Plumbers Union Fighting The Big Job Threat: Waterless Urinals!

from the the-march-of-progress dept

Over the years, there have been plenty of stories about different professions getting worried about the forward march of technology, and how it might automate them out of a job. While it is painful for those who are forced to go through a change they may not have been prepared for, historically it’s tended to improve society and add many more new (and often better) jobs in response. However, some things never change — and people complaining about new technology taking them out of a job will always be an issue. The latest case, though, seems a bit over the top in its complaints. WeeBit writes in to let us know that the plumbers union in Philadelphia is protesting a developer’s plan to install “116 waterless, no-flush urinals.” It seems that those waterless, no-flush urinals might mean less work for the union’s plumbers — and so they’re not happy. Apparently, this has become quite the… uh… non-issue in the Philadelphia mayoral election, with the various candidates all being asked their position on the scourge of modern waterless urinals.

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Comments on “Plumbers Union Fighting The Big Job Threat: Waterless Urinals!”

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Ed says:

Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

The purpose of the union is to protect its workers by ensuring a safe working environment, livable wages, healthcare, and retirement benefits. The “new” jobs that come about will not benefit the current members of the plumber’s union and will likely not replace the jobs that are lost. That’s why the union is concerned. Perhaps the plumbers union is over-reacting out of fear in this case, but it is clear that they are working in what they see as the best interest of their members.

Apparently you don’t know much about unions. Perhaps you should remain quiet and let us think you’re an idiot rather than speaking your mind and confirming it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

I used to be part of the IBEW, an electricians union, the only ones getting the jobs there were the guys that sat at the head table each meeting, unions are a joke.

While there is merit in a collective barganing agreement and concern for a workers well being, Unions are merely legalized extortion rackets.

Mikester says:

Re: Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

Apparently you don’t know much about unions. Perhaps you should remain quiet and let us think you’re an idiot rather than speaking your mind and confirming it.

Spoken like a true unionist. I take it your fees are up to date?

Unions are only self-serving and don’t give a rip about the public nor the interests of the public or private company they are working for.

I have been in a union before, so yes, I know what I am talking about.

Xanik says:

Re: Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

Sorry, Ed, but I knew enough about unions not to be in one. I think the reason GM & Ford are are quickly going down the toilet, is because of unions. But regardless, the issue at hand is people over-reacting to technology. I remember, way back when, when someone said computers would one day make EVERYTHING automated. Well… I’m still waiting to go to McDonald’s and not have to see a single hand touch my food.

CL says:

Re: Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

Unions have a long history of influence in code writing (in their favor of course). I live in a large city were the unions and their cronyism have done nothing but create problems for the average citizen.

Imagine a plumbers apprentice making more than a MD (with no PhD mind you). They are a joke; they are egregious, over paid and under worked. The corruption has gone on long enough.

Look at the states with highest taxes and you will see that “prevailing wage” and “legacy costs” have sent many municipalities into severe deficits. Why? Because the unions have great lobbying power, and any politician running for office looks to the unions for voter strength.

It’s a setup, it’s a shakedown.

Saving fresh water is a lot more important to the planet than saving a an overpriced underskilled plumber.

ROb says:

Re: Re: Re:2 What About New Jobs?

I’m a plumber in Mn and most of you are so misinformed that it’s driving me crazy. First of all, its funny how people forget how unions came to be in the first place. It’s because of idiots(Like alot of you) believe that capitalism works in the best interest of the worker. It never works that way and it always ends up where the employer is screwing over the worker and finding another reason to cut wages. Typically, in trades work not that long ago, you were forced to work like a dog for no wages, benefits, or healthcare. Unions protect us from scamming contractors that only care about the bottom line. I just hope that most of you aren’t relying on Social Security or any other government plan because it wont be there. Then you’ll be crying for someone to protect you from your own ineptitude.

damichiganplumber (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: What About New Jobs?

plumbing jobs in detroit michigan union or not are small pickens due to so many wanna be companies that are not even licensed.Whatever… But anyway back to the topic im all for water conservation and I think a waterless urinals a good idea if it ends up working out & the economy where your at is good and building a urinal isnt gonna threaten your job . And if the urinals dont work that will only create more work for all plumbers.. Ps Tell me what state is busy and hiring journeyman plumbers cause it sure as hell isnt my local union Thanks.

anonymous coward says:


That has to be the most rediculous thing I’ve ever heard! Someone should organize a protest against the unions. After all, they are the big reason that jobs are being sent overseas and the U.S. can’t compete anymore.

When you have someone making $95/hr to solder a copper pipe for a sink, it’s no wonder the developer wants to use a waterless urinal to lower the number of hours the overpaid plumber has to be there! And don’t get me started on the Auto Unions! The world economy woud be better off without unions, but to the overpaid union workers it’s a bad idea.

Ron says:


The purpose of the waterliess urinals is not to remove the plumbers from the building contracts but rather because the developer wants to create a massively “green” building. The waterless urinals are part of that green concept. Overall, the build is designed to consume something like 45% less enrgy, etc. resources than a similarly sized non-green building. With energy prices soaring, reserves shrinking, and other consumables becoming more costly, a green building seems like a damned great idea. The unions should be ashamed for putting themselves ahead of the needs of the world.

