W.E. O’Neil Plumber’s Training Center Visit

Starting our trip with the GLCM class of 2020, 2021 and juniors aspiring to join the program, we ventured into the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 United Association (UA).

For over 120 years, Local 130 UA has been training the highest quality plumbing craftsmen
through intensive, certified education and work placement. These graduates have had historic
roles in public and private construction projects through the Chicagoland.

The three-story educational facility was constructed by W.E. O’Neil Construction in 2017 and
received a tour by Mike Coen, superintendent of the project. Since the moment you enter the
facility, it is easy to realize how Plumbers Local Union 130 had the goal to create an
environmentally friendly facility by considering the importance of saving water. The facility is
designed to collect and use rainwater in the training skids, toilets and irrigation in gardens,
instead of domestic water from the city.

The facility has multiple classrooms with different purposes. Some are typical presentation
style; others are used to have the training skids. These training skids range from toilets, sinks,
water fountains, garbage disposals, urinals, etc. which are hanging from the walls.

Other classrooms contain check valves, RPC valves, backcheck valves, flow tamper switches
(which is primarily used in fire sprinklers) and other types of flow/pressure control devices.

However, the most impressing classroom is the 3-story wood structure training skid which has
every kind of plumbing asset a commercial building would have. These gave plumbers in
training an opportunity to learn how to build pipes that run between floors, set up hanging
toilets and sinks, and even building water hydrants on grade!

New apprentices of Local 130 are enrolled in a five-year apprentice training program. As part of
this special course, apprentice plumbers are paid to attend classes one day a week, while
receiving on-the-job training the remaining four days of the workweek. The program is
designed to provide apprentice plumbers with the knowledge and experience they need to
succeed on the job and to promote

Blog by Mauro Braca