By Allen Foster
In 1937, a group of dedicated men united with the goal of creating a better life for themselves and their families, and because of that stance, the Roofers, Waterproofers, and Allied Workers Union #149 Detroit was born.
Over the years, their numbers grew and it afforded the workers an opportunity to establish a wealth of life-enriching benefits. In 1951, the visionary leaders of Local 149 created a Health and Welfare Fund in order to provide health insurance for members and their families. By 1957, an apprenticeship training program was firmly in place to offer instruction not only on the job, but in a classroom setting, as well. In 1962, the union, in partnership with its contractors, established a Pension Fund so the men and women could retire after 35+ years and be able to enjoy their fruits of their labor.
The Southeastern Michigan Roofing Contractors Association (SMRCA) was established over 50 years ago by a group of locally based professional roofing contractors dedicated to maintaining optimum industry standards through quality workmanship and roofing expertise. Contractors from Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties entered into an agreement with the established Roofers Union Local #149, thus creating a potent working arrangement.
In the ’90s, Roofers Union Local #149 Detroit merged with Roofers Union Local #192 Flint and Roofers Local #247 Marquette, covering 75 percent of Michigan. In 2000, in an effort to facilitate relationships and create a stronger, more unified assemblage of dedicated professionals, Local 149, along with its signatory contractors, implemented “Labor Management Committees.”
Ever striving for innovation and excellence, the SMRCA and Roofers Union Local #149 have continued to excel in their combined endeavors to provide Michigan (and beyond) with the most highly-trained professional men and women in the industry. As proof of the effectiveness of this partnership, individuals belonging to these organizations are in-demand roofers for not only commercial, industrial, educational, governmental, and health care facilities located in the greater Detroit area, but also in almost every state in the nation, as well as five countries and three continents.