Lame_Pigeonholers_Suck says:


Ever hear of a skilled tradesman? $95 an hour to solder a copper pipe? Fine. Hey if you could do it then you don’t need the welder but if you cannot then deal w/ the cost. I know programmers that make that an hour as well, is it fair that their jobs are shipped overseas? How about network engineers that pull down that kind of change? Everyone is entitled to making a living and the reality is that these workers and their elected union reps are acting in their best interest which is exactly what they should do. Now I personally do not agree w/ their issue since I am all about forward technology and while they may be out of a job they can learn a new skill or move to the midwest where there is a vast amount of older sewage tech that they can still make a living by servicing. I know it is rough to relocate a family but either you roll w/ the punches or you go somewhere else.

Anonymous Coward says:

What About New Jobs? by Ed

“The purpose of the union is to protect its workers by ensuring a safe working environment…..”

Ever hear of OSHA??????

And if by livable wages you mean OUTRAGEOUS wages, Sure I’d agree!

As for healthcare, and retirement benefits!! I get those and I’m not in a extortion organization…er..I mean Union!

Unions had a place in the 1920’s, but now they are holding back companies from being profitable and competitive in the global market! You clearly don’t know much about the impact of Unions if you think they are actually helping anyone!

PlumberAngel says:

Re: Re:

Actually, piss DOES clog pipes! Plugged urinals are rarer than toilets but are much harder to unclog. Urine contains dissolved minerals that build up in the drain pipe over time. These minerals can be almost as hard as cement, and when there is NO water to flush the line, the minerals and pubic hairs concentrate much faster! I’m a plumber and work in a facility that installed over a hundred of these waterless urinals. I’m snaking out at least 8 of them per month at 1-2 man hours each. Compare that to an average of 2 per month with our old flush valve urinals and add in the fact that the cartridges need to be replaced rather often, at 50+ bucks a copy. So what happened to our money savings? So far they have been a complete failure!

Jason says:

Re: Re:

I happen to be a union plumber. I work out of Northern California. I had a scholarship out of high school to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I chose to do a union plumbing apprenticeship instead. I went to school for 5 years and now make $46 an hour (not $95). The common thought of a plumber is someone who works on toilets or repairs sinks. Don’t forget that we also have the legal and mental ability to engineer an enitire Plumbing and HVAC system for a 30 story building, a hospital, a biotech lab, a semiconductor fab. We work with nasty chemicals and die at young ages. Anyone here want to bash plumbers, unions, wages or anything else, are idiots. Oh yeah and what work has gone over seas? Manufacturing? One union? Idiot

Ben says:

Re: Re: Re:

Jason, i have Huge respect for plumbers, electricians, and anyone else related to construction. but i have to agree that the union trying to fight these urinals is pretty dumb. I mean, the plumbers are going to design and install these facilities right? and how often do you have to do work on urinals anyways? Plus i read that its going to save something like 1.4 Million Gallons of water a year. so i think its pretty Idiotic for the union to fight for something that is so benificial to the enviroment. I’m no hippy but 1.4 million gallons that doesnt get used to flush piss sounds pretty good all around.

bmac (profile) says:



You have been brainwashed. Please go directly to your nearest therapist and try to get some help.

Plumbers don’t have either the legal or mental ability to engineer these systems, engineers do. A plumber is a working grunt who does what the blueprint tells him to do, which, incidentally, is designed and authored by an engineering firm, not a plumber.

Unions are just plain bad for business.

Real-life example: In Jersey City, NJ, if you want to mount a piece of network gear that you own and operate in the network rack that you own that is in your data center within the walls of your business, you can’t do it; you have to wait for the union guy to show up and do it for you, or they’ll shut you down. And to add insult to injury, the union guy who turns a screwdriver and wouldn’t know a router from his arse is making $40-50/hour.

Second example: When remodeling of the same office as above was being performed by the union workers, someone asked to borrow a ladder for 2 minutes to change a light bulb. The union guy says OK and goes on break, but then the foreman can’t find the ladder 30 seconds later, concludes it’s been stolen, and has the entire team walk off the job until someone can increase security.

If a union is your friend, who needs an enemy!

Jake says:

Re: Jason

Right on! As a laborer I’ve noticed that plumbers (I’m talkin the commercial plumbers here) have to be hard workers AND smart.

But plumers and unions aside, if running water was a civilization advance, since when has waterless urinals been a good thing?

Oh, and I’ve seen them. They stink. In silent protest I flushed the other “normal” urinals five times.

Keepin the revolution alive.

anonymous Coward says:

Makes you wonder just what all jobs will just only be in the history books …in say like 50 to 75 years from now? Lots of things will be automated. But getting back to the Union… I don’t thing they have a chance of stopping innovation. Plus I don’t believe anyone can legally keep a technology in the dark ages just so their people can work.

