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More like this, please

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016

* This is one of my bigger beefs with anti-union types. The trades have huge and vital training facilities in this state. If we want good jobs, we need highly trained workers. Who’s gonna train these folks if the government hobbles their unions?…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Business Manager James Coyne and leadership from Plumbers’ Local 130 to break ground on the union’s new training center in the West Loop. When complete the center will provide a modern, green learning environment for more than 4,000 journeymen and apprentice plumbers.

“Skilled workers are a part of the fabric of Chicago,” Mayor Emanuel said. “From the success that comes with advanced training to the values that come from vital work, this new center is building a strong foundation for the City of Chicago.”

The 50,000-square-foot new training center will be complete in July 2017. When complete the center will offer a number of technology-related and green, as well as traditional plumbing skills courses.

“The Plumbers Local 130 is building a green building for the City of Chicago that will serve as a state-of-the-art learning center for the future of skilled labor,” Business Manager and JAC Chairman James F. Coyne said. “This 50,000-square-foot, three-story building will create jobs and pave the way for the future by showcasing rainwater harvesting, solar energy and grey water systems, and training thousands of Apprentices and Journeymen who Protect the Health of the Nation.”

The center will also prepare apprentices to work on projects involved appliances, fixtures, rain and gray water harvesting systems and solar systems. Plan reading will be taught, as well as the safe, correct and efficient installation and maintenance of systems including underground water supply, storm water, sewer drainage, fixture installation, and waste and vent piping both inside and outside of commercial buildings and residential homes.

…Adding… Gov. Rauner signed the Plumbers’ training bill back in May. Good move.

…Adding More… Twitters…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    Thank you Sisters and Brothers of Plumbers Local 130. Solidarity

  2. - New Slang - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:41 am:

    Great point. Robots may do many jobs which humans used to do, however, it takes skilled labor to build the infrastructure.

  3. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    Not everyone will benefit from, or is suited for, a 4-year college education. There will be a critical shortage of skilled tradespeople as the older workforce retires, and these training programs help fill the need. One on my son’s friends recently went through the Pipefitters’ program and is now making a pretty good living for a Gen Y’er.

  4. - BK Bro - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:46 am:

    Good news. I predicted that Rauner would pull a Christie a do the trade unions > public sector unions argument. Argue that trade unions are the more productive of the bunch while public sector unions just kind of leach to the system. Not saying that’s right or wrong, just saying that it worked for Chris Christie in NJ to split the opposition. Doesn’t seem like Rauner is jumping on that though.
    On a more serious note: Will this lead to some competitors for the Super Mario Brothers?

  5. - Dave - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:48 am:


  6. - Ahoy! - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    –The trades have huge and vital training facilities in this state.–

    I agree with that and they often have a superior workforce. My beef with them is when they bully businesses for not using them and try to rig laws that require their use, essentially trying to create a monopoly. I will not support monopolies.

    Also, I think it’s important to differentiate between the public sector unions that have become too powerful vs unions that cater a lot to the private such as building & trades groups that offer this kind of workforce development. Public sector unions such as AFSME, Police & Fire unions are just too powerful and taking management decisions out of elected people’s hands. These are unions who don’t want a mayor or police chief to be able to fire an officer who steals on the job or commits other crimes.

    As with everything there is a fine balance that needs to exist and Illinois is off-kilter.

  7. - DGD - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    Vocational schools, community colleges ?

  8. - Sick & Tired - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:52 am:

    I’d love to be in a skilled trade. Unfortunately, I’m a women, and I hear it’s still notoriously difficult being a woman in a skilled trade.

  9. - Dee Lay - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    “These are unions who don’t want a mayor or police chief to be able to fire an officer who steals on the job or commits other crimes.”

    Oh please, they want due process. Cops want bad cops out as much as everyone else - they don’t want unilateral discretion for politicals to fire officers without cause.

  10. - TinyDancer(FKA Sue) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    Now, how about a training center for electricians, bricklayers, and dry-wallers - create good jobs while putting an end to shoddy construction.

  11. - Out Here In The Middle - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    Ahoy - your real beef should be with the elected officials who negotiated those contracts. A big part of the problem is that elected officials will always settle for “peace in our time . . . paid for sometime after I leave office”.

  12. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    This is exactly right. The Governor wants to hold up southern, right-to-work states like South Carolina and Alabama as economic development models. These are the same states with the lowest wages, lowest high school graduation rates, the highest poverty rates, the highest income inequalities, and the shortest life expectancies. Unions are a powerful antidote to poverty. They improve the overall quality of life for everyone.

