plumbers and fitters union local 675
History of Leadership

In 1919, the Plumbers and Fitters Local 675 received its charter from the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada.

With a founding membership of 50 strong, the early pioneers of Local 675 began a journey toward new opportunities and a better way of life.

In 1935, Congress passed the Wagner Act and created the National Labor Relations Board.  Workers were given the right to legally form and join union organizations.  Unions finally had official recognition and the right to negotiate with employers.

The post war era initiated a construction boom in the islands.  In a mere two year span from 1945 to 1947, Hawaii developed from one of the least organized areas, to one of the most highly organized.

Into this period of dynamic change, Edward J. Kovack stepped to the helm of Local 675 in 1945 as the strong leader who would chart a clear course for the Plumbers and Fitters Union. 

Ed Kovack immediately set out to build the union and made organizing his number one priority.

In 1959, when Hawaii greeted statehood and another construction boom, Kovack laid the foundation for improved relationships between labor and management for the benefit of employees.  His goal was to enhance the quality of member benefits and establish much-needed training programs.  Kovack was instrumental in securing in 1961, Health and Welfare coverage, Pension Plan, Training Fund and Vacation and Holiday Fund.

Edward M. Hashimoto, former Training Coordinator, was called upon to assist the Business Manager in developing solutions for expanding the workforce, improving basic skills and adapting to new technologies. 

In 1981, Edward Hashimoto assumed the position of Business Manager as Hawaii’s construction industry began to feel the effects of a nation-wide recession.  The Annuity Fund was created to address the needs of member retirees, finalized in 1982.

Herbert S. K. “Chubby” Kaopua, after 17 years in the field was picked by Ed Kovack to serve as a Business Field Representative and in 1985, he became Assistant Business Manager under the mentorship of Ed Hashimoto.

In 1990, Ed Hashimoto officially retired and Herbert S. K. Kaopua, Sr, assumed the position of Business Manager and Financial Secretary of Local 675.  As part of his vision for Local 675, Kaopua was instrumental in leading the union to a strategic position for managing dynamic change.  Kaopua directed the purchase of the Union’s Bethel Street Building, negotiated an unprecedented five-year wage and benefit package for Local 675, and established a Federal Credit Union to provide for the financial needs of union members.  Business Manager Kaopua formulated a master plan designed to successfully move Local 675 into the next century.

Reginald V. Castanares, Jr. was hand-picked by Business Manager Herbert Kaopua, Sr. in 2001 to become the Union’s Organizer.  Upon the retirement of Herbert Kaopua, Sr., Castanares became the Business Manager and Financial Secretary of Local 675 in 2007

The Business Manager today faces another recession, a shrinking marketplace, aggressive competition in a much more sophisticated society with its constant technological advances.  The complexity of this new age demands a different kind of union leader – well-grounded in investment and portfolio management with keen analytical skills; political savvy and a firm grasp of government affairs on national and state levels.  He recognizes the importance of communications management – the delicate art of managing public perception.  Business Manager Reginald Castanares introduced the return of the Union’s newsletter, renamed the Ha’aheo 675 early 2009 and also revived Local 675’s website, www.plumbershawaii.com.

Business Manager Castanares has quickly become an innovative leader committed to promoting the welfare and stability of our industry. Castanares’ focus is going back to basics, “organizing the unorganized” and securing outstanding wages and benefits for Local 675 members.  He is aggressively seeking new avenues in waste to energy technology and continuing to promote our industry, marketing in Hawaii and the Pacific.  Business Manager Reginald “Reggie” Castanares confidently leads the way taking our Union family on another bold step to meet the challenges ahead.

 

Plumbers & Fitters UA Local Union 675 - 1109 Bethel Street, Lower Level - Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2218 - Tel: 808-536-5454 - FAX: 808-528-2629