Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Yes, it is true.  Sprinkler Fitters Local 281 membership authorized a strike vote Wednesday, May 18.
Because it is the right thing to do!

With the strike authorization vote in place, "gainfully employed" members of Local 281 will be joining the "infinitely furloughed" in solidarity.

It has been "three long years" of contiguous unemployment for some 281 members. That's long enough time to do some collective thinking.

So grab yourselves some refreshments, then pull up a chair and sit awhile.

Do ya wanna hear it?
Then here it goes...

It is the loyalty of 281's retiree's in solidarity with the infinitely furloughed brothers and sisters of 281 who have begifted our entire rank and file by delivering an authorized strike vote and the rare opportunity to do some internal housekeeping from the collective toes of Local 281, to the split ends of the national collective head of the U.A.
The National Convention is this August 8.

As it stands,
We Will assemble together to support the collective bargaining negotiations moving forward towards the common benefit of Local 281.
We Will maintain impenetrable picket lines throughout Local 281's territory's...all while daring a rain drops to plop in our collective eyes...
We Will be there with you on the front lines until a mutual agreement between Sprinkler Fitters Union Local 281, U.A. and our Signatory Contractor of the National Fire Sprinkler Association is met!

Since we are here together, let's continue to close ranks to resolve some internal issues and adjust some attitudes.

The recently "unemployed due to default of strike" owe the retiree's and the "infinitely furloughed!"

The retiree's owe the "infinitely furloughed" the same unwavering support given for the strike authorization vote in benefit of the "recently unemployed due to default of strike!"

You ALL owe the "ifinitely furloughed!
They closed ranks along side the retiree's and voted to authorize a strike while the majority of the currently employed (at that time of the vote) did not bother to show up to the war room nor gave a damn!

You ALL owe the "infinitely furloughed" because they cared enough to do battle even with the fore-knowledge that the greater percentage of us will never be tapped to return to an actively employed status within Sprinkler Fitter Local 281...

Which brings us to the heart of the matter.

The "infinitely unemployed" members of Local 281 are out of benefits.

It is said that "Charity starts at home, then spreads abroad"...

We are in tough times.
Therefore it warrants tough love.

"Charity does starts at home for the Local 281 members who are Friends and Family of the existing and past managers of day to day Business, Health and Welfare Funds operations for Sprinkler Fitters Local 281."

Hands down no arguement! It is true and everybody knows this!

There exists an arbitrarily select sub-culture group of 281members who maintain employment histories with minimum periods of unemployment.
This same group receives employment opportunity information from Local 281 managers and Signatory Contractors first and second, leaving the remaining  to be divided amongst 281 members outside of the Friends and Family Network and the minority members of Local 281".

Local 281 administration sucks at fair distribution of employment opportunity information.

Selective release of employment opportunity information is the sharpest tool in the box of intimidation tricks the Signatory Contractors use against rank and file with the blessings of Union officers for 100 years or better.

In our craft, the Signatory Contractors who have assigned their bargaining rights to the GREEDY NFSA Monopoly have closed rank to muscle out the smaller and start up contractors.
That would be us in case you can't recognize yourself.
We know this because so many of us have attempted to build our own companies only to fail against the monopoly market that a greedy few have cornered within the fire protection industry.
The lists of who has signed the interim contract and who the hold outs are is posted on the 281 website.

Not just Sprinkler Fitters, but all Building Trades union rank and file members across the great city of Chicago should not continue to supply fuel which allows the Signatory Contractors and Union administrators to co-sign these bad checks of intimidation with ink from our blood sweat and tears!


Providing special benefits for some Members, not afforded to all Members can be eliminated only
IF, as a self-corrective action plan, we install a seniority-class based hiring hall at Local 281.

A seniority-class based hiring hall would be a "Most Favoured Nation" clause to the collective soul of Sprinkler Fitters Local 281.

It would be inspiration for the souls of other Building Trades Unions in need of fair exposure to employment opportunity across our respective crafts throughout Chicago and her greater suburbs.
"Remember, our fellow craft unions will not cross the Sprinkler Fitter's picket line."
Our fellow Craft Unions need to know the Sprinkler Fitters understand the need to self improve our unions from within.  They need to understand what we stand for.
As retiree's, infinitely furloughed and the recently unemployed by default of strike, stand on picket lines in solidarity, the infinitely furloughed need and want all to know, one would have to be brain dead to not think...

We need a turn to build our hours up enough to regain our benefits, to pay our mortgages and feed our families too!

Seniority - class based hiring halls can be all inclusive and fair.
There is nothing more liberating then knowing exactly when you're " Batter Up" for the team.
When all the dust of negotiations has settled from bringing in our contractual home run,  we need to know who will rank next on the roster?

What team will be batter up next?

A hiring hall would "instantaneously stop" the blatant age and wage discriminatory practices the Signatories are infamously known to convent.

Let's not allow the Signatory Contractors to tempt our Union officers with the fruits of divide and conquer.

