Local History

U.P. PLUMBERS, PIPEFITTERS & HVAC, LOCAL 111 HISTORY

In the beginning there were six (6) United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry locals in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

They were as follows:

  • Local 111 Marquette, MI
  • Local 111 Escanaba, MI
  • Local 111 Sault Ste. Marie, MI
  • Local 111 Iron Mountain, MI
  • Local 111 Marinette & Menominee, WI
  • Local 111 Ironwood, MI

Over the years there were several consolidations, the first was Local 806, consolidated with Local 728. Then on January 1, 1997 Local 635, consolidated with Local 506. On July 1, 1997 Locals 414, 728, consolidated with Local 506.

On June 1, 2007 the United Association of Journey and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada began a new Charter uniting all the U.P Locals into Local 111, with a membership of nearly 600, including 60 apprentices.

The jurisdiction of Local 111 includes the entire Upper Peninsula of MI and Niagara, WI.

After the consolidation on January 1, 1997 with the larger membership a new Union Hall/Training Center was built in 1998 in Escanaba at 2601 North 30th Street. The Marquette Union Hall at 119 South Front Street remains open to serve the membership.

We currently operate two (2) training centers one in Escanaba and the other in Marquette, at NMU Jacobetti Center, with three (3) instructors.

Our apprentices are trained for five (5) years for Plumbing, Pipefitting, HVAC, and Welding.

SOME PAST HISTORY

Escanaba Area:

1952-Members elected to official duties at that time were:
President: Laurence Peterson
Vice President: Robert Vannberg
Recording Secretary: Frank Moersch
Financial Secretary, Treasurer: Peter Christenson
Inside Guard: Ruben Jefferson

Members during its inception were, John Kidd, Bill Beyersdorf, Del Potvin, Martin Trotter, Ray Goodreau, Milton Monson, Laurence Peterson, Robert Vannberg, Frank Moersch, Peter Christenson, Ruben Jerrerson, Oscar Vannsberg, Donald King, Len Dahl, Henry King, Ragnar Keallarson, Francis Lancour, Stanley Jefferson.

The local over the years established and built a new building at 1625 Sheridan Road along with a small training center in the rear. Business Manager during this change was Steve Courier. The building on Sheridan road being outgrown and a new sight located, the future plans came into reality for a new and larger complex to serve its membership and especially expand a training center to comply with the new generation of computers and technology along with certifications required for our trade.

The local took on many changes after the merger. As membership started growing more, the office and training center we were in at the time on Sheridan road was sold in 1998, and began to look for land at the Industrial park in Escanaba.

During the year of 1998, the local negotiated a contract to purchase land from the City of Escanaba in the Industrial Park area and build a new office complex and training center for its growing membership.

Plans were drawn up for a new building and training center to meet a much larger membership. Douglas Schroeder became training coordinator for our new training center and after the sale, the local moved to a temporary location at 1809 3rd avenue, until the new complex was completed during 1998. Many members and apprentices took part in construction of our new facility from the beginning to its final completion.

Marquette area:

Marquette local was formed in the Upper Peninsula in 1946 comprising of 26 chartered members. The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe fitter industry was formed and chartered December 28, 1946 from a small group of persons being employees of small non-union shops. Jurisdiction of seven counties of Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, Marquette, Alger, and Schoolcraft were included in the charter. Over the next 50 plus years, union membership grew during the period when Industrial, commercial and small industries sprang up all over the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Among the construction projects attended by union membership, included projects at Northern Michigan University, K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan Technological University, Marquette General Hospital, Marquette State Branch Prison, The Empire Mine, and Tilden Mine (affiliated with The Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company). Additional work also included the Upper Peninsula Power Company, The Marquette City Electrical Power Utility Company, and Copper Range.

With the cooperation of the Marquette Public School system, apprenticeship training began to develop and the first classes for training began at the Frobel Howard School, switching to the Graveraet High School during the late 1950s. Later classes were also switched to the old building next to NMU’s football field. Outgrowing classrooms and a need for expansion, the local began a move to work with the Marquette Public school system and try for additional space to provide a workable sight for a training center. The starting of a new training center in 1967 was finally completed and named the Toivo H. Seilo Apprenticeship Building. Financing came from the Marquette Public School System with additional money and labor from 5 additional local trade unions. The building was completed and dedicated on July 26, 1969. This training center in Marquette Michigan was used by all trade unions in the Northern area of the Upper Peninsula.

Union members can be proud of past business managers, for making a sound and solid foundation of local. From the first part-time Business Manager, Nicholas DePetro and Edward Schwemin in later years. In 1963 Richard Sarasien became Business Manager of the local and served until 1976. Ensio Ostola served as Business Manager until 1991. William Retaskie became Business Manager in 1992.

Membership in October 1996 was at 208 members.

Business Managers and Agents:

After Business Manager Steve Courier passed away on July 11, 1999, William Retaskie, then Business Agent was elected to fill the vacancy of Business Manager, with the appointment of Robert McCutcheon as Business Agent.

On July 1, 2002 with the retirement of William Retaskie, Robert McCutcheon was appointed Business Manager, with Greg Sides as Business Agent.

The election of December 2002 Robert McCutcheon remained Business Manager, and Greg Sides, Business Agent until Robert McCutcheon’s retirement on January 26th 2006.

On January 26, 2006 the elected officers, were Greg Sides, as Business Manager and Michael Hares, as Business Agent.

On January 29, 2009, with the retirement of Greg Sides, the elected officers for January 2009 were; Michael Hares, Business Manager and Financial Secretary and Dean Gutzman, Business Agent .

Elections for January 2015:

Business Manager/Financial Secretary: Michael Hares
Business Agent: Dean Gutzman
President: Mark Ruohonen
Vice President: Tom Dubord, Jr.
Recording Secretary: Phil Moran
Inside Guard: Chris Soderman
Executive Board: John Asplund, Jim Pelkola, Dave Soderman, Dan Soderman
Examining Board: John Asplund and Scott Thrasher
Finance Committee:  Mike Hansen, George Cavadeas, Scott Rady
Trustees:  James Monson,  Dean Gutzman, and  John Asplund
Negotiating Committee:  Dean Gutzman, Mark Ruohonen and Mike Hansen