The Role of the Engineer in the Chicago Public Schools.

IUOE Local 143 Engineers are dedicated to the safety and comfort of the children of the Chicago Public Schools. Every school day, the safety of 450,000 students and over 30,000 staff members including teachers and Para-professionals are in the hands of Local 143 members.

Few, if any, positions in the private or public sector carry with them the magnitude of responsibility or require more diversity of knowledge and skill. All those involved with the day to day operation of a Chicago Public School building knows some facet of the responsibilities and functions of the Operating Engineer. Few, outside of the Operating Engineers of Local 143 themselves, realize the full scope of their work or the invaluable role they play in the safe, efficient and economical management of our school buildings.

The members of Local 143 who operate and maintain the school buildings in Chicago are trained in all areas of building management. Many have are trained in Homeland Security as First Responders in the event of an emergency.

Since School Reform of 1995, the role of the School Building Engineer has changed and encompasses a broader responsibility. Accountability has changed from being Centrally Managed to Locally managed, being under the direct authority of the Local School Principal.

This partnership with the Principal has enhanced the school buildings through-out the City of Chicago and continues to grow in providing quality environments for learning and allows the focus of the principal to remain on the educational program at his/her school.

The information contained here has been assembled with the hope that you will take a few moments to better acquaint yourself with the important work of the Local 143 School Engineer. It is my hope that it will enable you to better know the dedicated professionals of this group of Chicago Public School employees who do this work on a day to day basis and commonly refer to their buildings as “My School”. We take pride in ownership of our work and loyalty to our clients – the School Children of Chicago!

William E. Iacullo. President
International Union of Operating Engineers.
Local 143. 143B


What is a Stationary Engineer

  • Operate and maintain boilers and related equipment.
  • Maintain Safety at all times.
  • Operate and Maintain all Building Equipment for Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
  • Operate and maintain all building systems, fire safety systems, electrical systems, plumbing and other infrastructure.
  • The main building manager under the direction of the school Principal.


Skills Areas of Local 143 Engineers

  • HVAC and Refrigeration
  • Instrumentation and Controls for buildings – Direct Digital Controls
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Fire Safety
  • Homeland security– First Responder
  • Equipment repair
  • General school building maintenance
  • Pneumatics
  • Boiler Operations
  • Pumps Fans
  • Air Compressors
  • Chillers
  • Steam Traps
  • Motors
  • Steam Operated equipment – engines and pumps.


Licensure and Certifications

  • City of Chicago Stationary Engineers License
  • Illinois Department of Public Health – Swimming Pool Operators License

In order to promote to higher level of Engineer the following training modules are required:

  • Boiler Operation
  • Electrical
  • Chief Engineers

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