The Virginia Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors have broken off from the national organization over “major philosophical differences,” confirmed the PHCC-NA’s chief executive officer.

Allen Inlow, CEO of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Contractors — National Association, acknowledged reports from other sources that the VA-PHCC and PHCC-NA have decided to go their separate ways.

“After our dues increase passed (at the annual meeting in Toronto), Virginia went back and had a quick series of board meetings,” said Inlow. “It’s not the first time an affiliate disassociated itself from the national organization.”

Inlow declined to discuss the other instances, but said that the Kentucky chapter of the PHCC is considering withdrawing from the national chapter as well. PM also learned members from California’s state PHCC are considering a similar move. Representatives from Kentucky and California were unavailable for comment at press time.

“Our membership has been declining, and we disassociated with the national for the sake of saving our state chapter,” said John Fulton, president of the VA-PHCC and owner of E. McLauchlan & Sons Inc. in Richmond, Va. “We’re trying to get our growth back up.”

VA-PHCC currently has 84 members, including employee, associate and industry members. Fulton said the move was overwhelmingly supported by the members.

But not everyone supported the decision. “This act does just the opposite of what the PHCC said they would do,” said William Baumbach III, who was supposed to take over as vice president of the Northern Virginia PHCC. “By cutting the link with national they’re harming the overall individual contractor. The Virginia PHCC is in violation of the PHCC Code of Ethics.” Baumbach, from Baumbach Enterprises Ltd. in Fairfax Station, Va., declined to take office as the vice president, and will no longer produce the state PHCC’s Web sites.

The increased dues was the last issue that led to the disassociation with the NAPHCC, both Inlow and Fulton said.

“We were dealing with issues on a national level that were becoming counterproductive to what we were trying to do,” Fulton said. “It was not an action of malice or spiteful nature. We just didn’t think the value was there.”

In October, the NAPHCC significantly changed its dues structure to offset financial problems. The new structure will charge $60 per field technician, as based on the average number over the past year. The minimum charge to stay active in the organization will be $300, the maximum charge $1,000. Last year, the dues were raised to a flat rate of $315 per company.

The future yearly dues will be tied to the United States government’s Cost of Living Increase.

Members of the VA-PHCC who wish to continue belonging to the national association will be able to join as members at large.