To Unionize or Not To Unionize
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    6

    To Unionize or Not To Unionize

    Hello everyone, though I am new to the forum, I've read here and there over the past year. I decided to become a member because this site seems like it will be a pretty valuable tool in the near future.

    I graduated from an accredited HVAC School yesterday (10 month course) and I plan to begin an extensive job search after Christmas. My goal, obviously, is to find the best job that I can that offers a lot of future oppertunities... I've been led to believe that a union can help me do just that.

    Is there anyone here that is a member of a Pipefitters Union in Ohio?
    I'd like to know:

    1. How long the apprenticeship would be?
    2. Will my past schooling count towards the length of my apprenticeship?
    3. What is the typical pay-scale of an apprentice?
    4. If I become a member of the union, where does my insurance and retirement come from after I retire?

    I know the best way to get information is to call my local hall, but I want to know something about what I might be getting into before I actually talk to anyone. So, ANY input would be great, even if you aren't in my area (Cols., Oh) and even if you don't answer these specific questions. I tried researching my local unions online, but it is very difficult to find any information.

    P.S.
    What's a 'scab'?
    What's 'blackballed'?
    And what's an 'FMN'?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,314
    Your apprenticeship is 5 years typically. Mine involved 2 nights a week schooling plus a miniumum amount of on-the-job.

    Prior education means squat. Job experience MIGHT.

    Our apprentices start at 35% of journeyman rate. Ballpark $10 or so.

    Not retired by a long shot, so I don't know.

    Scabs are non-union workers. Typically those brought in to fill in when the union strikes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Orange Park Florida
    Posts
    224
    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    Your apprenticeship is 5 years typically. Mine involved 2 nights a week schooling plus a miniumum amount of on-the-job.

    Prior education means squat. Job experience MIGHT.

    Our apprentices start at 35% of journeyman rate. Ballpark $10 or so.

    Not retired by a long shot, so I don't know.

    Scabs are non-union workers. Typically those brought in to fill in when the union strikes.
    Pretty much the same here.
    Local 234
    Have Gauge$ Will Travel

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    I would choose to determine what you want, to set goals for yourself. Is there any type of specific work you want to get into? How about get started but advance to future endeavors later? It's a long career nd you want a lot of exposure so that once you hit your prime your well rounded.

    I am Union. But. I didn't start there. They invited me.

    I think it's okay but it aint great. I have seen and worked with many talented guys, and it is mix between the union guys and non. Belonging to a union does not automatically bless you with skills, knowledge and talent and determination and on and on. That comes from you and your desire and passion and driving yourself to excell in what YOU want to do and what YOU want to be.

    You need no affiliation for that.

    In the area I live, I have not found a non union employer who would pay the same. I am there because of money, only. I determine everything about what I want to do with my career.

    I am a service technician and I have desires to work and become skilled and profficient in all different facets of the business. At the moment, the employer I am working for happens to be union, and happens to contract in the work I enjoy. There union, so I am. If they weren't yet did what I wanted to do, and they paid as well, it wouldn't really matter to me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    6

    Confused

    I'm not too keen on the idea of being the lesser of a two man team for 4-5 years, if that is what an apprenticeship entails.

    I also don't like the idea of starting out at $10 an hour when I have 10k in student loans, and could easily start with an apartment complex at $14 an hour.

    If the union wouldn't recognize my certificate from an accredited school, then I've basically wasted a year of my life if I became a union member at this point...

    I am sure that 4-5 years of verifiable field experience would negate the whole apprentice step if I should chose to join the union in the future... Am I right?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    might take 7 to 10 years but yes. That's what can happen. It's not the union who will say hey "i bless you my son". Usually it happens hen a contractor who might interveiw you, who is impressed with your skills and and your work experience and your personality, who happens to be union, can employ you by bringing you on. It's called white ticket.

