I think so, but I still don't see anything happening.
The sheet metal union won't give up their service and T&B people to a separate HVACR union.
The UA won't give up their HVAC people for a separate HVACR union.
The electricians union won't give up their BAS people either.
Why? Well, maybe you haven't noticed, but union rank and file membership nationwide is declining and union organization management is not.
Individual union organizations won't parcel off work that they currently have within their jurisdiction and send it off to another organization. This action will cause a reduction in membership. A reduction in dues receipts. A reduction in market share for each separate union organization in question. There are other ramifications, but I'm not going into that here.
Other people in "unrelated" unions are not members of "your union" nor are they working under someone elses collective bargaining agreement, they are just working together in a combination shop environment as a member of their respective trade union.
So yes, I see an additional HVACR union splintering the trade further.
Don't forget about the Nexstar Network and the ABC folks. While they may not be "union" as we know it, like it or not, they are organized and training HVAC people.
Right now, the sheet metal (SMWIA), pipefitters (UA) and electrical unions (IBEW) all have some type of HVAC program, and it may be nationwide. I wouldn't be surprised if the carpenters have something going on, too. I don't know who had HVACR "first" (SMWIA or UA), but neither will give in now. Too much money and politics at stake to merge nicely... but one will take it from the other (it being HVACR service) or dominate market share at some point.
Just to clarify, I do not see the UA teaching sheet metal layout any more than I see the SMWIA teaching building trades (BT) pipefitting or the IBEW teaching BT pipefitting or sheet metal layout... but right now it seems that HVACR service can be taught by any of those organizations. That's where they are getting the new blood- the apprentices signing up for the HVACR service programs. None of the unions will just give that up.
On a different note, if you're a SMW HVAC Ducting Installation Journeyman it's highly unlikely that you'd become a UA HVACR Journeyman when switching Unions. Even though both Unions represent HVAC(R), it's almost as changing professions. I think one would be lucky to go from SMW to PT or vice-versa & be brought in @ 70%! Let me know of I'm wrong. A BT-R Journeyman can't even be dispatched to a shop as an MES Journeyman. Please be aware that I'm using National designations, as some Locals still call MESJ - BT-R Journeyman, Refrigeration Pipefitter or even my personal favorite, Servicefitter.
It is also just about impossible to go from a sheet metal journeyman to the service classification within the same local, even if you are capable of doing some of/enough of the work (obviously service covers lots of equipment). It also works the other way: service to sheet metal fabricator/installer.
Now, if your company is willing to sponsor a 597 apprentice that has a lot of sheet metal and some basic service background, you should email me.