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SPECIAL REPORT
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UA Canada
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The United Association of
Journeymen and Apprentices of the
Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of
the United States and Canada (UA or
United Association) is a well-known,
highly-respected North American
labour union representing 335,000
workers from 300 Locals in the
plumbing and pipefitting industries
throughout the United States and
Canada. Founded in the United
States in 1889, the United Association
is one of the most influential building
trades unions anywhere in the world,
with members who are engaged
in the fabrication, installation and
servicing of piping systems.
UA CANADA CAME
into existence 125 years ago
with the formation of Local 46 in Toronto. As
of 2015 there are 30 Local unions with 55,000
members and 10,000 apprentices covering every
province and territory in the country. With 10
Locals, Ontario leads in overall membership but
the largest individual Local is in Edmonton –
Local 488, with about 11,000 members.
UA serves as a collective voice for work-
ers throughout the negotiation and collective
bargaining process with employer contractor
groups, such as the Mechanical Contractors
Association of Canada and the Provincial
Mechanical Contractor Associations. The
UA is also a key member of the Building and
Construction Trades Department, the AFL-CIO,
and the Canadian Federation of Labour.
John Telford, Director of Canadian Affairs &
International Vice President – District 6, has been
at the helm of UA Canada for the past nine years.
A life-long resident of Kingston, Ontario, his
office is at UA Canada’s headquarters in Ottawa
but as one would expect, much of his time is
spent travelling. The union has been a major part
of the Telford family for three generations.
“My dad worked in the shipyards in Belfast,
Northern Ireland and he immigrated to Canada
in 1955,” he recalls during our discussion. “He
brought my mom and my sister and I about two
years later. He settled in Kingston, Ontario where
John Telford
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