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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    17

    Local 250 UA HVAC service and repair side - trying to get my foot in the door

    I had a phone interview the other day (I'll refer to the interviewer as "he"), and He was impressed with my resume. I am an 8 year certified HVAC service and repair tech, and am looking to get into the service side of the Local 250. I mostly did residential and commercial work. I am a service tech, NOT a parts changer. Anyway He asked if I had chiller and/or controls experience, which I have none. He asked me if I'm comfortable working on 30 ton package units, which I CAN be. I've never worked on anything bigger than 15 tons, but I can imagine the 30 tonner's are just bigger applications, with more safety's and lockouts. he also asked if I was opposed to doing the apprenticeship program, which I told him I have no problem. SO anyway, he says he's going to shop some contractors for me (Really nice and helpful guy), and then it's up to me to get the job. Question is, should I do the apprentice with UA? Could I maybe be grandfathered in with my experience to a certain level (apprentice 3, etc.). Any thing I should look out for, or expect? Honestly I don't feel very comfortable working on 30 tons yet, but I'm a very fast and efficient learner. And seeing how I know the science and concepts behind HVAC systems, I don't think it should take me long to apply that science to bigger applications?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,663
    Yes they will grandfather you into the appropriate yr probably 3rd yr apprentice, Very great program very demanding and it is more of a job atmosphere with your fellow forman running the day to day teachings. They keep track of your time and attendance very closely and frown on more than one abscence. If you are a family man, kiss the wife and kids goodmorning and good night cause its four nights a week except summer break etc. Great jobs great team players great package and you will be married to the union.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,663
    Oh I forgot to mention the nice commute to downtown LA. Not always fun especially from OC.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1,164
    Quote Originally Posted by toocoolforschool View Post
    Yes they will grandfather you into the appropriate yr probably 3rd yr apprentice, Very great program very demanding and it is more of a job atmosphere with your fellow forman running the day to day teachings. They keep track of your time and attendance very closely and frown on more than one abscence. If you are a family man, kiss the wife and kids goodmorning and good night cause its four nights a week except summer break etc. Great jobs great team players great package and you will be married to the union.
    There's a little bit of misinformation stated here.

    1. You cannot "grandfather" in to 3rd year. I think the most they can do is skip you ahead one semester (6 months). I tried to do the same...no dice. Once accepted into the apprenticeship program, you are, in effect, attending a community college program. It isn't four nights a week. It's two. You have 216 hours of instruction given over a 36 week period or 3 hours a night twice a week. There is a school in Anaheim so you don't have to travel to downtown L.A. to attend class.

    2. Regarding attendance...I don't know the exact number of absences allowed, but the word "frowned upon" doesn't really apply. If you miss two (don't quote me) you are out of the program...period.

    3. I "grandfathered" into Local 250 as a journeyman with eight years experience in residential and light commercial. I was fortunate. I was hired by a manufacturer and within two years I was working on centrifugals. Became a long and satisfying career wih a great company.

    4. You can read more about the program on the UA 250 website.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,663
    I don't know about misinformation maybe wrong description of "grandfathered" I was "jumped" to 3rd yr apprentice when accepted to program and it was 4 nights a week but maybe times have changed since I was in attentance. For most it is correct.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
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    1,377
    Quote Originally Posted by KnewYork View Post
    There's a little bit of misinformation stated here.

    1. You cannot "grandfather" in to 3rd year. I think the most they can do is skip you ahead one semester (6 months). I tried to do the same...no dice. Once accepted into the apprenticeship program, you are, in effect, attending a community college program. It isn't four nights a week. It's two. You have 216 hours of instruction given over a 36 week period or 3 hours a night twice a week. There is a school in Anaheim so you don't have to travel to downtown L.A. to attend class.

    2. Regarding attendance...I don't know the exact number of absences allowed, but the word "frowned upon" doesn't really apply. If you miss two (don't quote me) you are out of the program...period.

    3. I "grandfathered" into Local 250 as a journeyman with eight years experience in residential and light commercial. I was fortunate. I was hired by a manufacturer and within two years I was working on centrifugals. Became a long and satisfying career wih a great company.

