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Team Industries, Inc.

Team Industries logo This pipe fabricating company has seen a dramatic turnaround thanks to collaboration with its workers’ union and dedication to employee training.

In Partnership With: UA

A worker-owned success story in the making

In 1987, a brave group of 20 workers took a bold step and it paid off: they purchased the holdings of their bankrupt employer and rebuilt it into a successful operation. Team Industries now sets a high standard for how companies can value their workers while producing a high-quality product for their customers.

At a Glance

Team Industries is an employee-owned company that specializes in high quality stainless, carbon, and exotic alloy steel pipe spools, and plate and tank fabrication.

Headquarters
Kaukauna, WI

Website
www.teamind.com

Industry
Pipefitting and pipe fabrication

Union Employees
265 welders, fabricators, and metal trades craftsmen

Total Employees
325

Annual Revenues
$80 million est. for 2008

Outlets
TX, WI

Customers
Over 50 pipe fabrication, tank, and pressure vessel companies

Team Industries believes that in order to meet the demands of its well-known clients such as Bechtel, BP Amoco, Conoco Phillips, and Fluor, it must work closely with the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters (UA). As a worker-owned company, every meeting at every level of Team Industries has union involvement, and forums with both union and management are held on a regular basis. This allows everyone at Team Industries the chance to offer input on issues of mutual concern, increasing productivity and workplace morale.

Perhaps the partnership’s biggest asset is the union’s ability to provide classroom training and necessary hands-on and on-site skills development for workers at the company. Its five-year apprenticeship program is an excellent training resource for instructing current, new, and future workers. The union’s recruitment efforts at trade schools bring in new skilled workers and allow the company to be more competitive, increase its market share, inform workers of critical occupational safety and health issues, and create new jobs. Another critical advantage the union provides is portable health insurance and pension benefits for workers, giving UA members the option of keeping their current medical and pension plans if they change jobs.

Team Industries’ business goals mesh well with its respect for workers’ rights and investment in employee training. Its skilled workers allow Team Industries the ability to adjust to ever-changing economic demands. Such flexibility is only possible through having a highly-talented workforce, the core of Team Industries’ approach. The strategy is paying off as its annual revenues have nearly doubled in the past year and the company has added new staff to meet increased demand in business.  

The company’s current Board Chair, John Panetti, was one of the original employees who participated in the buyout and is proud of the company’s strong union relationship: “Skilled craftsmen trained by the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters are the best kept secret in the industry today. Fortunately union contractors like Team are in on the secret.” The decision Panetti and his coworkers made over 20 years ago has undoubtedly been a triumph, literally demonstrating the success of employee ‘buy-in.’  

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