Are you ready to be part of our team?
Are you ready to be part of our team?
How It All Began
The program was established by Peter Schoemann, the General President of the UA and Ray Casey, the Executive Director of the Association. During the inception, the UA solicited the assistance of Penn State University.
Each Apprentice would receive a textbook by mail, study the material independently, take a paper-based test in a booklet and then mail it back to the University to be assessed. Penn State would then grade the test, share the student’s results with the JATC and the program administrator, and then return mail the results to the students.
Jack Walsh was the first Director of Training; a position he held from 1967-1997 recognized from the start that the Penn State courses, while covering the right topics, lacked practical application and insight for the Sprinkler Fitter. The courses were too theoretical. As a result, Walsh revamped the courses not only to include on-the- job information but also to present the information from the Sprinkler Fitter perspective.
With technology constantly changing, so has the JATC program. Today the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee governs all training for Sprinkler Fitters Local 669. The JATC is an independent training committee with four members of Local 669 and four from the management side of the industry, all are associated with the National Fire Sprinkler Association (NFSA).
The 5-year Apprenticeship period is divided into one-year segments, each to include 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours of related classroom instruction and independent study. The Apprenticeship program blends on-the- job training, hands-on training and virtual training that features online access to 19 courses offered through Washtenaw Community College, a nationally recognized college.
Once an apprentice successfully completes the apprenticeship program and becomes a Journeyman, many opportunities lie ahead. You can work as a foreman, move up to superintendent or even move into management with a company. On the other hand, you can strive to continue building on the most respected labor unions in the construction industry. Being identified as a Sprinkler Fitter is both rewarding and fulfilling.
This gives the members of Local 669 the flexibility to work in almost any part of the United States. The career of a Sprinkler Fitter provides a wide range of achievement and advancement opportunities. Once an apprentice successfully completes the apprenticeship program and becomes a Journeyman, many opportunities lie ahead. You can work as a foreman, move up to superintendent or even move into management with a company. Being identified as a Sprinkler Fitter is both rewarding and fulfilling.
Nature of the Work
The United Association’s Sprinkler Fitters Local 669 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) provides apprenticeship training and opportunities in 48 -States. The Apprenticeship Program is a five year program which includes on-the- job training from qualified journey workers and correspondence course through a nationally recognized college. Once you have entered the Apprenticeship Program and have completed your six month probationary period you will become a member of Local 669. The advantage of this career opportunity is to become a highly trained and skilled Sprinkler Fitter protecting lives and property.
The UA Sprinkler Fitters Local 669 apprenticeship program is offered through the JOINT APPRENTICESHIP AND TRAINING COMMITTEE. (J.A.T.C.)
The JATC governs all training for Sprinkler Fitters Local 669. This encompasses our more than 10,000 active journey-person and more than 2,000 apprentices.
The UA Sprinkler Fitters Local 669 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (J.A.T.C.) program are always looking for capable individuals to join our trade.
Not only do apprentices gain much-needed, hands-on training inside and outside of the classroom, they also earn a living wage from day one. An Apprentice is paid at a percentage of the Journeyperson wage and it is negotiated from state to state, based on economic conditions of the prevailing state. Each six months of the Apprenticeship, the Apprentice’s records are reviewed to make sure that there is satisfactory progress both on the job and in the related training courses. Satisfactory progress means an advancement to the next classification or level and a wage increase until the Apprentice completes the five-year program.
This means, unlike traditional post-high school education, apprentices do not accumulate thousands of dollars in debt. They have the ability to build a solid, stable middle-class life.
Consistent across the country with every J.A.T.C. apprenticeship program, is the fact apprentices are paid escalating wages while they are being educated. Every year your wages increase as your knowledge in the trade grows.
All apprentices participate in a Health and Welfare program that provides medical coverage. In addition to that, Apprentices start building a pension once they meet the stipulated requirement to begin participation. Both the Health and Welfare and Pension programs are among the finest in the construction industry.
At the time of our inception, the World was at War (WWI); Railroads were the chief means of transportation; and Arizona and New Mexico had just been declared states. The United States would go through the Great Depression, another World War (WWII), the Korean and the Viet Nam conflicts, and even put men on the moon, before Local 669 was to function as an autonomous local union.
In the early days of sprinkler fitting, sprinkler systems were only installed in large industrial projects, but today it is common to see systems being installed in commercial, manufacturing, medical, and even residential facilities. In 1915, the nonunion sprinkler fitter would draw one dollar per day in wages, but after the United Association worked out the agreement with the contractors association, the wages went to two dollars per day. The first agreement was a five year agreement and before the agreement was finally signed, the wage rate was fixed at four dollars per day with a built-in adjustment to four dollars and fifty cents per day for the last two years of the contract. The first agreement became effective July 1, 1915 and expired July 20,1920. We all share the deepest gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices and perseverance of those who came before us. Due to Local 669 becoming an autonomous local union in 1972, the greater share of this historical data will serve as a tribute to those who have led and prepared Local 669 to move into the 21st Century.
“Reflections of the past give new visions for the future.” At best it is fair to refer to Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union No. 669, U.A., as being almost 100 years young. On April 6, 1915, an agreement was signed by the United Association with the National Automatic Sprinkler Association, Inc., an employer group made up of the larger sprinkler manufacturing companies in the United States. It wasn’t until 1972 that Local 669 functioned as an autonomous local union.
Sprinkler Fitters were known as migratory workers, therefore in the United Association’s Constitution, Section 88, the local union is called “Road Sprinkler Fitters Local 669.” This was due to the fact that the men working for the large sprinkler companies had to travel state to state in order to maintain their employment, installing sprinkler equipment.
Beginning in 1915, Road Sprinkler Fitters were taken into membership directly in the United Association. The Sprinkler Fitters actually held a general membership in the United Association. Local 669 was set up as a division of the United Association and was administered as such until the members of Local 669 elected its first full time officers and representatives in the summer of 1972. During these fifty-seven years of Local 669’s History, several key events took place. Several of the events were the direct result of law changes affecting organized labor.