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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350

    Should I go union? negatives and positives?

    Hey guys,

    I don't know if this had been brought up a million times or not. I am wondering if the pros out weigh the cons with the union thing. If any, can anyone tell me the negatives associated with going union? This is for commercial hvac in Seattle.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    517
    Go Union and then on pay day you can share your hard earned money with them. The BA needs a new Cadillac.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    534
    Quote Originally Posted by ej45 View Post
    Go Union and then on pay day you can share your hard earned money with them. The BA needs a new Cadillac.
    The B.A. can drive the Cadillac to the contract meetings where he can negoiate
    a living wage and good benefits for you. And then if you are good enough you can negotiate a higher wage with your contractor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    How much does the union take out of your check? The reason I ask is if you are in the union are you happy? I have a pretty good job and I was happy until I heard what a friend of mine was making in the union. He is making $2 an hour more then I am, and the sucky thing is I have 9 years more experience. Our benefits are about the same, but is his retirement taken out of his wage? I have to pay into my 401k out of my paycheck.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Michigan, Detroit Metro area
    Posts
    296
    Well, I'm not from Seattle, but everyone that I've ever met that was working union, no matter the trade, is better off than non-union. I'm making almost double as a 1st year apprentice than what I was making doing residential hvac service. Tech school, Nate Cert, and 5 years exp, and all it got me was empty promises from my old boss.

    Go non-union, then on payday you get chicken **** and your boss gets to drive his cadillac to buy a new boat for his summer cabin that he flys his sea plane too.
    What's my post count now?
    UA Local 636

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    304
    I don't think that it's a simple union/non union question. It's all relative to the individual, because the majority of my friends are in the trades, union and non. As far as HVAC goes, guys in the union are having just as many problems as non union guys. My buddys in the union are complaining about the lack of work due to underbidding by contractors who employ people for very little money to do the jobs. I think that if you apply yourself, you will be rewarded, if you are non union and work for a company that doesn't pay you correctly based on your performance, it's time to leave and find the right fit for you. There are shops that will pay you, and appreciate what you contribute. Hell, one of my buddys is a union carpenter and he has been laid off for 5 months and he is damn great at what he does....Everyone is out to make money, union bosses as well as non, and so are we.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    California/Nevada
    Posts
    3,670
    here in los angeles the union is a better choice, even though these companies are pulling record profits, the private companies are doing everything they can to turn HVAC into a $12 per hour job

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,778
    I'm in Seattle & if I were you I would check out the union HVAC very carefully before I made a decision. The Seattle union might be for you or not but deal with the local facts and not what they tell you.

    I've got a bunch of friends(?) here in the union and when all alone and they don't fear for their livelyhood a lot have told me they are not doing as well as they let on. And some say they receive more pay than I, which is impossible cause I own my own business but they don't bother to think about that..so that tells me something right away.

    Once you are in the union here it's going to be almost impossible for you to get out or to work for a free shop. A lot of the free shop owners and managers will select someone who has no union experience over someone who use to be in the union to avoid complications of the mind set.

    It's up to you but check out the facts deeply around here. Just cause the economy is still booming here I know of techs that are still not getting anywhere near their 40 hours.

    Mind you now, it still may be fitting to you but deal with facts. Good luck either way.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Canton ohio
    Posts
    865
    Im in Ohio and work union.For me it was the best decision I've ever made in my working life.I'm over scale by a few bucks.I have good insurance and a pension my employer pays for.good luck in whichever you choose.
    Go RCR!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    Yeah I am going to do my research before I take the plunge. I am going down to the hall to take a look around and get some info. The big companies in this area seem to be doing great, but I don't know for how long. I just want what is best for my family.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

  11. #11
    Join the union, you wont regret it. I worked both sides and would never go back to non union.

    Dont worry, scabs can heal.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Near Chicago, IL
    Posts
    3,317
    Quote Originally Posted by emoney1971 View Post
    How much does the union take out of your check? The reason I ask is if you are in the union are you happy? I have a pretty good job and I was happy until I heard what a friend of mine was making in the union. He is making $2 an hour more then I am, and the sucky thing is I have 9 years more experience. Our benefits are about the same, but is his retirement taken out of his wage? I have to pay into my 401k out of my paycheck.
    Union dues at each local are different in amounts and how they are paid.

    "More experience" doesn't always mean more money. There is no financial difference between a newly minted Journeyman or one with 20 years of experience. Sometimes, that sucks when your co worker is capable of less, yet makes the same that you do. Contractors are under no obligation to pay more.

    Union benefits are part of the negotiated pay package, therefore, the employer pays for those benefits.

    As others have mentioned, the higher union wage is meaningless if you aren't working.

    Union membership does not guarantee happiness. Like any political organization, there are many things that I do not agree with in mine. Changing them is probably an impossiblity. Rules and contracts can have little meaning when union shops bend/break the contract and the union hall does nothing. In my area, odds are you will be hauling company materials and tools without compensation in your own vehicle- even though the contract specifically prohibits this behavior. If you complain to the hall, you get fired. At some shops, if you don't own a pickup or van, you will get laid off.

    Same result for every item specified in the contract that benefits the employee if you complain.

    Like anything else in life, it comes down to money. I can pay about $1000 a year to belong to a "club" and make over $70k annually if I work a whole year, my insurance and retirement funds don't get messed up with each layoff, and have some pretty nice benefits to boot ... or ... I can do the same thing for about 1/2 the pay and little/no benefits by going non-union (check the want ads).

    Not a tough decision.
    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana
    Posts
    2,329
    Quote Originally Posted by emoney1971 View Post
    How much does the union take out of your check? The reason I ask is if you are in the union are you happy? I have a pretty good job and I was happy until I heard what a friend of mine was making in the union. He is making $2 an hour more then I am, and the sucky thing is I have 9 years more experience. Our benefits are about the same, but is his retirement taken out of his wage? I have to pay into my 401k out of my paycheck.
    His retirement is not taken out of his check he recieves from the employer, you do not see it as you do when you work for a nonunion shop. Dont see your insurance or retirment.

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