Shadling says:

Re: Re:

“Plus I don’t believe anyone can legally keep a technology in the dark ages just so their people can work.”

That’s one of the premises of Anthem by Ayn Rand. It was a reference to extreme communism, when the main character discovers the lightbulb they refuse to use it because it would put the candlemakers out of work. Isn’t it sad that this action, as petty as it is, threatens to stifle humanities already slowing down innovation?

Xanik says:

Another Point

Another point I’d like to make, is that the job market is constantly evolving. Without computers and technology, what do you think we’d all be doing by now? I think it’s high time we stop punishing new technology because a small portion of the current job market gets effected. Retrain, re-educate, or do whatever you have to to get those people new jobs, but let’s not shoot ourself in the foot just to save a lost finger.

nobody in particular says:

Am I missing something?

I must be missing something, these ‘waterless’ urnials are still going to have to be hooked into the buildings pluming system by…. you guessed it …..PLUMBERS. Unless these waterless units have some high tech way of disposing of the waste with no byproducts (which is unlikely due to the Law of Conservation of Matter: During an ordinary chemical change, there is no detectable increase or decrease in the quantity of matter), this means that the waste is still going to have to flow into the building’s regular plumbing system, the only difference is that there is no ‘inflow’ of water, only an ‘outflow’ of waste.

Matt says:

I am a union Plumber / Pipefitter

I do agree and I do disagree with all that has been said here. I have no problem with waterless urinals.( hell anything that can help save water is good for all of us)

yes we pay for our own vaction , and dues out of our checks after taxes. I do undersatand what you guys said by thinking we are over paid (and some of them are ) but as we all want to be paid what we are worth.And as far as plumbers not being able engineer systems, I would put almost any union plumber up against a engineer and I will bet the plumbers system will beat the other any day.Most of your engineer never seen a plumbing system, but we all have our places. Now as the union goes it helps, I mean how many of you want to do your job for pennys, We have alot of training we go through we don’t just pick up a pipe wrench and say we are plumbers.

Here in michigan we only make about 60 thou a year before taxes and dues . now with all that being said I love technology and hope it bring us all usefull new things

LaRoacha says:

I’m not a plumber, I’m an HVAC service and controls tech, and I’m not union, BUT, I do take some offense at techies with over-inflated opinions of themselves who would berate an experienced tradesman to make $46 bucks an hour. If you pissants apply yourselves you can make 6 figure incomes, If I apply myself at my trade I can make maybe high 5 figure income. Do you really think your a fucking genius because you learned how to debug a fucking router problem or call the telco and convince them they have a problem? Your arrogance is appalling you whining dipshits. You people could no sooner do plumbing or hvac work than I could preform brain surgery, and as a matter of fact I stand a pretty good chance of not only doing my job, but doing yours pretty fucking well since I work on BAS automation systems regularly as part of my job. Your view of a plumber I imagine is some smuck who comes to your house to plunge a cavier turd you dropped outta your lovely toilet. Sorry, that’s not it. Your right that an engineer designs and has a flunky draw his plans, but if you had ever had any experience in construction, you would know that nothing ever works as the plan and designs are drawn. It’s up to that “dumb shitplunger” to actually make all the shit that the “genius engineer” thought of actually work. It’s the same in most every construction trade.

Rikko says:

Re: Re:

LaRoacha brings up some interesting points..

But let’s take the tone down a bit, boys, this is quickly becoming a stupid, polarized debate that nobody can win.

Everybody thinks everyone else’s job is easy.. Because at the surface, it is. It’s the in depth analysis born of experience that you’re being paid for. I work in software.. Yep, my job is “easy” the majority of the time. But when a snag comes, it’s my experience and analytical ability that turns “I dunno, we better escalate this to someone else” to “here’s what we can do”.

If you can do it yourself, do it yourself! I can fix my own sink. I can install a new toilet. I can build my own furniture. I can fix simple things in my own car. Ya know what? If you’ve actually done any of these things you will have gained a great deal of respect for people who do it for a living and do it well.

Hey software boys, ever built a deck? That lasted 30 years?

Hey plumbers, ever debugged a distributed application in a production environment?

Hey teachers, ever troubleshooted an ailing aquarium?

The amounts of knowledge and skill to do anything well are tremendous. The only reason people whine about what others do is because they haven’t done it themselves.

Regardless, unions have served their purpose and are starting to cause damage. Protection of workers’ rights and insisting on fair wages was and is one thing. The bureaucratic bullshit and political nonsense that comes along with modern unions isn’t helping anyone.

Do we need more anecdotes? How about the union shop where a supervisor asks a worker to do something, the worker retorts with a string of vulgarities and insults and then walks off the job for an hour.

Ya know what? Thanks to the collective bargaining agreement made, that chump can’t be fired. He does that every day. He’s untouchable.

We had a good idea but it’s been perverted by selfishness.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Um, I disagree with your statement that because someone can debug a router or call a telco, that they can’t do pluming/hvac work.

I am a computer technician, 14 years experience. Yes, I CAN debug a router. (if by debug you mean take an improperly configured one and set it up properly).

