The distinction between labor and management always has been blurred in the plumbing field. That’s because the vast majority of plumbing firm owners come from the ranks of trade workers who go into business for themselves. Small shop owners
often continue working with the tools alongside hired help. As a result, master plumbers (owners) and plumbers (employees) have never been prone to the class warfare that has plagued so many other industries.
Labor began to get organized in the plumbing industry during the 1890s with the formation of what’s now the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada – typically referred to as the United Association or UA for short. Throughout the last 125 years, many PHCC members have been signatory to labor agreements with the UA. Labor relations between PHCC and UA affiliates have been generally superb. Normal differences of opinion get hammered out as part of the collective bargaining process. Conflict has been more the exception than the rule. The two organizations have worked hand-in-hand through the years via Joint Apprenticeship Committees to develop the best trade training and craftsmanship in the world. The UA and PHCC also have banded together to promote strong code, licensing and inspection standards that help protect the health of the public.