Interview with Doug Marian

Interview with Doug Marian

This month, WCA highlights the union leadership and achievements of Doug Marian who serves as the Business Representative for United Association Plumbers Local 78 (UA 78). Marian joined the union in 1979, and later became an organizer in 2001. Marian has been heavily involved in pushing for Project Labor Agreements at the local government level on behalf of UA 78, and being a member of various committees in the community regarding the governance of plumbing standards and codes. We had the opportunity to briefly discuss his accomplishments as a committed union member and a devoted Working Californian. 

What are the objectives of the UA 78? 

UA 78 provides employment opportunities, good wages, benefits and the best possible training for our members and future members.

 How does UA 78 distinguish itself from other locals? Provide some highlights of Local 78 that you are most proud of. 

I believe that our local is highly progressive and active in markets outside of our norm—this includes work around Service and Repair, and Housing. By expanding our market share, we are enabled to offer greater opportunities to individuals looking to start a career in our industry. 

What specific aspects of the Union attracted you to become a committed union member and one of the current leaders of the UA 78? 

Well, I am a second generation plumber; but at the time I started, I was already married and had a child. Because I was pursuing a career in order to provide for my family, the benefits aspect of the Union, such as having a pension, medical benefits and a good pay was what attracted me to become a union member. I have worked to stay involved in what the Union supported, which became my career and livelihood. 

What are the different roles that you have played in the Union that have led you to serve as the Business Representative of UA 78? 

Over many years, I've served on several committees within the local union, which ultimately led me to becoming a full time organizer. I was fortunate enough to land that position, for which I served two years before being elected as Business Representative. 

 How has the Building Trades worked with the community to provide its members good living wages and a supportive working environment? 

Local 78 participates in many ways with community groups from career fairs to classroom talking series.  We support Project Labor Agreements (PLA) that always have local hire requirements, but also the legal vehicle to bring in and dispatch local residents to these projects.  The PLA's provide the opportunity to allow local community residents a chance at a well-paid career. 

What are some examples in which the Building Trades has worked with the unions to socially impact families and the community? 

We fight for projects at City Hall.  We picket and rally to ensure many of these projects are manned with our contractors and members.  Again this provides for a well-paid, well-benefited position in which our members can provide well for their families.

How has the Building Trades supported you and your family? 

I've been fortunate and this industry has been good to me. I've owned homes, been able to provide for my family, and sent both of my children to college where they both achieved advanced degrees.  And I do have a sense of some security, such as a pension when I decided to retire. 

Are you currently holding any other leadership and/or membership roles that have allowed you to explore your interests and passions? 

Yes, I am highly involved in the plumbing industry beyond the local union.  I am serving my second term as International President of ASSE (American Society of Sanitary Engineering), where we create and publish standards for plumbing products, installation and functionality. We also create and publish professional qualification standards that individuals can be certified on. I sit on 17 different committees within ASSE and I also sit on a board that governs the plumbing codes in California as well as many other states. Currently, I am serving as president of our California State Pipe Trades Council. 

 Why is it important for people to know about the work that you do with UA 78? 

It’s important people to know that we are working with the communities to offer careers. We are helping advance individuals into the middle class. In fact, we have several programs for Veterans—such as the “Helmets to Hardhats” program and the “Veterans Independence Program”, which is offered by UA.