I can and did in the last rental place I lived in, because it was the agreement that I remodel it, and get free rent for a year: Wire whole house from breaker panel to outlets and switches (oh, don’t forget the attic fan with three-speed control, plus the numerous three-way and four-way switches); Run plumbing from main shut off valve to each sink, toilet, shower, outside spigot, garage for the mop sink; Installed all duct work for furnace, as well as the funace itself; Ran gas line for the stove; Installed insulation throughout; Installed all windows & doors; Installed lap siding on outside of house and two car garage/workshop; New insulation throughout, finished off with drywall.

And yes, I do have not only my CCNA, A+, Net+, and MSDST, but also an electrical and a plumbing license.

Now, Try and say that I could not do those things. If I can do it, I’m sure others can.

And about brain surgery: I’d tackle that the same way that I do everything else; Let me have a try at it, and I can do it. How about you first?

Sean (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“experienced tradesman to make $46 bucks an hour. If you pissants apply yourselves you can make 6 figure incomes”

Sorry buddy, but that’s the way it works. The “pissants” that apply themselves go to school for years to learn their trade, and should be compensated accordingly. Plumbers that I know have never gone to school, and learned all they know by on the job training.

“You people could no sooner do plumbing or hvac work than I could preform brain surgery”

You’re over inflating the difficulty of your job. I *have* done my own plumbing, and I understood the concepts behind the work (flush toilet, water go down). I *did* learn it in an evening from reading a book. I’d like to see *you* learn to network an entire office building in one evening, and understand all the underlying technologies. I’d like to see *you* learn to build a business critical website with a database back end and understand how it works.

We both get paid based on our abilities, demand, and the amount of effort it takes to learn those abilities. The fact that you make 5 figures, and you think IT guys make 6, is proof that society recognizes that learning an IT trade is more difficult than learning a construction trade.

I have no problems with your trade, and society would probably come to a halt if you all quit. I’m only addressing your skewed view of reality.

Let's save the water! Who cares if your piss stin says:

Wasting Water in Chicago

I read recently that the Chicago area is one of the great water-wasters from the Great Lakes. 3 BILLION (not M) litres (roughly 750 MILLION gallons) of water are used each year by Chicago’s citizens and businesses. The majority of this comes from Lake Michigan.

I think that saving 1.6 million of this would be a great start, even if it’s only a drop in the bucket (proverbially speaking).

If a few more buildings did this, we could actually be looking at some *real* environmental awareness and not having to build aqueducts from the Great Lakes to water the desert.

Continuing rant… Think of how much Las Vegas wastes in water, being in the desert. The Colorado river is drying up, so why are we not looking for more “waterless” urinals and other such ways to conserve water.

For those curious as to how this urinal works:

Down with *useless* Unions! There are *good* unions…

Hersh says:

The reason unions are lame...

Unions are not lame because they allow people to organize and demand higher wages–that is their right.

They are lame because they force people to choose from their own ranks when you need to get a job done. You can organize and do whatever you want, but stopping someone ,who doesn’t want to opt into your group, from working on my project is not fair. And getting laws passed to protect your turf from labor competition is really friggin lame. You are basically just predatory gangs at that point.

If there is a value in your standards enforcement and other services, then the market will recognize that with higher fees to your members. You don’t need laws and arm-twisting to get it.

Anti-union union member says:

I have belonged to a union, so I know what they are about. My wife belonged to the teachers union, so again I know what they are about. They all suck. Unions only benefit the union. They could care less about the worker except for the dues. Funny how the teachers union leader makes $350K a year and fights like mad to keep the union in power. I wonder why. Teachers would actually make more money without a union, free-market. The best teachers would be sought out by school districts to raise their test scores. Anyway, my best example of lame unions in the grocery union. They went on strike in CA a couple of years ago about having to pay $20 a month for their full coverage health insurance. What they accomplished is to bring to light that grocery baggers were pulling in $25+ an hour. Now that is crazy. If I owned a grocery store I would hire an animal trainer to bring in a chimpanzee to bag food just to prove that a monkey can do the work.

James says:

Re: Anti-union union member

I worked for a grocery store in North Carolina, as a bagger and starting pay was at $6.25/hr. and goes up from there based on how well you work. I didn’t have to have a contract to earn more, I worked hard to do it. My incentive to work hard was more pay. I earned it. $25/hr. is too much for that kind of job. As far as health insurance go, the guys in Cali. were getting it pretty cheap–they should realize that and just shut up about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Unions aren't always useful

Some unions are still good, many aren’t.

As an example, when I was 19 I worked for a company that had several unions. The one I workered for had renegotiated it’s contract (although I was uanaware of the process until the new contract was given to us). About the only thing people got out of the deal was a fairly nice pay raise, although most people were pretty happy about that.

At least they were happy until I looked at the copy of my material and pointed out that the two years the pay raise were spread over also coincided with the two year phase in of the raising of the minimum wage. And did anyone bother to notice that when all was said and done, everyone was ten cents closer to minimum wage (a rather important detail when you’re only making 30-50 cents over minimum wage to start)?

