Union FAQ's

Union FAQ’s

Why Unions?

The freedom to form unions is a basic human right. In 1935, the US Government enacted the National Labor Relations Act that said, “Employees shall have the right to form labor organizations to bargain collectively (and employers may not) interfere with exercise of this right.” Workers form unions because there is power in numbers.  Where unions are strong, employers must bargain collectively to set the terms and conditions of employment.  The demand for profits must then be compromised with fairness toward workers.

What Have Unions Done for Us?

8-hour day, 5-day work week, Health Insurance, Good pensions, Job security, Overtime pay and Job safety to name a few.  Union members typically earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers. But stronger unions raise living standards and improve the quality of life for everyone.  In the 10 states in which unions are the strongest, there is less poverty, higher household income, more education spending, and better public policy than in the 10 states where unions are weakest.

Why Consider Joining a Union?

A long time ago, mankind learned that by teaming up with others, he could tackle any task with greater success. Thus, villages and towns were formed – together, men could provide a safer and more stable life for themselves and families.

The principle of trade unionism is much the same. A Union, a group of dedicated men and women striving toward the same goals provides security and dignity for all members.

The voices of many are louder than the voice of an individual.  The United Association speaks for its members, working to achieve job security, health and welfare benefits, a living wage, a safe working environment, and a comfortable pension.

When you join a union, you are joining a democracy. Each member has the opportunity to voice his concerns and suggestions, working for a better life for all.

What Union Should You Join?

Naturally when you decide to join a union, you will want one which best represents workers who may be Building Trades Craftsmen,  journeymen or apprentices, tradesmen, helpers, trainees, or any other work classification used in the plumbing and pipefitting industry.  They also represent utility and production workers, maintenance and/or service personnel, marine pipefitters, production workers, engineers, technicians and/or any other workers classification that fits into work that could fall under UA jurisdiction.

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 jobsite.

If you are employed at the plumbing and/or pipefitting trade or on any other type of work allied to or connected in any manner with the plumbing and pipefitting industry then the United Association is the union for you.

What is the United Association?

The United Association is an effective international union made up of the most skilled pipe tradesmen the construction industry has ever known.  It is a union which protects its members and jurisdiction at every level.  The United Association is composed of journeymen and apprentices in every division of the plumbing and pipefitting industry.  

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 in the United States.  It is organization that you can be proud of.

Why Does The United Association Exist?

All unions were born of necessity.  During the International Revolution, working men and women were treated very unfairly.  There were no child 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 workmen’s 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.  

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?

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 UA craftsmen the very best.  

Journeymen may take advantage of training sessions which provide 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.

If you are working in any industry allied to the plumbing and pipefitting trade 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.  

What Type of Work Is Performed By United Association Members?

United Association members work in a variety of settings from housing to power stations, doing new construction and maintenance, 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 electric control work, startup of all mechanical equipment, quality control and non-destructive testing on all types of jobs or products, appliance service and repair, implant operation of mechanical systems, serving utility plants and systems.

As a United Association member, you may be working at your job on single family residence, 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 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 contractor’s, control companies, instrumentation companies, air and water balance companies, chain stores, food processing companies, paper mills, power plants, hospitals, school systems, university and colleges, federal, state and local governments, manufacturing companies, recreational centers(such as Disney World), fabrication shops, refineries, casinos, electric power companies.  In short the United States of America and Canada.

How Does The United Association Operate?

The United Association is led by a group of General Officers who are elected by the delegates at a convention held every five years.   Members who attend these conventions as delegates are elected by their brother/sister members at the local union level.

The General Office has many departments and functions, including Jurisdiction, Organizing, Training, Legislative and Safety.  Each General Officer pledges to uphold the United Association constitution and no protect the interest and welfare of all members.

How Many Locals and Members Are In The United Association

Currently, there are over 325 local unions in the United Association, with over 300,000 members.

The local unions are located in all of the 50 states of America and every Province of Canada.  Members are free to travel from one local area to another to satisfy the needs of local work conditions.

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.