Founded on October 11, 1895.
European immigrants settled within pockets or segregated areas of this great metropolis because of the language, culture, security and connections they had with their fellow homeland settlers.
Chicago was soon known as the “melting pot” for immigration from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many German immigrants settled and centralized in the area now known as the Lakeview Community. Painters Local Union 275 found its birthplace in this area, with a large majority of German ancestry. Painters Local Union 275 received its charter with the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers of America on October 11, 1895. Ledger books and minutes of the meetings from the very beginning were written in German up until the mid to late 1950s, testifying for its rich and cultural German heritage. The German painters, decorators and paperhangers of this union were renowned for their skilled craftsmanship, and also notorious for their stubbornness and bullheadedness. Many joked around the Northside jobsites saying,“You could always tell a German, but you couldn’t tell him much”.
For many years Local 275 had a day office located on the 2nd floor of the former Danube Schwabian Society headquarters located at 4219 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago until they relocated in the 1980s. Initially the day office was a small, approximately 15 x 20 ft. room with a bullet proof door and glass window with curved slots at the bottom for payments so the Financial Secretary had some kind of security from being robbed. The Local maintained a full time Financial Secretary into the mid 1970s from 9:00am to 4:30 pm everyday except Wednesday with the eventual closing of the Saturday hours altogether in the mid 1980s.
The weekly meetings were held every Monday at 8:00 pm in the big theater hall until they were moved to a much smaller room in the late 1970s, with meetings being reduced to twice a month as membership started to decline. The meeting locations have also moved several times over the years.
Over the past 50 years the Local’s predominantly German membership has declined dramatically and like the City of Chicago itself became very diverse. With the advent of affordable transportation and jobs reaching out to the borders of Wisconsin and Indiana, and a tremendous growth in population, its membership had also spread far beyond the Lakeview area.
Unfortunately due to the continued decrease in membership and membership involvement within the Local itself, especially after the last recession of 2008, it was determined that to maintain solvency it needed to reduce their meetings to once a month starting in January of 2016. It is our sincere hope that the Council's venture into the digital age with its new website will bring about a renewed interest to inform our membership of matters critical to their survival and recapture the spirit, goals and objectives of Organized Labor.