MikalG says:

$95.00 per hour? LOL

I make $55.00 per hour in WV running a PC repair/networking business. I work at least 12 hours per day, and bill most of those hours. SO?!

That really isn’t that much money. If you make less…. Im very sorry for you. Maybe you need to go back to school and stop crying about someone else making more money. If your that surprised that a plumber makes $55-95 per hour….rather than bemoaning about it. BECOME A PLUMBER..ITS EASY WORK!!!

No? Keep your clerk job at 35K per year? I thought so. This is stupid, and pointless. How did a waterless urinal become an attack on someones wages. Do you all make minimum wage or something?! Christ. I had no idea that welfare “folk” were so technology savy to read these posts! Jesus, I live in West Virginia….. and seem to earn more that you lot! Thats really funny to me.

And another thing: says:


If you are working a 40 hour work week, and make less than $60,000.00 per year; YOU MADE A POOR CARRER CHOICE.

Maybe you should join a union, and make some money?


If barefoot people in West Virginia can earn a fair salary, whats your excuse!?

If you don’t agree that everyone is worth at least $60,000.00 per year, you just don’t get it do you?

Do you look down upon plumbers that make more money than you, and say it’s unfair? Their job can’t be as difficult, and stressful as yours? Ask your boss why you don’t make as much as a plumber. Better yet, ask yourself that same question!


You accept the wages you are paid. Don’t work for less than you think you are worth! Demand the respect, and “paycheck” you are justified to receive. If you don’t think YOU are worth 60K or better….at your job (realistically) than:

CHANGE YOUR CARREER! GO BACK TO SCHOOL, or just plain SHUT THE HELL UP!!! Crying about how little you are paid by feigning shock at another person salary! That’s pathetic.

Anyway; the urinals stay. The Unions stay, and unless you get the point here. You stay too.

Tyshaun says:

Re: Also:

If you are working a 40 hour work week, and make less than $60,000.00 per year; YOU MADE A POOR CARRER CHOICE.

Everyone, reality check, over half the us population makes less than $35,000/year, so I think the above statement is naive at least and pretty darn arrogant at best.

Take a look:

I think there’s a lot of talking out of butt disease going on in this thread. I love the folks who say “well plumbers can just get another job” or “technology doesn’t eliminates jobs, in fact it creates them”. These two statements are very misleading. Yes, there are a lots of jobs out there, but what is the “level” of the job. Seems to me there are a whole lot of jobs where being able to say “do you want fries with that” is a prerequisite and seemingly less and less opportunities for those without a college degree. Used to be that a person coming out of high school could expect to make a decent living as a skilled laborer or in a manufacturing environment, those days are quickly going away.

I hate to say it but most people appear to be “underemployed” nowadays. I know people with college degrees that are working in service sector jobs. So yes, the assertion that jobs don’t really go away, they evolve is basically true, the problem is the parity of income isn’t the same (in other words you can’t really replace a decent union auto workers wage with that of a service worker like a restaurant worker or cleaning person).

As a computer programmer I am all for the explosion of technology laden devices and the increased dependency on the PC. However, as a first generation college grad in my family I know how hard it is for the people in my family to get a decent job that pays a fair wage without a degree. Let’s face it, not everyone is college material, and we have to ensure that those people can make a living wage as well, since over half of the population barely makes what the government considers a “living wage” ($30,000/yr before taxes)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Also:

I’ve actually got to agree with what he said about if you’re pulling 40hr work weeks all year plus overtime and coming out under 60k you made a poor career choice.

On the flip side though, you’re partly right. Sure, a lot make less than 35k a year. Most people don’t go on to college from HS, and some dont bother to finish HS. Poor choices. To defend them and say that they DIDNT make stupid career choices is acting like a lousy politician, pandering to the ignorant masses. In fact, there’s a REASON they’re called ‘ignorant masses’. 😉

Excluding those who genuinely get more pleasure from a particular feild and pick it based on that instead of money, which exclude about five people total on Earth, and those working TOWARDS making that level of income, they simply did make poor, or stupid, career choices. Bottom line.

In about a year I’ll be the first in my family to graduate college like you, but I’ve seen too many people you’d assume weren’t ‘college material’ work their freakin ass off to make it happen — two full time jobs, etc, while I skate through on scholarship and a part time job. People generally are what they want to be, and slightly off topic, I think we baby people way too much. Yes, they made poor career choices, bottom line.

mark says:


I was union for 30 years (different area entirely). The union has plenty to do making sure wages are fair, contracts are honored, etc. A union has no business determining what technology is used. You don’t see unions making threats over solar or wind energy, biomass, or other potential small-scale or de-centralized energy alternatives. If the unions were forward-thinkers, they’d come up with reasons why a new technology was within their pervue, and include those skills in their training regimen. In my union, when the technology chainged, we knew enough to change with it.

Rincewind says:


i have to give it to whoever cam up with this one, it really has fooled all of you, i am almost sorry to tell you all and point it out.

there are a few things wrong with the story.