  13. - Anon - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:03 am:

    =Who’s gonna train these folks if the government hobbles their unions?=

    Uhhh, Ivy Tech is training thousands of manufacturing workers across Indiana. With the exact blueprints of nearby employers no less.

  14. - Doug - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:14 am:

    Yeah, like right to work states don’t have plumbers and electricians……

  15. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    @ Anon 11:03am. Unions also work with community colleges. Check this out:

    Additionally, what is wrong with workers having control over their training? Manufacturers spend a lot of time deskilling workers so that they are more easy to replace and can be paid lower wages. When workers have control over the training process, that also gives workers more control in general. And in capitalism, it is a good idea to have empowered workers. Otherwise, we become Brazil, or some other struggling capitalist economy where workers have low-skill jobs and are paid a pittance.

  16. - Lomez - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:15 am:

    ==Who’s gonna train these folks if the government hobbles their unions==

    Jesus. As if millions upon millions of people aren’t trained across thousands of areas every year with zero involvement of the the government or unions. We have just magically decided that skilled tradesfolk are unique and require neverending protection from the government.

  17. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:16 am:

    I work with a lot of non-union pipefitters in the oil and gas industry. Quality of work is indistinguishable from the union guys.

  18. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:18 am:

    @ Illinois Bob. What is your point? Are you saying we don’t need unions?

  19. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    @ Doug. Of course Alabama has plumbers and electricians. They are just paid a lot less. A search on salary comparisons between Illinois and Alabama on shows that a journeyman plumber in Alabama earns $46,000 per year. In Illinois, the salary is $52,000. That is a good thing for the Illinois economy.

  20. - Lomez - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:26 am:

    ==Are you saying we don’t need unions?==

    That is exactly what I am saying.

  21. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    Here is another point about having a union-controlled training center. The governor shows that he does not care about work force development and training. He is willing to let higher education, including community colleges and universities wither on the vine. Rauner does not care if we have good plumbers, electricians, or carpenters. He just wants to destroy unions and the middle class.

    If unions are controlling worker training, anti-worker governors like Rauner are less able to interfere with work force development for good, blue collar middle class jobs. Remember, Rauner only cares about the 1.0%. He is not concerned about the rest of us.

  22. - The Answer is Obvious - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    How about they get training at junior colleges?

  23. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:33 am:

    @ the Answer is Obvious. Union workers do get training at community colleges. There are many, many partnerships between unions and community colleges to train skilled workers. Here is an example of a program at Joliet Community College to train union carpenters:

    There are many examples of this kind of partnership across Illinois.

  24. - Harry - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:38 am:

    Well… a little history is in order.

    The trades used to work with CPS and jointly sponsored and ran a large training and apprenticeship program at Washburn. The unions had a lot of control over who was admitted and used that power for purposes of nepotism, which angered minorities who saw their people getting a disproportionately low share of slots because the traditionally white union members were sponsoring their mostly white friends and relatives. I am not suggesting racist intent, but this was a long-standing problem.

    This all came to a head about 20 years or so ago, with minority groups pushing for what they saw as a more equitable sharing of slots, and the unions resisting because they viewed it as their program, their unions, and their right to steer slots to whom they wanted, esp. keeping union careers “in the family.”

    The result was that most unions pulled out of Washburn, rather than more fully integrate.

    So, now the Plumbers break ground on their own facility with all the pols lined up as if there’s no backstory to any of this.

  25. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    The unions’ training programs are really good ole’ capitalism at work. The training gives value to the represented workforce, which should in turn open up employment opportunities for skilled workers, as well as provide employers with a more highly valued resource from which to draw. A union that doesn’t help raise the bar and introduce quality control for its employees is just a bargaining unit, and some do this far better than others.

  26. - Doug - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    — shows that a journeyman plumber in Alabama earns $46,000 per year. In Illinois, the salary is $52,000. That is a good thing for the Illinois economy.

    Bahahahaha….you want to compare growth between lowly, redneck, backwards Alabama and your state? While Alabama thrives and is growing by tens of thousands of residents (most fleeing pro union states), Illinois is shrinking….

  27. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    Sure, there could be a non-union training and qualification counterpart…it is nice to have your training paid for upon acceptance into the apprenticeship program, rather than having to fork out $10k or more in student loans and savings, from the employee’s perspective anyway.

  28. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:47 am:


    =@ Illinois Bob. What is your point? Are you saying we don’t need unions?=

    We don’t “need” them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not beneficial to an industry or workers.

