Hold on a sec ... *drinks more beer*

So...I'll just share with you my observations on my local union as a bare-minimum participant. Your mileage may vary, because obviously in some of the locals you other guys are in, journeymen are not all equal. In mine, a journeyman is a journeyman is a journeyman, none of this Animal Farm "but some animals are more equal than others" bullcrap. And I think that's where part of the problem comes in. It's not the same at every local union.

I did not go through the complete UA apprenticeship program. I did something like three and a half years of it, and then I was offered a job overseas, and I said, "See ya later". No regrets at all. Ten years later, I move back to my home city. I decide that I want to work as an HVAC mechanic there again after a few semesters at the city university, and the local offers to test me out as a journeyman because of all my experiences. Day long test on HVACR service work. I pass with flying colors. All HVACR stuff. No welding. No fittting. Just straight up service work.

So as it's explained to me, that's what the "divisional" -- for me -- means. I don't fit pipe. I don't weld. I'm certified strictly as a mechanical equipment services (HVACR) journeyman.

In my local, when we have meetings at whatever company we work for, we usually initial our job class beside our name on the roll. The overwhelming majority of the HVAC guys went through the apprentice program, and they put "BTJ" (Building Trades Journeyman) by their name. In addition to learning the HVAC trade, they had to learn to fit pipe and weld. For most of them, that doesn't mean crap. The only time they ever fit pipe or welded was at the apprentice school. There are a few that can weld like nobody's business, and they're the guys you need when you need to run a hot tap on a chilled water line. Most of them -- no. They waited to take their welding class until the last semester so they wouldn't be rusty on their break-out test, and that's the last time they welded.

I'm in the minority that puts "MESJ" (mechanical equipment services journeyman) by my name. I've heard that can be a source of snobbery in my local from the guys who get to put "BTJ' by their names, but I've never gotten that personally. Mainly because I usually end up as the guy in the service department that's doing other mechanics' callbacks. I may not be able to weld, but I can sure find what you missed on a service call, and I can be your buddy or burn you over it. So it's best not to be a snob to me.

So there you go. I don't do any construction, and I'm not an HVAC mechanic that doubles as a pipefitter or pipewelder. I just have the ability to figure out what's wrong with crap, so I'm a journeyman.