1) how do warterless urinals stop plumbers jobs?

because they dont use water does not mean that they do not have to be hooked up to the sewer system, where else would it go to. to do this you still need a plumber

2) look at the date.

i have definatly have to give it to the person that came up with this one, genius, it really got you distracted from common sence.

anonymous Coward says:

I have to bring this up too… No one has so far. A good majority of you think if they cut back your job because of innovation, all you have to do is go back to school and get a degree. Well I know quite a few that have gone this route. It is not as easy as you think! I know four people right now that lost their job due to OutSourcing. So they did go to school, and got a diploma. They are ALL working waitress jobs because there are no jobs in the new field that they went to school for. Innovation is good, but ONLY if your new plan works as good as your old one did. Innovation is only good too if it can create new jobs. All four are back in school now, and chose a different career, they got smart too. Instead of just taking the courses, they asked around first to see what would be available for them down the road.

Professor HighBrow says:

How the F|_|ck do these work?

Can someone please explain these “waterless urinals”?

Where the hell does the urine go? If it goes down a PIPE then there is no reason for plumbers to be angry.

Maybe it’s more like a cat-litterbox type thing?

This is a really retarded article, BTW, Techdirt. You’re slacking bigtime lately. Next we’ll be posting about why Americans refuse to use “bidets [sp?]” instead of our time held tradition of wiping with paper. WTF?

“The world is my Urinal”

–Professor HighBrow

LaRoacha says:

Sean, your a fucking idiot. You think because you or your mommy had the money to send you to school, means that you are somehow superior to everyone else without your advantage? I’m sure I could not only beat your ass in chess, but also beat your fuckin’ ass dipshit. I’ve read all the posts about some techie who has the snap to actually replace his john and that shit is all great. I’m not trying to say that my, nor anyone else’s job is beyond anyone, what I was trying to explain was that we all start off ignorant to “everything” and learn to do what we do. Why would a techie think that the crap that they have learned should be more valuable than what I have learned? In all reality,,,,the only guy who should be that cocky should be the beer brewer…………

Eric says:

$60K per year?

I just have to respond to the “everyone is worth at least $60K per year” comment.

Could our economy really support such a figure? And if so, what happens to the value of money?

Having recently moved to the southwest suburbs of Chicago from north Texas, I’ve experienced a major increase in the cost of living. In some areas, you can hardly enter the real estate market for less than $300,000 (and don’t forget the hefty real estate tax bill AND the transfer taxes), which could buy you a veritable mansion in Texas. Our local Jewel (just your average grocery store) charges $3.99/gallon for milk and $5.49/lb for butter. A jar of spaghetti sauce we used to pay $1.89 for in TX costs $3.49 here. And, of course, gas jumps at least $.20/gallon once you cross from Missouri to Illinois.

Now, aside from the rampant corruption here that surely costs this state a lot of money, I can’t help but notice that typically lower paying jobs, most of which are union controlled, pay a great deal more here than in Texas. But, presumably because of the cost of living, my blue collar friends here (or white collar, for that matter) don’t appear to have a better standard of living than my friends from elsewhere.

In other words, if Subway has to pay the guy who makes your sandwich $60,000/year, do you really think you’re going to get away with a $2.99 special?

What r u talking about? says:

Re: $60K per year?

The point is this:

Of course the moron who cant get his head out of his ass at the Subway is NOT going to earn $60,000.00 per year.

HE SHOULD! Maybe, he COULD. BUT he won’t. Why? Because he is not willing to apply himself for a descent wage. University is beyond him, and so is the task without it. He is LAZY, and deserves to be paid a pathetic salary. Mean? Yes, it is. But it is also true (even if it applies to you and you want to argue the fact).

The TRUTH is this also:

There is NO shortage of “jobs” (I would choose CARREER) for the qualified (truely qualified/hard working/inteligent/graduates). If you know someone who graduated Magna Cum Laude at MIT working at McDonalds (you LIE)

If your the best, you have plenty of opportunity. The rest of the population…well…earn what you can.

If feel that ANYONE who TRUELY applies himself can succeed at a 60K salary. That is NOT very high a wage! I am aware the the average household income is staggeringly low. What does that mean to you?

Does it mean that the salary is not there? Of course not. It means that the majority don’t try hard enough. Graduate school? YES!

If you make less, does the company owe you more? Why? You didn’t work hard enough to earn it! You work in a cubical! You count rolls or quarters! You make fries! Learn to program a computer. Learn to be a plumber. Learn to be a advertising agent. Something!!!!

Work at McDonalds all your life and see where you get. Shuffle sheets of paper, and see how often you go on a good vacation!

Don’t whine to me. I worked hard and earned my place. If you didn’t, that thats your fault. Whine: but I cant afford tuition. I did! I worked my way thru school! Whine: But I can’t find a descent job. Wow, you looked really hard (while staying in your economically depressed state) and couldn’t find ANYTHING? Boo-hoo!

Get off your ass, or starve. Its all up to you. THAT is the point. There is nothing wrong with the economy for those that put forth the effort. PERIOD!

