A proud past. An exciting future.
Today, Plumbers Union Local 75 enjoys a reputation of credibility and strength in the building trades. But such a reputation didn’t happen overnight. It was established over a century through the struggles, hard work and foresight of its members.
In 1890, plumbers called an organizational meeting and sought to petition the American Federation of Labor for affiliation. Their request was granted, resulting in the establishment of Plumbers Union #5145.
There was much work to be done to improve the working conditions of Milwaukee plumbers. During this period, plumbers were required to work ten-hour days for the paltry wage of $2.50 per day, the lowest wage of any existing building trade in the city.
In an attempt to establish a standard eight-hour workday, Plumbers Union #5145 joined other trade unions in a citywide strike. Employers resisted the idea and the movement was eventually crushed.
Following the strike, plumbing contractors refused to hire anyone who was still a member of #5145. But the remaining members had plans of their own. They formed an association known as “The Shave Hook Club”, establishing six cooperative plumbing shops to employ members who had remained loyal to the union’s vision. In 1891, the club petitioned the newly formed United Association and was granted a charter as “Plumbers and Gas Fitters Local 75” and became the foundation for the organization we know today.
Ever since its challenging beginnings, Plumbers Union Local 75 has continued to fight for the rights of the working person and the betterment of the trade. Just one example is the creation of the Plumbers 75 Education Trust Fund which to date has provided apprenticeship and training to thousands of plumbers since its inception. Members of Local 75 have also been actively involved in civic and political affairs, serving on school councils, boards and legislative bodies. They have also worked tirelessly to help minorities establish themselves within the trade.
As a result of its tradition of compassion and dedication, Local 75 has grown to a current membership of approximately 2000. The organization will continue to draw on this rich legacy as it continues to protect the rights of its members and work toward a bright and prosperous future for the plumbing industry.