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

The following information is provided as a general overview/guideline and it subject to change. Information as to earnings and benefits should be verified with the trade office in your geographical area as it can vary from province to province.

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

Top Officer:
William P. Hite, General President

UA Local 488 in Edmonton has added over 100 former military to their membership!

UA is a multi-craft union that represents plumbers and pipe, sprinkler, and refrigeration fitters, as well as service technicians. All of these jobs require the installation, remodeling or maintenance of systems that carry water, steam, air and other liquids or gases necessary for sanitation, industrial production, heating and air conditioning, and many other uses. Workers measure, cut, and bend pipe, as well as weld, braze, caulk, solder, glue or thread joints at residential and commercial job sites.

What do Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Do?

  • Install, Remodel, and Maintain Various Sanitation and Heating and Air Conditioning Systems
  • Measure, Cut, and Bend Pipe
  • Weld, Braze, Caulk, Solder, Glue or Thread Joints at Residential and Commercial Job Sites

What is a Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Apprenticeship Program?

To join the UA without any prior experience, individuals enter a United Association five-year apprenticeship program and are part of a select group of men and women motivated to learn a complex and challenging trade while upholding the ideals of trade unionism.

Applicants are evaluated on the same fair basis, without regard to race, sex, national origin or religious affiliation.

UA apprentices learn through both classroom and on-the-job training in what is considered by many to be the best construction industry apprentice program in the world. The five-year apprenticeship period is divided into one-year segments, each of which includes 1,700 to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 216 hours of related classroom instruction.

All UA apprentices receive a strong general education background in the trade, with core courses in basics such as mathematics, drawing and so on. At a certain point, apprentices can choose a specific path to follow, to become trained as a journeyman plumber, pipe fitter, sprinkler fitter, service mechanic, and so on. Apprenticeship is not an easy time: UA apprentices must work the same hours as journeymen plus attend night classes. Yet, this can be a highly rewarding career path for an individual who is motivated to learn the piping trade and become an active member of a proud and noble trade union.

Certification Programs

Certification is the wave of the future in the piping industry. With the increasingly complex and challenging work that must be done by the modern pipe mechanic, it is almost required that craftsmen seek some form of official validation of their skills. In addition to the considerable prestige and knowledge that comes with being a UA journeyman, UA members can also pursue these certifications in a variety of specialized areas. UA Certification Programs include valve repair, medical gas installation, welding, CFC removal, and instrumentation. Each of these programs relies on third party validation for an objective evaluation and testing of our members' skills and abilities.

Welder's Certification Program

The UA Welder Certification Program has no parallel in the building and construction industry. Developed and designed to help meet the growing need for experienced, quality welders.

The program provides pre-tested, certified and immediately available journeymen welders throughout the United States and Canada at no cost to the construction user. The United Association underwrites the cost of testing and qualifying its welders by independent testers, auditors and other third parties involved in the program's success.

Who Needs UA Certified Welders?

America's power companies are leading the way in signing on to the United Association Welder Certification Program. In construction and maintenance of critical assurance of continuing compliance with the energy industry's demanding quality and safety standards.

Breweries and other food and beverage producers; pharmaceutical, educational, medical, and correctional facilities; malls and other large commercial developments all depend on quality workmanship.

UA's Welder Certification Process

UA welders are tested at local training sites across the United States and Canada under a consistent set of guidelines and rules.

Applicants are tested on the welding processes most commonly used on the majority of construction projects. Welders can choose to seek certification in any or all processes.

How Much Will I Earn?

You earn while you learn the trade. Union journeymen Plumbers and Pipefitters wages and fringe benefits are negotiated on their behalf by the union through collective bargaining with signatory contractors. Some apprenticeship programs partner with community colleges to offer college credit for apprenticeship classes.

Wages vary according to the geographic location of the local union. The average starting wage for 1st year apprentices is 40 - 50% of the Journeyman's wage rate plus fringe benefits. Your earnings are adjusted annually to reflect your advancing skills and increasing knowledge of the trade.

What Type Of Work Will I Do?

UA members (plumbers, pipefitters, sprinklerfitters, refrigeration fitters, and service technicians) are involved in just about every aspect of construction involving piping from the space program to nuclear power houses to refineries to shipbuilding. UA craftsmen ply their skills in commercial, industrial and residential arenas. They may be found on jobsites involving single family homes, garden and high-rise apartment buildings, large and small office buildings, power plants, chemical installations and factories. At this very moment, there may also be UA members at work installing complicated medical gas piping in your local hospital or putting sprinkler systems in the hotel where you will take your family on vacation. Other UA members are laying pipelines that stretch across the landscape to serve your community's energy needs. Visitors to the 1996 Olympic venues in Atlanta, Georgia and sports enthusiasts trekking to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio all have seen firsthand just a few of the many recent projects built or expanded with the craftsmanship of UA members.