    4. You can read more about the program on the UA 250 website.
    Every local does it different, whats factual to your case doesn't apply to everyone. In our local guys get grandfathered in to second ,third and four years apprenticeship, here if you miss school a few time with no good excuse, they hold you back or kick you out.
    By the way centrifugals like pneumatics controls are a dying breed, around here centrifugals guys are going back to school and learning how to work on heat pumps and RTU's.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    1,164
    Quote Originally Posted by valdelocc View Post
    Every local does it different, whats factual to your case doesn't apply to everyone. In our local guys get grandfathered in to second ,third and four years apprenticeship, here if you miss school a few time with no good excuse, they hold you back or kick you out.
    By the way centrifugals like pneumatics controls are a dying breed, around here centrifugals guys are going back to school and learning how to work on heat pumps and RTU's.
    I think as a 32 year member of Local 250 who took the time to read the apprentice page of Local 250's website I reported accurately. The OP asked SPECIFCALLY about Local 250 not your local in New York.

    Centrifugals a dying breed? You're kidding, right? A multi-story building or research labs aren't going to go use RTUs or heat pumps. I can see the headlines now..."Empire State Building to retrofit to water source heat pumps".

    If we could get one or two qualified centrifugal mechanics here we would be estatic. Even the local factory offices are hurting for large tonnage guys who are worth their salt.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnewYork View Post
    I think as a 32 year member of Local 250 who took the time to read the apprentice page of Local 250's website I reported accurately. The OP asked SPECIFCALLY about Local 250 not your local in New York.

    Centrifugals a dying breed? You're kidding, right? A multi-story building or research labs aren't going to go use RTUs or heat pumps. I can see the headlines now..."Empire State Building to retrofit to water source heat pumps".

    If we could get one or two qualified centrifugal mechanics here we would be estatic. Even the local factory offices are hurting for large tonnage guys who are worth their salt.
    I bet after a quarter of a century with the union you have witnessed plenty of rules bending.
    32 years wow! why are you still working?, most guys around here call it quits after 25 in/50 age. and yes centrifugal are going away, it was bull work anyways.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,108
    Quote Originally Posted by valdelocc View Post
    and yes centrifugal are going away, it was bull work anyways.
    In the <500 ton range, I agree with you. Those are going air-cooled. >500 tons is still going to be a centrifugal. For the forseeable future, the most efficient way to move a large mass of refrigerant vapor around will remain a centrifugal compressor. We start up enough new ones at my job to keep me busy for the rest of my career, and I don't even live in a huge city like New York or LA or Houston. As far as "bull work" goes, what part of this trade is not difficult? It's hard work, no matter what you do. Even the full-time control techs are working themselves into an early grave with all of the stress. I don't know anyone working on rooftops or split systems who carries around telescope gauges, micrometers, dial indicators, feeler gauges, etc... This is a technical trade, and working on large-tonnage stuff is no different than any other aspect of this trade. Just because the pieces are bigger and you occasionally have to hoist a 4-ton beam 20' into the air doesn't diminish that fact. There's also lots of really tiny pieces.

    As far as the union goes, I was hired by a union contractor and was brought in as a Journeyman with 5 years experience doing commercial installations and some service here and there. Individual results may vary
    "There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals."

    -Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    I was brought into my 1st Local, which is now part of another Local, as a Service Journeyman. I only had 4 years of total experience on Residential and Commercial AC. Take it that we had one of the lowest Jm scale wages in the country at that time. So every Local is different. I doubt any city's Local that does many chillers is going to bring you in as a SJm if you have 15 years experience in only Residential and Commercial AC.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange County, in a Galaxy far far away...
    Posts
    277
    I would very much like to "break into" the union. However I only have 1 year resi, 2yr commercial. So it's gonna be tough. Nothing wrong with where I work at moment. I know of 3 guys on my team who are leaving to go union.
    I bump into union guys at supply houses and gotta be honest they're all pretty sharp and know their ****.

    Anyways... a man can dream right?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
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    1,377
    Quote Originally Posted by Lightning_Boy View Post
    I would very much like to "break into" the union. However I only have 1 year resi, 2yr commercial. So it's gonna be tough. Nothing wrong with where I work at moment. I know of 3 guys on my team who are leaving to go union.
    I bump into union guys at supply houses and gotta be honest they're all pretty sharp and know their ****.

    Anyways... a man can dream right?
    If I tell you that took me 15 years to get into the union would you believe it? regardless, the best move I ever made, keep trying.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange County, in a Galaxy far far away...
    Posts
    277
    Just out of curiosity I contacted local 250. Long story and an hour long test later...
    I've landed an apprenticeship with a controls contractor.
    I won't say what I'm being paid but its significantly more than a 1st yr apprentice. I have 5 yrs of schooling 2 nights a week to look forward to.
    Oh, the school in anaheim is closing after this semester (5 minutes from home...)

    It's been an incredibly hard decision as I make good $$ where I'm at plus lots of little perks, however the education is something that cannot be taken away from me, ever.
    I never considered myself "pro" or "anti" union, so we'll see what happens from here.

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