Ivory Bill says:

Some of you are clueless

I am not going to address the “whether unions are a good thing” issue; if any one of you had bothered to study the history of the industrial revolution and post-industrial revolution periods, you would know the answer.

I am offeneded, though, by the general disregard in which many of you hold plumbers. I am a CPA, a CCIE, an MCSE, and an A+. I have also plumbed the bathroom in my house. The skills required to accomplish the plumbing (measuring, cutting and threading pipe, and following the plumbing codes) require as much or more knowledge than is required to support most medium-sized LANs or preparing most corporation income tax returns.

If you stop and think about it — plumbing brings clean, safe water to the tap…… and removes absolute filth from our homes. We depend on the competence of plumbers for not only sanitary reasons, but to put together a system that does not leak increasingly expenseive dyhydrogen oxide

Frankly, given a choice of no plumbers in the world or no network/system admins/techs/engineers in the world, I would rather do withut computing and networking.

I am not certain whether the denigration of plumbers is due to cluelessness or due to snobbishness by some of us techie types. Perhaps its due to both. In any event, it serves neither profession’s –plumbers or techies — best interest. Just becaiuse a profession does not require a working knowledge of binary arithmetic or IEEE 802.3 does not mean that it does not call upon a comprehensive body of knowledge.

Finally, they can offshore a lot of what us techies do, but there is no way they can repair American plumbing from Bangalore.


Re: Some of you are clueless

Ivory Bill,

I saw that you’re a CPA and a CCIE!

That’s an awesome feat, and a hell of a lot of studying you must have done to attain those certs.

I was thinking of taking the same career track.

The one thing that is got me stuck in a funk is that I am 36 yrs. old.

Am I too old to pursue such an astounding career track, in your opinion?

Right now I’m attending DeVry Univ online and a year away from finishing my Bachelors in Technical Mgmt.

My background is telecommunications and electronics.

I’ve worked for the state wide utility company here in Arizona and at AT&T in Seattle.

I am also a 7 year Navy veteran, which is where I got my technical start.

I would be more than appreciative if you’d share your thoughts.

Thank you,



The waterfree urinal is by far the best way to save water and waste processing. Several schools in the Tri-State area of PA, DE, NJ will be installing these over the next year or so, as part of new construction or renovations. The water savings is so significant. For more info on how the waterfree urinal works, you can visit, and see what the fuss is about. As far as losing jobs, maybe the plumbers should be more worried about properly installing the other products, and worry less about what they don’t get to hook up. We have seen some botch jobs as far as installations go, so not all commercial plumbers are as great as they say. The good guys unfortunately get lackies to do their dirty work, and the lackies end up botching up the job.

Back to the water savings, each urinal saves approx 4,000 gallons of water a month or 40,000 gallons a year. There are supposed to be 116 urinals installed in the Comcast building , that’s a possible water savings and treatment savings of over 4 million gallons of water a year! That’s significant! Maybe those who are worried about losing their jobs should be more worried about their taxes going up when the urinals aren’t installed, and they have to pay for the processing of the water/waste!

Stu says:

GM & Ford down because of unions.

In the days before the high quality – lower priced Japanese cars were a factor, American cars were overpriced, low quality, gas guzzlers. GM, Ford and Chrysler gave in to unreasonable union demands because they knew they had the American market locked up. Now they are paying the price – and blaming everyone except themselves.

At one point, they even got the government to limit Japanese imports, and they made windfall profits, for a time. They took those unearned profits and wasted them instead of learning to compete. The Japanese still kicked their ass, even though they no longer had a big price advantage.

The Big Three produces (comparatively speaking) crap. Here’s how bad it is: Toyota and GM built the same car in the same California factory with the same people, each with their own nameplates – Chevy Nova and Toyota Corolla – and nobody wanted the Nova. Same car, and everyone knew it!

Hyundai came into this country with horrible products; but they learned fast. Now they are highly rated for quality – and give a 10 year guarantee. Many are built here in the USA with American workers.

American workers build top quality Toyotas in America, so the workers are not to blame for quality issues.

Management runs companies.

By the way, I’ve never been in a union, and never will be. I’ve either been in management or had businesses of my own.

The Big Three never had respect for their customers. Their mind-set still is, and has always been “Americans will buy anything – screw’em”. Well, they were, and are still, mistaken. I’m supposed to care about them?

It is a damn shame – and dangerous for the country – what’s happening to manufacturing here in the USA.





Re: Googlewhack


It must make you feel good to insult people. I don’t know your background or who you are, but I do not own or belong to any website anywhere.

Could you help me understand what is meant by your last entry. I am only trying to find some information and have descent and intelligent discussions here on this blog.

If you don’t like me for some reason, I’d like to know what I did so I can make peace and ammends with you. I apologize for any misunderstandings.


