Comfort Systems USA, one of the largest specialty contractors in the country, and largest national hvac contractor with nearly 11,000 employees, has agreed to sell 19 of its subsidiaries to EMCOR, its closest competitor.
This was after the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) launched a campaign to unionize the company's non-union subsidiaries and, according to SMWIA, "to protect its shops from Comfort Systems anti-union national executives."
SMWIA says it distributed leaflets on benefits of union membership and problems with late payments into the company's employee 401(k) plan. The SMWIA also distributed leaflets and t-shirts aimed at Gary Hess, Comfort Systems President, COO and board member, who served as the 1996 national president of non-union Associated Builders & Contractors.
EMCOR, notes SMWIA, is a company that as of December 31, 2000, had 22,000 employees with 78% covered by 225 individual collective bargaining agreements. SMWIA, according to general president Michael Sullivan, "looks forward to establishing a cooperative relationship with EMCOR."