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  • Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices
    Local 281 of the Chicagoland Area

Training Center

Proper and uniform training for persons who desire to become skilled journeymen through an orderly method of improving the mechanical skill and technical knowledge of apprentices in this industry.

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High-Rise Safety

Is your High-Rise building protected from potential death and destruction with a fire sprinkler system? Learn about the benefits of these property and life saving systems today!

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Health & Welfare

For active participants, retired participants and families, our site houses answers to frequently asked questions, a library of all the documents you need to manage your employee benefits, and more.

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Please log in to access the Members Only sections. If you do not have a UA Card Number please contact the UA Local 281 Union Office and they will provide you with your temporary password.

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Collective Bargaining Update - (6/3/2017)

Local 281 has been notified that questions have been raised about why the parties were not able to reach a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  This summary of the negotiations is intended to clarify any of those questions and to clear up any misconceptions about the negotiations.

Local 281 met with the NFSA on five separate dates to negotiate a successor CBA (4/11, 4/26, 5/10, 5/30 and 5/31).   Local 281 made clear to the NFSA that it was available on many additional dates, but these were the only dates that the NFSA would agree to. 

The parties agreed that any language changes to the CBA would be addressed first, and the economic package would be discussed after all of the language changes were resolved.  Unfortunately, discussion over the language changes continued into May 31st.   The primary language dispute related to “inspection and testing” of fire sprinkler systems.   The NFSA required that the CBA be revised so that “inspection and testing” was not included within Local 281’s jurisdiction.  Local 281 would not agree to this change and instead asked that the CBA remain as it is currently written.

When it was clear that the parties were not going to reach an agreement on the “inspection and testing” issue, we decided to move on to the economic package.  Local 281 made its opening economic offer at approximately 2:45 p.m. on May 31st.  The NFSA countered around 4:15 p.m.  After several offers and counteroffers back and forth, the NFSA requested that the parties move back to the “inspection and testing issue", and put the economics aside.  The NFSA again made clear that a successor CBA would not be reached without the “inspection and testing” language being removed from the CBA.  However, the parties still could not agree on a resolution to the “inspection and testing.”  In addition to the “inspection and testing” issue, the NFSA would also not agree to allow Local 281 to allocate the annual wage increases to the benefit funds.    

At approximately 8:10 p.m., after the NFSA declared that the parties were at impasse on the "inspection and testing" issue, Local 281 provided the NFSA with a last, best and final offer.  Without even caucusing or considering the offer, the NFSA rejected it.  The NFSA did not provide a counteroffer.  At that point both sides agreed that the parties were at impasse, meaning further negotiations would be futile.  Bargaining concluded around 8:20 p.m.     

The final economic offer from Local 281 was as follows:
June 1, 2017:  $2.95 to be allocated by the Union;
June 1, 2018:  $2.95 to be allocated by the Union;
June 1, 2019:  $3.10 to be allocated by the Union.

The purpose of Local 281’s wage proposal was not only to get a fair contract for its members, but also to bring the Local 281 total wage package closer to that of its UA brothers at the Plumbers Local 130 and Pipefitters Local 597.   Currently Local 130 is more than $3.00 above Local 281, and Local 597 is $4.00 above.  With the wage increase proposed by Local 281, at the end of the three year contract, Local 281 will still be $0.58 behind Local 130.  Local 597’s agreement will not expire until 2019. 

Local 281 bargained, and will continue to bargain, in good faith in order to reach a fair agreement for its members.

We hope this clarifies any misconceptions about what may have occurred at the bargaining table.

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Welcome to Sprinkler Fitters Local 281

At the United Association of Sprinkler Fitters, Local 281, we are responsible for protecting businesses, schools, homes, and, more importantly, precious lives, from the devastation of fire. It is no wonder we take our jobs so seriously.

Too many cut corners by not installing reliable automatic sprinkler systems. In the event of a fire, these shortcuts can lead to immeasurable damage. Statistics show that buildings with proper fire protection systems suffer twenty-four percent less damage and fire loss than unsprinkled properties.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 1983 to 1987, damage from hotel fires was seventy-eight percent less in buildings with sprinkler systems, than those without. The water damage from automatic sprinkler systems is considerably less than from a fire department's hose stream because sprinkler systems require a minimal amount of water to operate. Oftentimes, a fire is brought under control by only three sprinkler heads, sometimes even fewer.

With so much riding on the skills of our Sprinkler Fitters, it is critical that our journeymen receive the best training available. In addition to a rigorous apprenticeship program, many U.A. Sprinkler Fitters choose to expand their skills by voluntarily participating in advanced training programs.  Some even go on to become instructors through the United Association International Instructor Training Program.

The members of Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 are committed to providing quality installation, service and repair to the piping and fixtures used in sprinkler systems.  They know that when human lives are at stake, there is no room for error, and there might not be a second chance to get it done right. That is why the Sprinkler Fitters of Local 281 do the job right, the first time, every time.

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The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, the parent Union of Local #281 in Chicago, has a long and proud history that goes back more than 100 years.
Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 are pipefitting specialists in fire protection. Our members install, repair and maintain all types of fire extinguishing systems. Please browse our new website to learn more about our members, new merchandise, and to receive up-to-date information about our organization.

Included on our website is our contractor list or you can contact us direct at Local 281 for your important fire protection needs!

Our Skills

  • New Installations
  • Retrofits or Maintenance
  • Professional Inspection
  • Testing and Service