We ask this change for those Local 281 members who "didn't have a Chinaman" to sponsor their introduction to the sprinkler fitting career...

We ask for the members whose benefits have exhausted because they don't fit the ethnic,  nor gender, nor sexual orientation profile for admission to the "Friends and Family Network...

We ask in the name of the apprentice who by contract cannot solicit their own employment but instead must rely on the un-reviewable discretion of union business agents as an assurance to gaining the precious hours required to attain journey level status.

We especially ask for help from the retired.
Fore you have been around long enough to know Contractors work the apprentice to avoid paying journey level pay scale then toss them away like yesterdays trash should they get too close to top pay scale.
That is blatant age discrimination cloaked in wage disparity! 

The unemployed 281 members need help from the potentially employed 281 members.
It is the oath all took, to lookout for our fellow brethren.

If internally we NEGOTIATE A HIRING HALL NOW during the strike, we could cut the "divide and conquer" power wedge that the Signatories hold between Local 281 officials and its rank and file.

Let's insist our Business Managers lay our hiring hall log on the negotiation fire...
Institute a hiring hall this contract year!
Stop allowing the Signatory Contractors the ability to provide employment opportunity information as a special benefit to Managing members of our Unions over the rank and file members!





  3. Most Favored Nations Clause

    A most favored nations clause specifies that if a the union grants more favorable terms to any employer than those terms already contained in the collective bargaining agreement, then any signatory employer may also apply those favorable terms to its workers. The following is a typical contract clause. “Should the union extend to any other employer within the area covered by this agreement, terms or conditions which are more favorable to said employer than the terms and conditions set forth in this agreement, such terms and conditions shall automatically be extended to all employers, parties to this agreement. “
    In the interest of obtaining uniformity in wages and working conditions, the union also should consider adding a “me too” clause to the collective bargaining agreement. Such a provision would require extending to all crafts any favorable terms that have been granted to one craft.

  4. I have been out of work for three years. My benefits are gone. I am the former bussiness managers relative. What are you talking about! All of my relatives are out of work. We are on picket lines all over Chicago standing up for everyone. So cut the crap!

  5. If you are a relative of someone and have been out of work, just imagine how it is for those of us who have no relatives - we are totally out of luck! Trust me, with your privileged skin when things get better, rest assured that you will one day be picked up. I cannot even hope for that to happen to me.

    I am not asking for pity just a fair shake. There are many of us who are not happy with what is going on. In my opinion, if you are a member of our local and allow others to be dumped on - wait your turn! we call ourselves a "union" yet the contractors control who works or not. We can't even rotate our membership to make sure that everyone have medical benefits. We have former superintendents who can't even get hired. We need a hiring hall to take the power away from the contractors and union officials who determine who works and when. Most of our apprentices who are off are forgotten!

    The retirees and unemployed are asked to stand in line when it is apparent that those of us who are out of work (and are not retired) are out of work by design. We have been told that we may as well look elsewhere instead of our local. Some of us who will never work again for 281 are being asked to strengthen the picket lines. I think we need an outside entity to help manage us AND be fair!

  6. In response to Anonymous June 5, 2011 8:25 A.M.

    Point taken.
    Can we talk for a minute?
    The question is, How do we motivate the signatory contractors to apply the more favorable terms of the "other" collective bargaining agreement between City of Chicago, Local 281 and its Signatory Contractors?

    That contract does not expire until 2017. That contract applies seniority to layoff and recall.
    Me Too! Can I get some of that too?

    The front page of the contract states it was ratified by the Chicago City Council on December 12 2007.
    Where is the date the rank and file of 281 ratified the contract?
    Can we be in the information loop too?

    Seriously! Did we sleep that? Can I get some minute to the meetings please?

    Then too, why is it the 281 members who are working through the strike due to "contractual obligation" sneaking in the back doors of the sites we are picketing as if they stole something?
    Probably because they are full aware they receive special benefits unbeknownst to those outside of the friend and family network.

  7. WI Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association
    The City of Fond du Lac Fire/Rescue will be performing a live fire and sprinkler SxS educational demonstration at the Walleye Weekend event on Sat., June 11th at 2 PM. This is the department's second demonstration this year using a stipend they received from the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition to increase their home fire sprinkler education. NFSA-WI will be assisting with the demonstration.
    Wednesday at 4:27am · Business as usual HFSC ?

  8. China Fire & Security shares jump on buyout offer
    SAN FRANCSICO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of China Fire & Security Group Inc. jumped in after-hours activity Friday following a $9-a-share offer from Bain Capital and the fire protection system maker's managament. China Fire & Security shares rose 17% to $8.56 a share. The deal is expected to close before Nov. 15.


  10. I've been to every union meeting for the past 4 years and never heard these issues brought up. Grow some balls and express your issues at a union meeting in front of the membership. Stop hiding behind a keyboard.

  11. We Were Heard:

    1st Order of business was to clean house Praise to Rahm.

  12. So, did that strike work out for all you "infinitely furloughed" brothers?

    How's your pension fund looking these days?