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A. Zahner Company

A. Zahner Company logo This architectural metal company expands the boundaries of design and employee relations by creating innovative structures with a respected union workforce.

In Partnership With: SMWIA

A pioneer in the architectural metal industry and workers’ rights

At a Glance

Founded in 1897, A. Zahner company produces custom architectural and ornamental metal work for commercial projects.

Kansas City, MO


Architectural Sheet Metal

Union Employees
200 sheet metal workers

Total Employees

Annual Revenues
$25 million

Dallas,Kansas City, MO, and other temporary project facilities

A variety of top global architectural and engineering

The A. Zahner Company has worked with top architects like Frank Gehry, and has been recognized as an “absolute leader in innovation, consistently pushing the tectonic limits of architecture,” by the American Institute of Architects. But the award-winning firm is most proud of its winning relationship with its employees.

In over a century of business, A. Zahner has built a solid partnership with its workers, who have had union representation through the Sheet Metal Workers International Association for 87 years. President and CEO Bill Zahner is even known to sport a "Show me the Union Label" cap at sheet metal industry conventions, gladly demonstrating the business’ strong relationship with its employees and pride in the work its highly-skilled union staff provides. "In America, you can be successful by treating each other with dignity and respect. A mindset that union and management relations have to be disruptive is wrong," says Bill Zahner. "I know that working with the union can save dollars and get me the most talented work."

A. Zahner and its staff have delivered quality architectural metal consultation, engineering, design, fabrication, and installation for some of the most innovative architectural masterpieces in the world. Its work portfolio includes Chicago’s Millennium Park, the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, Tomorrowland at Disney World, and the New World Hotel in Hong Kong.

Bill Zahner attributes the success of these high-profile projects to the company’s "ability to attract great talent." The 200 union sheet metal workers employed by the company are trained to become gifted artisans, as A. Zahner creates an environment where skills development is encouraged. Through its apprenticeship program and ongoing in-house training, A. Zahner works with the union to give its employees opportunities to practice with many of the diverse kinds of metals it uses, and contributes toward the cost of advanced training its employees sign up for.

"I don’t want a workplace where my own sons or daughters wouldn’t want to work," adds Bill Zahner. The company provides its employees with competitive salaries and healthy benefits, including an incentive bonus program, a 401(k) contribution plan, medical and dental coverage, and tuition reimbursement.

In addition to leaving a mark on the architectural world for its ground-breaking and artistic structures, A. Zahner has deservedly earned a reputation for its partnership with its employees and their union. The firm appears well on track to continue expanding boundaries—in art, architecture, worker expertise, and positive labor-management relations—for years to come.

Selection Criteria  

> Free and fair chance to form a union

> Collaborating as equal partners with workers and their unions to craft innovative strategies on compensation, performance, and productivity to meet business goals and address challenges

> Providing sustainable wages or progressive increases and worker-friendly benefits 

> Creating new jobs and implementing employee retention strategies

> Protecting workers’ safety and health

> Offering training and professional development opportunities

> Contributing positively to the broader community

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