and mechanics who work for Jim and his team at Quality Elevator Company to focus on getting their work done effectively and efficiently without the additional worries or distractions that workers at companies without these benefits may face.
To learn more about the benefits of becoming an IUEC-affiliated elevator company or hiring one to install, service, troubleshoot, modernize, or repair your conveyance equipment, contact us here.