    What I’d like to see is unions that actually had to EARN the support of their workers by letting them leave if they don’t believe the unions are serving them well or fairly. I’d put young teachers (up to about 7 years experience) in the group that should be able to negotiate on their own instead of a “Sole Bargaining agent” that shafts them for senior faculty.

    I also don’t think that public employees should be entitled to strike against the people, but I have no problem with them acting as advocates for participating workers who choose to associate with them.

    History shows us that the most abused become the worst abusers when empowered. I’m afraid that unions in America have followed that trend.

  29. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    @scamp640 shows that a journeyman plumber in Alabama earns $46,000 per year. In Illinois, the salary is $52,000. That is a good thing for the Illinois economy.=

    Not if you’re the one paying 13% more for the same service. That takes it out of YOUR family’s economy and gives it to someone else’s who may or may not spend it in a way that benefits you.

  30. - Union Leader - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    @ Ahoy (10:48am)

    Your statement is so out of line.

    First of all, the “people” elect representatives to represent them, and that would include negotiating contracts. And I don’t know of one Police or Fire Union official who wants to protect an officer/firefighter who steals or commits other crimes, while on the job. It only gives them and their unions a bad reputation.

    Get over your hatred for public sector unions.

  31. - LBJ - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    I don’t know. The South doesn’t have any unions and their education system, public works, health care systems,racial and gay equality issues seem to be in pretty good shape.

  32. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    ===Uhhh, Ivy Tech is training thousands of manufacturing workers across Indiana.====
    This is a joke, correct? If Ivy Tech is teaching up to the same standards that the Chicago plumbers union is I would eat some…something. The building codes in Indiana are a joke. And the lack of enforcement of their watered down codes is even worse.

  33. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===And I don’t know of one Police or Fire Union official who wants to protect an officer/firefighter who steals or commits other crimes, while on the job.===


    ===A white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the shooting of a black teenager has been hired to work as a janitor for the city’s police union as he awaits trial, the union president said Thursday.===

  34. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    Illinois Bob

    Always there to advocate for lower pay.

    I’ve asked this before and you’ve yet to answer. Why don’t you give us your salary schedules for every profession out there so that we know what you think is a “fair” wage for everyone. You seem to think everyone makes too much money. I’d be interested to know what you think their worth.

  35. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:05 pm:

    That was me above

  36. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    We should all be cheering stuff like this. The anti-union folks are letting their union hatred get in the way of seeing that this is a good thing.

  37. - Fr. Murphy - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:16 pm:

    IDES used to have the Apprenticeship Information Center located in downtown Chicago
    It was a small 3 person unit, purpose was to explain (via school speaking events and office visits) the idea of apprenticeship and the sign up process for same, in order to encourage non-connected kids into the trade unions, specifically minorities and women.
    They,also, administered aptitude tests when a specific “local” opened up their waiting list. Somewhere along the line, in the ’90’s, the “powers that be” reduced it down to one person and then dispersed that job through their area offices, and then it went away.

  38. - Bigfoot - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:17 pm:

    I was at the University of Alabama when George took his stand . Alabama has come a “fur” piece but has a long way to go to catch up.
    If it wasn’t for the space industry wage reflection would be in the tank.

  39. - Skirmisher - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    Let us not confuse trade unions and our public employee unions. The trade unions go to great lengths to assure that an employer gets real value in skilled employees. Public employee unions, not so much.

  40. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:02 pm:

    ===I’d love to be in a skilled trade. Unfortunately, I’m a women, and I hear it’s still notoriously difficult being a woman in a skilled trade. ===
    Sick and Tired, check out the web site below. And my 50 year old sister is still a laborer. She doesn’t take any feedback from any guy on the jobs. The trades, as have most people, have changed. Give it a shot if you are really interested.

  41. - TinyDancer(FKA Sue) - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:14 pm:

    “We have just magically decided that skilled tradesfolk are unique and require neverending protection from the government.”

    When construction companies quit picking up unskilled day-laborers on street corners just to save a buck, we can quit protecting skilled tradesmen.

  42. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:15 pm:

    Sadly, private sector trade unions get thrown in with the government union issues.

    But one issue that is rarely discussed is the growing inability of non-unionized, non-professionals to afford the services of unionized workers.

    While unionized workers, for the most part, stayed ahead of inflation and maintained benefits, not so for the majority of folks out there. For the average American, a unionized plumber or electrician is unaffordable, as are the taxes supporting the unionized government labor force.

    This income/benefits disparity is coming to a head, and no one has a good answer.

