Volunteer Pipefitters keep heat on for area low-income, elderly homeowners

(Union Advocate) Volunteer members of St. Paul-based Pipefitters Local 455 serviced and repaired furnaces free of charge to disabled, elderly and low-income homeowners in the Twin Cities area Saturday during their annual HEAT’S ON day of service.

The volunteer effort drew 51 volunteer members of Local 455, as well as other Pipefitter locals in Minnesota. Union contractors, members of the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, supplied parts and vehicles for the effort, and local community human service organizations, including the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, helped identify homeowners in need.

HEAT’S ON is a national program that started in the Twin Cities in 1986. Since it’s inception pipefitters in Minnesota have volunteered nearly 40,000 hours and helped 7,728 homeowners, providing repairs worth an estimated $3.6 million to area homeowners.

Several elected officials attended a banquet breakfast prior to the volunteer event to recognize and thanks union members for their service to the community. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 24 HEAT’S ON Day across the state.

Elected officials who attended the event included U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Attorney General Lori Swanson, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, State Sen. John Marty and Ramsey County Commissioners Janice Rettman, Rafael Ortega, Jim McDonough and Victoria Reinhardt. Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Ken Peterson and Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman also attended, as did a representative from the office of St. Paul City Council Member Dan Bostrom.

Article reprinted from the St.Paul Union Advocate.