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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the United Association.

“What is the United Association?”

The United Association is an effective international union made up of the most skilled pipe trades professionals in the construction industry. It is a union that protects its members and jurisdiction at every level. The United Association is composed of journeymen and apprentices in every division of the plumbing, pipefitting, service & repair, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries.

A democratic organization, with officers elected by the membership, the United Association is affiliated with the various departments of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Federation of Labor.

The United Association is international, having members in Canada as well as the United States. It is an organization that you can be proud to be part of. For more information contact one of our Organizers.

“Which union should I join?”

Naturally, when you decide to join a union, you will want one that best represents the work you do. The United Association represents its members who are journeymen, apprentices, and all other work classifications used in the plumbing, pipefitting, service & repair, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries.

Because the United Association is composed of craftsmen who share skills and experience, it is well suited to help you achieve your goals. The local union officers, elected by local union members, have a working knowledge of the conditions and demands of the trade. They can speak with authority on the problems and challenges that the workers face daily on the job site.

If you are employed in the plumbing, pipefitting, service & repair, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries, or in any other type of work allied to or connected in any manner with these industries, then the United Association is the union for you!

“Why does the United Association exist?”

All unions were born of necessity. During the Industrial Revolution, working men and women were treated unfairly. There were no child labor laws, and thousands of children – some as young as five years old – worked ten-hour days under oppressive conditions. It was standard practice for employers to demand that their employees work ten hours a day, seven days a week. There were no vacations, no sick leave, no workers compensation, no pensions, and no health and safety laws. Working men, women and children had nothing to look forward to – their lives were spent working, and they worked until they died.

In the mid-1800s, the trade union movement began in earnest. The United Association was officially born on October 11, 1889, when 40 delegates from 23 local unions traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the founding convention.

The convention was held to ensure that workers would no longer be taken advantage of. Almost all of the benefits and protections enjoyed by American workers today are a direct result of the trade union movement.

“What can the United Association do for you?”

If you are working in any industry allied to the plumbing, pipefitting, service & repair, air conditioning, and refrigeration industries, it is important to your future to become a member of the United Association. Join with the thousands of craftsmen who have united to build a secure, prosperous future for themselves and their families.

The United Association and its local unions work to provide members a fair wage and safe working conditions, process grievances, and protect members from unjust and injurious competition. All local unions have training facilities, health and welfare plans, and pension plans. The United Association provides training for both apprentices and journeymen, making U.A. craftsmen the very best.

Journeymen may take advantage of training sessions which provide continuing education on up-to-date technology necessary to United Association members so that they can be kept abreast of innovations and changes in the industry, thereby insuring that their skills are current and in demand.

“What type of work do United Association members perform?”

United Association members work in a variety of settings from bungalows to power stations, performing new construction and maintenance with regard to air conditioning, heating, refrigeration and plumbing service work.

They install and service fire sprinkler systems, perform marine pipefitting, gas fitting, pipe fabrication and assembly, lead burning, manufacturing of mechanical parts and equipment, air and water balance, pneumatic and electronic control work, startup of all mechanical equipment, quality control and non-destructive testing on all types of jobs or products, appliance service and repair, in-plant operation of mechanical systems, servicing utility plants and systems.

As a United Association member, you may be working at your job on single family residences, apartments, commercial establishments, office buildings, hospitals, airports, shipyards, fabrication shops, shopping centers, offshore oil rigs, manufacturing plants, refineries, power houses, pipelines, utility plants and systems and/or any other site where work of the United Association is being performed.

“Who hires United Association members to do this work?”

United Association members are employed by plumbing and mechanical contractors, fire sprinkler contractors, plumbing, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning service companies, utility contractors, shipbuilders (private and federal sector) building and plant owners, utility companies, quality control contractors, control companies, instrumentation companies, air and water balance companies, chain stores, food processing companies, paper mills, power plants, hospitals, school systems, universities and colleges, federal, state, and local governments, manufacturing companies, amusement parks, fabrication shops, refineries, casinos, and electric power companies. In short, the United Association represented workers are a vital part of virtually every industry in the United States of America and Canada.

“Where can you learn more about the United Association?”

Every major city in the United States has one or more United Association local unions. When you are ready to learn more about the United Association, you may contact the United Association local union nearest your home and talk with its representative.

For information in Southern California you may contact one of the Local Unions in your area or contact one of the organizers in your area.

For all other regions contact:

United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the
Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada

Three Park Place
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 269-2000
(410) 267-0262 (Fax)

United Association Canadian Office
225 Metcalfe Street, Suite 600

Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1P9
(613) 565-1100

(613) 565-1200 (Fax)

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