  43. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    === I work with a lot of non-union pipefitters in the oil and gas industry. ===

    Yesterday i-bob was a retired physics teacher. Today he’s an engineer. I hope tomorrow there’s a thread about satellite t.v. so he can be an astronaut.

  44. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 1:53 pm:

    Great news.

    I also read or heard somewhere that there’s a shortage of skilled tradespeople in Chicago because workers went into other fields after the Great Recession.

    Speaking of great union news and in a blow to plaintiffs, SCOTUS won’t reopen the Friedrichs case. This could bode really well, if recent polls accurately predict who will be the next president.

  45. - Concerned - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    Bob, the economy is not a zero-sum game.

  46. - Illinois bob - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 2:16 pm:


    =Yesterday i-bob was a retired physics teacher. Today he’s an engineer. I hope tomorrow there’s a thread about satellite t.v. so he can be an astronaut.=

    juvenal, some of us have led interesting lives where we savor doing a lot of things.

    I guess if you’ve devoted your whole life to being a government shill you’d have a hard time understanding that….

  47. - Illinois Bob - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 2:20 pm:


    =Bob, the economy is not a zero-sum game.=

    It can be, depending how capital is spent. If you spend the morning digging a hole and the afternoon filling back in every day, you add no value to the economy or add wealth to a society.

    The same goes if spend $50 for $30 of service.

    If you think spending money unproductively somehow helps the economy, I suggest you go visit Greece or Southern Italy (or Chicago City hall) some time…

  48. - Scamp640 - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    @ Illinois Bob. I don’t think you know how a capitalist economy works. If you have a society based on capitalist mass production, you need mass consumption. In order to have mass consumption, you need a sizeable middle class making a living wage so that they can buy stuff. Henry Ford understood that in the 1930s when he advocated for higher working class wages. Why don’t you understand this?

    It’s hard to believe that working class people have to save capitalism from the capitalists.

  49. - Daniel Plainview - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 4:59 pm:

    - I work with a lot of non-union pipefitters in the oil and gas industry. Quality of work is indistinguishable from the union guys. -

    I work with a lot of union fitters, operators, carpenters, and laborers in the oil and gas industry, and owner company representatives and inspectors often comment on the quality of their work being superior to non-Union.

    But that doesn’t really matter here, Bob, because it’s merely an unprovable and unquantified anecdote. Something you have a never ending supply of for nearly every issue imaginable.

    Yet, you never seem to have any data showing that union workers ultimately cost more than their non-union counterparts, other than wages which is but one part of the cost of a project. For such an amazing engineer, I’d think you’d be a big fan of data.

    Maybe you’ve had such a diverse career because no one wanted to keep you around one place for long.

  50. - Augie - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 5:29 pm:

    I have found that many manufacturers and other companies are always hitting up area community colleges to install programs related to there business. Basically asking the tax payers to pay for training there employees. They ask for very specific training. This always kind of bothered me, but I could accept it if it means jobs for my community. I will say most trade unions fund %100 or very close to it, all of there own training. They are self sufficient no tax dollars, unlike a lot of others.” Collectivism “at work.

  51. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 6:46 pm:

    Just caught a pro-prevailing-wage spot on the Cubs game, focused on veterans.

    Didn’t catch the disclaimer on who funded it.

  52. - Lomez - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 8:02 pm:

    ==I work with a lot of union fitters, operators, carpenters, and laborers in the oil and gas industry, and owner company representatives and inspectors often comment on the quality of their work being superior to non-Union.==

    It really is something. People in such high-skilled positions doing such high-quality work — so dependent on unions, work rules, statutory protections for things like prevailing wage. Seemingly the only ones too.

    It really is something.

  53. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 9:22 pm:

    @ Lomez. You’re right. It is something. Protections for workers to earn a living wage. The foundation of a democracy.

  54. - Daniel Plainview - Tuesday, Jun 28, 16 @ 9:24 pm:

    Lomez, what an insight laden, informative post.

    Are you under the impression that prevailing wage is a big thing for the oil and gas industry? Can you expand a bit on work rules for pipeline trades?

    I’d love to hear more from a genius like you.

  55. - Lomez - Wednesday, Jun 29, 16 @ 12:53 am:

    ==Protections for workers to earn a living wage. The foundation of a democracy.==

    The foundation for democracy is the government stepping in to curtail the ability of the free market to determine wages appropriately for select workers.


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* White Sox can't hold early lead as Covey exits
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* Sanchez makes heads-up play to catch Fowler

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