Messages from the Business Manager

Fire Prevention Week
Fire Sprinklers Save Lives

Each year we remember the Great Chicago Fire by calling the week of October 8 as Fire Prevention Week. On October 8, 1871 a major fire in the heart of Chicago left 900,000 people homeless, left 300 people dead and destroyed more than 2,000 acres. It was one of the most destructive fires in United States history.

Did you know that each year more than 4,500 people die and another 30,000 people are injured in fires? Perhaps you remember the Rhode Island nightclub where 100 people died in a blaze that spread within minutes, or the Connecticut nursing home fire that left 16 elderly residents dead or the Dormitory fire in New Jersey where 3 young, promising lives ended in a blaze. Maybe you remember the six lives lost in the Chicago high rise or perhaps the two young girls and their grandmother who died in an eight story high rise in St. Louis. Did you know these tragedies could have been prevented? A properly installed fire sprinkler system would have prevented these tragedies.

Fire Sprinklers have been around for over 100 years and there has never been multiple deaths in a fully sprinklered building from a fire, without an explosion. In a Sixty Minutes II interview about the Rhode Island Fire, Miami Beach Fire Chief Floyd Jordan stated that that he believed with all his heart, that, there would not have been any loss of life if there had been a sprinkler system in the nightclub. The question was repeated and his answer was again…No loss of life. After a firefighter was left in serious condition at the St. Louis Council Towers high rise, then St. Louis Fire Chief Neil Sevantics was quoted as saying “A sprinkler system is the ultimate in fire protection. It is on duty 24 hours a day, does not need to be staffed and operates automatically. It puts out fires in their earliest stages and prevents the build up of deadly smoke”.

But a sprinkler system only works if it is properly installed. There are no second chances when dealing with fire. The Fire Sprinkler Industry is a highly technical field that changes rapidly. That is why the Department of Labor has approved the Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 five year apprenticeship program that includes 7500 hours of on the job training. That is also why Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 has invested in a state of the art training center featuring classrooms with computers and shop area for hands on training. But the training does not end at the end of the five year program; journeymen are required to take continuing education classes during the evening in an effort to keep up with ever changing technology.. We take pride that manufacturers and industry representatives have stated that the members of Sprinkler Fitters Local 268 are some of the most knowledgeable and well trained in the industry.

Union Sprinkler Fitters can save you more than just money.

Messages from the Business Manager

Several bills have been introduced in Congress that could have a major impact on our industry. In the past, legislation to mandate sprinklers in buildings has failed because of cost, but these two omit bills would provide building owners loans and/ or an incentive to install fire sprinklers in their buildings.

HR1194, The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2009, has been introduced in the U.S. House and we are waiting for a companion bill to be introduced in the US Senate. The bill(s) has/ have bi partisan support and seek to amend the 1986 Internal Revenue Code to classify automatic fire sprinkler systems as a five year property for the purpose of depreciation. The shorter period of depreciation will encourage the retrofit of existing depreciable property by offering a quicker “pay back.”

HR1642 The Nursing Facility Fire Safety Act of 2009. There are an estimated 1.5 million Americans that reside in approximately 16,300 nursing facilities nationwide, an estimated 20 to 30 percent which lack an automatic fire sprinkler system. The bill discusses the 16 people that perished in a Connecticut nursing facility and the Nashville, TN nursing home fire that claimed the lives of 15 patients. You may in fact recall the Anderson Nursing home in southwest Missouri that claimed the lives of 11. The bill would require all facilities to have an automatic fire sprinkler system within 5 years and would make money available for loans.

HR2136 The College Fire Prevention Act of 2009. Every year parents send their children away to college taking for granted that they will be safe. And every year we risk their lives in student housing and dormitories that are not equipped with an automatic fire sprinkler system. This bill would award grants to install fire sprinkler systems in student housing and dormitories owned or controlled by such entities.
Link the letter from the college admin.

Please call, write or email your U.S. House Representative and U.S. Senators and ask them to support these bills. More information about these bills and the process are available at the National Fire Sprinkler Association website at Please click over to this site and click on The Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act to find out more.

Where and when can you register?

In St. Louis City, citizens may register at any public library, state license office, the Division of Family Services Office at 3545 Lindell Blvd. or the St. Louis Board of Elections Commissioners Office at 300 N. Tucker Blvd. (phone 314-622-4336).

In St. Louis County, voters may register at any public library, state license office or the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners Office at 12 Sunnen Drive, Sunnen Business Park, Maplewood (314-951-0100)

You may also pick up an application at Local 268 and mail it in.

Please take the time to find out about candidates and issues that affect working people and then take the time to vote.

(Why are most people willing to risk their life to protect their country, their families and most importantly their children , but will not take the time to vote on issues or candidates that can change their lives.) Omit this

Get involved – Help us to protect your wages, your health care and your pension. Remember that benefits that we fight for everyday can be legislated away with the stroke of a pen.

The St. Louis Labor Tribune publishes the COPE (Committee on Political Education) endorsed candidates, you can access the Missouri AFL-CIO website through our link for a list of those endorsed labor friendly candidates or you may contact us for help.

The following labor clubs meet to discuss labor issues with working people and with candidates:

St. Louis City Labor Legislative Club – Meets at 8pm on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Electrical Industry Training Center, 2300 Hampton Avenue, St. Louis - See Pat Dolan

North County Labor Legislative Club – Meets at 8pm on the 1st Monday of the month at the Aerospace District 837 Hall, 204 Utz Lane across (from the Ford Plant) - See Matt Robinson

South St. Louis County Labor Political Club – Meets at 8pm on the 4th Thursday of the month at Genesis Banquet Center, 2651 Telegraph Rd – See Dave Ferrario or Aaron Meyers

Tri County Labor Legislative Club – Meets at 8pm on the 1st Tuesday of the month at the banquet center at Plaza Bowling Alley, 506 Droste (at West Clay), St. Charles– See Ken Schneider

Jefferson County Labor Political Committee – Meets at 7pm on the 2nd Monday of the month at NEA Hall 110 Main St. Festus – See Jason Stacy

Rockwood Labor Club – (This Club covers the area from Eureka east to Lindbergh, south to Hwy 30, north to Hwy 40 and west to Hwy 100) Meets at 7pm on the 4th Wednesday of the month at the Eureka Pacific Elks Lodge, 19 W First St., Eureka – See Jim Arciszewski