Initiated into Local 38 in 1967, Chilia graduated from his inside wireman apprenticeship in 1971, working for various electrical contractors until 1989. He was elected to his local’s examining board in 1977 and its executive board in 1980.
After serving as chairman of all of his local’s pension and benefit funds, Chilia was elected business manager in 1997. In 2001, he was elected to serve on the International Executive Council.
Brother Chilia instituted his local union’s 401(k) plan and full retirement at age 55. He is a leader in negotiating project labor agreements, including those covering construction of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians stadiums and the Cleveland Clinic.
Chilia’s civic and labor activism earned him a place in Leadership Cleveland’s Class of 2001, which brings together recognized leaders from the private, nonprofit and government sectors for seminars on the challenges and dilemmas facing the region.
A vice president of the Cleveland AFL-CIO,Brother Chilia has also served as treasurer and board member of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades.