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  • Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices
    Local 281 of the Chicagoland Area

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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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CBA Summary and Current CBA - (8/6/2017)

Members of Local 281:

The Local 281 CBA Negotiations Committee and all the Officers would like to thank the entire Membership for their unwavering support during the recent CBA Negotiations.  Without that support, the resulting CBA would not have been achieved.

Attached is a signed copy of the Local 281 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFSA, effective June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2020.  We are very pleased with the terms of the CBA and feel that we obtained a very fair agreement for our Members, their families, and signatory contractors. We have provided a summary of the significant changes below: 

Wages and Benefits
The NFSA proposed very modest wage and benefit increases, and all increases were contingent on Local 281 agreeing to language changes that would be detrimental to its Members (overtime, work-hours, etc.).  That said, Local 281 was able to obtain a very favorable wage and benefit increase and did not agree to any detrimental language changes.  Under the new CBA, Local 281 Members will receive the following wage and benefit increases:

$2.50 increase in 2017
$2.75 increase in 2018
$3.00 increase in 2019  

Most importantly, Local 281 Members will have the right to allocate these increases as we see fit.  The NFSA originally proposed that the NFSA would have a say in how the increases are allocated.  This was not acceptable.  This is our money and under the new CBA we will have the right to allocate these increases as we see fit.  

In addition to the wages, the per diem for Members working in downtown Chicago is increased from $5.00 per day to $8.00 per day.  In addition, when employees move from job to job they will be reimbursed at the standard I.R.S. rate, currently fifty-four cents ($0.54) per mile instead of the thirty-five cents ($0.35) per mile that was paid under the prior CBA. 

Language Changes 
The NFSA proposed drastic language changes to the overtime and work-hours provisions that would have severely limited and reduced when overtime is paid to Local 281 Members.  The NFSA also proposed getting rid of all double time pay.  Local 281 refused all of these proposals.  We were able to retain all of the existing overtime and work-hours language, including the requirement for double-time pay for applicable overtime work.  

The NFSA also made several other language change proposals that would have been detrimental to Local 281.  Local 281 strongly resisted all of NFSA’s language change proposals.  Local 281 did not agree to any language changes that were unfavorable for Members of Local 281.  Local 281 was able to retain all of the current work rules, safety rules, union security rules and other related provisions from the prior agreement. 

Work Jurisdiction
The NFSA's first proposal was to eliminate any LU 281 Member from performing Inspections and Testing entirely.  Additionally they demanded that language be added to the CBA that allows employers to use non-union employees to perform inspecting and testing.  Neither proposal was acceptable to Local 281. Local 281 has a long history of having inspections and testing performed only by Members of Local 281 and it was important that we preserve this practice.  

Local 281 was able to retain all of the jurisdiction language and rejected all of the changes proposed by the NFSA.  

As it did under the prior CBA, under the new CBA Local 281’s jurisdiction includes, amongst other things, “all applicable points of the 50 Articles of Jurisdiction of the U.A., as may be amended from time to time.” In 2011, the U.A. added “inspecting and testing” to the 50 Articles of Jurisdiction.  Accordingly, the inspecting and testing of fire sprinklers is included in Local 281’s jurisdiction and has been since 2011 when it was added to the U.A. Articles of Jurisdiction, 

In an email exchange between the NFSA’s attorney and Local 281’s attorney, the parties agreed that the new CBA does not expand Local 281’s jurisdiction beyond what was included in the CBA that expired May 31, 2017.  That said, because the inspection and testing language of the U.A. Articles of Jurisdiction was added in 2011, there is no question that they were already included in the CBA that expired May 31, 2017, and therefore already part of Local 281’s jurisdiction.

It has recently come to the attention of Local 281 that some contractors may be using non-union employees to perform inspecting and testing work. It has also come to our attention that the NFSA may be using the above email exchange as evidence that the use of non-union employees to perform inspecting and testing is permissible under the CBA.  It is not.  The terms of the CBA are crystal clear that inspections and testing are within Local 281’s jurisdiction.  Local 281 intends to take action against any contractor that violates the CBA by using non-union employees to perform work within Local 281’s jurisdiction.     

Please feel free to contact Local 281 with any questions or concerns related to the new CBA.

Click below for the CBA effective June 1, 2017 - June 1, 2020.

Click here for the CBA

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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.

Promotional Videos

For more information on High-Rise Fire Safety, please click here.  Below is a Playlist of videos related to Fire Sprinkler Systems.  Click 'Play All' to view all the videos.

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