Sheet metal workers in Florida have to be outraged. At a time when men and women are out of work, a hotel in the Miami area actually decided to outsource the work needed for the installation of its HVAC system and its ductwork.

The hotel, once known as the Sheraton Bal Harbour, was demolished two years ago to make way for a new resort. That larger, grander resort, to be named the St. Regis Resort and Residences, will include three towers for a number of hotel rooms, luxury suites and condos.

The resort is widely anticipated and has garnered some media attention for the scope of the project. But now the project is starting to get a different kind of media attention, especially from CBS 4, the local news affiliate for Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

CBS 4 reporters found that the company in charge of the St. Regis project brought in sheet metal workers from Mexico. The company was able to do so through something called H2B visas. According to CBS 4, these visas can be issued to foreign workers if a construction project cannot find American workers. But when so many sheet metal workers are out of jobs, how was this project able to apply for H2B visas?

The channel 4 news team was able to do some digging and found that the rules for these visas are rarely enforced. Since the CBS affiliate reported on the situation a few weeks ago, the Miami City Commission decided they will bring the issue up for a debate.

I don’t know if the debate will end up bringing American sheet metal workers on to the job or not. I’ll definitely keep you posted on the situation. And if you want to read more about what CBS 4 found, go to their Web site at

What’s frustrating about the situation is that I’ve always been told that trade jobs can never be outsourced. No matter how bad the economic situation, a career in the trades will always guarantee you a job. But when you hear news like this, it makes you start to wonder what some companies will do to save a few dollars at the expense of American workers.