A Comparison of Operation Cost Factors: Union Versus Nonunion HVAC and Sheet Metal Contractors

Jay Bowman
Senior Consultant
FMI Corporation
5151 Glenwood Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27612
Tel: (919) 785-9336
Fax: (919) 785-9346
Email: JBowman@fminet.com
Website: www.fminet.com


The New Horizons Foundation, in conjunction with FMI Corporation, a respected construction industry consulting and research firm, sponsored a study that focused on comparing operating costs of union and nonunion contractors. This study concluded that cost differences in total costs, labor costs, fabricated ductwork, and crew mix identified the operating cost differences between union and nonunion firms. Empirical evidence uncovered findings that left union and nonunion contractors taken aback. These findings included the significant differences in the crew mix, noteworthy differences in the cost of duct fabrication, nonunion firms are better at planning and managing projects, nonunion firms devote more funding to training than expected, and that nonunion firms are making significant investments in facilities and fabrication equipment. The Foundation research study identifies significant implications for union and nonunion firm operations as well as the institutions that service those firms.