Mike Schultz

shawn says:

waterless urnals

I’m a Union Journeyman plumber and I went through the program(5 years) at 2 nights a week 3 hours. While working during the day. Schooling consisted of reading drawings, estimating, soldering & brazing copper, cutting tourch, math, science, plumbing code, backflow prevention, + more and passing the state plumbing test. I sacrificed quite a bit of time with my wife and kids to get where I’m at. I make a good wage, benefits, pay into 2 pensions and a 401k. I still have to go to school to keep up with the renewal of my license. So does non-union guy’s now. It cost’s $92 to renew my license each year.
These waterless urnals are still going to need to be put in by plumber’s Union or not.

The problem with them is that the urnals have oil filled traps to allow the urine to flow by, while the oil still seals the trap. Without the water to flush the urine down the drain, it trickles and causes urine crystals to build-up in the pipes.(plastic) The cast-iron pipes corrode, kinda like pouring pop down the cast-iron pipes. You still have to change the cartriges out.

I’ve installed them on jobs and I’ve replaced them, with the standard flush-valve urnals.

So either way there is still work for plumber’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ok folks, here is the real story!
(first, i am a union plumber) Who use to be an engineer, who got tired of the everyday buisness owner thinking he knew every answer to every mech.system.
Anyway, the point these plumbers were making, was that these waterless urinals are unsanitary.
I have put several in, and know this to be a fact.
I still push for these units, because they save water.
However, piss needs to be diluted.
If you took one of these urinals off the wall and looked at the outlet, it would look like somebody poured salt in it.
(piss salt) we call it.
This “salt” needs washed down the sewer at 1/4 inch per foot to carry any contaminates out of the building.
If there is no water, the piss stays put, and can plain mess a plumbing system up.
If the building has a sewer leak, it reaks like fresh piss, and is very,very strong.
I dought its because the union plumber needs more work, its because he is using his honest judgement on these urinals.
Believe me, they are gross. But damb it they save alot of water! which is our job!!
Of course that water is filling the swiming pools across america, you know, the ones that get swam in about 6 times the whole summer before they get dumped out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Plumbers are supposed to protect the health of the water supply, that’s what the plumbing code (rulebook and test swe have to take) are all about. Waterless urinals might not be covered in the code for the city of Philadelphia. Why should plumers risk their liscence installing a fixure that isn’t covered in the codebook?

If you dont have a plumbing credentials, hopw do you know this all the big bad union causing you trouble? You dont . Youre just going by an emotional feeling you have.

PLumbers know how these traps work – or fail to work. If a building janitor forgets to refill the magic blue liquid that fills the trap, or if the company that akes the magc liquid raises the price to the cost of computer printer ink there will be a trap of open urine stinking up the building, and that’s a serious health risk.

You know who is really causing the shakedown? Thecompany that manufactures the verry Special Exclusive Magic BLue Liquid that is the Only Thing that keeps these urinals from becoming an open sewer ala Calcutta, Bombay, etc

Brett says:


I think the main thing to consider here is the fact that too many people RELY ON ONE SKILL or are SPECIALIZED. If you put yourself in that position, it is bad not just for you, but for society as well. It’s best to have at least a couple of different skills where you could get an income from and at the same time to ALWAYS LOOK TOWARDS IMPROVING THEM. It’s better to be flexible, diverse and open-minded then to be rigid, one-dimensional and thus easier to break.

mike says:

local 98 B.A.'s suck the best!

Unless you are one of the brother’s , son’s or somehow related to one of these pieces of shit you sit on an out of work list forever. That is unless you can suck a really good cock! Most of these motherfucker’s have had shit handed to them since before they ever got elected into office and it doesn’t matter to them if you work or not. After all, they aren’t having any trouble paying their bills , the out of work member’s have already taken care of that for them. So go enjoy that UNION credit card you cocksucker’s!!!! Karma is a motherfucker and she IS watching you.

B-RAD says:



Brendon (user link) says:

Waterless toilet reply

I have a different opinion.
Waterless toilets need to be designed first not adapted to contemporary and existing buildings, much like the latest cars…they are not using chassis/wheels from 1945….actually they are rapidly moving apart considering the massive amount of R&D into electric vehicles . This will only happen when water really does become scarce to ever growing populations & then the cost of upgrading/converting will possibly be worse than a water shortage. As the 3rd worlds population and infrastructures indirectly by either product prices or “Carbon Credits, World Bank” will be financed by you/me and anybody earning a salary the best is to start with these countries as eventually “Any debt” in a developing or struggling nation become “your backyard debt”

Its all to do with short term economics, in the long run the Chinese see this, they have many waterless or similar toilets dotted around and will be in a better position for the future (nothing is easy when tried the first time, if it was we would all be living in Hollywood sipping champaign)


Philly plumber says:


Yes that was an awesome point…. I do worry about lead exposure, and PVC is a known carcinogen. It’s a job only a true man could do. Traditional plumbing ended wide spread disease. Plumbers don’t get enough credit. The teacher of my journeyman class said it best,” plumbers are responsible for the health and safety of a nation. Without us their would be no clean water to drink and waste matter in the streets. Let’s all not forget about the Black Plague.”. Bobby is the man, and because of him it made me proud to be a plumber, also let’s not forget about medical gas.

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