History of Local 350
Our Local Union was chartered by the United Association October 13, 1906. This followed a trend in Nevada at the beginning of the 20th century. Workers were being organized in two different categories - skilled craftsmen and industrial workers. Nevada was the first state in the west to have a labor union, formed by the miners in Virginia City in 1863.
Carpenters Local No. 971 was established in 1902 and Electrical Workers Local No. 401 was chartered in 1905.Changes were ·brought about in this time period by the Southern Pacific Railroad moving the entire town of Wadsworth to the southeast end of the Truckee Meadows, creating the new town of Sparks and with Renos importance as a railhead, the two communities were growing at a fast rate.
The public was becoming more informed regarding the benefits of better simulation and the need for skilled craftsmen in the pipe trades industry which was growing with the community. Steam and oil heat was replacing coal and wood stoves and sewage was being treated through systems rather than septic tanks. The most important change that affected the lives of our early members was brought about by the industrial revolution. People were on the move and the whole nation was changing.
In 1929, the stock market crash caused a nation wide set back. Better legislation was enacted in the 1930-1940 period regarding unions and americans workers. Military activity at Hawthorne, Tonopah, Fallon and Stead prior to and during World War II included the use of Local 350 members and contractors.
Tourism and gaming was becoming the most important industry in Nevada following World War II. The Freeport Law came into existence in 1949 spurring the growth of warehousing for the east side of the Truckee Meadows. In 1956, the National Highway Act provided for Highway 40 to become an all weather four lane highway and part of the Interstate Highway System, which contributed to this areas growth.
Our pipe trades work is diverse, it has ranged from homes, apartments, small commercial buildings and hotels to large hotel-casinos, electric generating plants, water and sewer treatment plants, space exploration test facilities, mining projects and gas and oil pipelines. New construction and maintenance, air conditioning, heating refrigeration and plumbing service work is done by our members.
We are going through another period of change that can be referred to as the Information and Technological Revolution. It is changing our profession and the knowledge of our members must be constantly updated to meet the need of the citizens of Nevada. We are meeting these demands through our five year apprentice program and journeymen training and certification classes.
Our apprentice program is part of a National Program that was formalized in the 1930's. It is considered by many to be the best construction industry program in North America. An Apprentice is provided good pay, excellent fringe benefits and satisfying work in a growing and changing field. It is an industry that rewards a person for what they put into it and training and education equals a well paid craftsman.
Numerous high tech and computer age tools are used today by our members. Many of the tools used when we ere chartered in 1906 such as the pipe wrench remain basically unchanged today. Materials and methods or joining pipe has changed radically. The principals of good sanitary plumbing are the same and the need for a skilled worker never changes.
Just as when Local 350 was first formed, the fight for secure, good paying jobs cannot be waged and won by individual workers looking out for their own interests. It must be waged by workers joining together, speaking as one voice for wages, benefits and working conditions. These thing never change.