    And I will be blunt and I am sure I am gonna tick some off here. Just about every white ticket I ever met could dance.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,982
    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Grad View Post
    I'm not too keen on the idea of being the lesser of a two man team for 4-5 years, if that is what an apprenticeship entails.?
    Wrong there. The aprentices are usually pretty busy on the smaller PM's and jobs where a journeyman needs help. After the 3rd year they are running calls. Depends on how good of a learner you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Grad View Post
    I also don't like the idea of starting out at $10 an hour when I have 10k in student loans, and could easily start with an apartment complex at $14 an hour.?
    Too many people make that mistake of not looking into the aprenticeship program before dropping 20k to 30k on a trade school. Guess how much you'll be making at the apartment complex in 5 years? Hmmm, maybe $15? Guess how much you'll be making as a journeyman in 5 years? Hmmm, close to $30 an hour. I'd take the apartment complex job if I were you.

    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Grad View Post
    If the union wouldn't recognize my certificate from an accredited school, then I've basically wasted a year of my life if I became a union member at this point...?
    Guess what, no one will recognize your certificate. Oh, except the recruiter that sold you on the trade school. Bet they promised you the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC_Grad View Post
    I am sure that 4-5 years of verifiable field experience would negate the whole apprentice step if I should chose to join the union in the future... Am I right?
    If you get real experience and are not trained by some hack. You may get 5 years of good experience, and then again, you may get 5 years worth of bad habits that need to be broken. Probably the latter.


    From reading your post you look like the typical trade school grad. Expect top dollar because you were brainwashed by the trade school. It aint going to happen. JMHO
    Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part!!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    Absorbtek, are you that brainwashed?

    Life is not that black and white and you know that. My god. You sound like them senators in congress.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    yeagh right, I don;t see apprentices being properly mentored at all. Jeez, our apprentices, 3rd and 4rth years I had to teach them about microns.

    This kid aint gonna stay at an apartment complex for 5 years. He's saying to get started. Little by little, job changes in the mix, he hopefully works his way in. I took the poster for being smarter than staying at the apt job for more than a 6 month stint.

    You guys need to get off your high horse. You aint nothing special my friend.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    This is the number one problem with our union. Many think their too good for their britches. This bull $hit you espouse is whats wrong. We got members like you who think their billy bad a$$ and it's your way or the high way.

    Their is some serious talent out there, and they developed with out any influence of the UA. It might be in our best interest to bring them on. Course hearty competition from good talent is something I have seen union guys not like too well. Breaks up the norm.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,982
    We all inerpret posts differently. Thats my opinion and I'm sticking with it. No high horse here. Just stating responses to what I read.

    My aprentice whoes in his fourth year is great. Rebuilds pumps up to 300 hp, can troubleshoot a chiller, a rtu, a Liebert unit, has excellent work ethics, is willing to learn, etc. I could go on for awhile. Understands, SH, SC, DCSH, proper charging techniques, etc. He can probably do dances around many of the so called "technicians".
    Quote Originally Posted by Dowadudda View Post
    yeagh right, I don;t see apprentices being properly mentored at all. Jeez, our apprentices, 3rd and 4rth years I had to teach them about microns.

    This kid aint gonna stay at an apartment complex for 5 years. He's saying to get started. Little by little, job changes in the mix, he hopefully works his way in. I took the poster for being smarter than staying at the apt job for more than a 6 month stint.

    You guys need to get off your high horse. You aint nothing special my friend.
    Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    Quote Originally Posted by absrbrtek View Post
    We all inerpret posts differently. Thats my opinion and I'm sticking with it. No high horse here. Just stating responses to what I read.

    My aprentice whoes in his fourth year is great. Rebuilds pumps up to 300 hp, can troubleshoot a chiller, a rtu, a Liebert unit, has excellent work ethics, is willing to learn, etc. I could go on for awhile. Understands, SH, SC, DCSH, proper charging techniques, etc. He can probably do dances around many of the so called "technicians".
    and you know what. Who taught him that? Who was responsible to see him to that learning. It takes willingness, investment, mentoring. I know it wasn't the hall. You see my angle here?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,982
    LOL, I never had any UA training. All self taught and much of it paid for by myself. I have taught for the UA, but never had any classes from them. And I'll go head to head with anyone in my areas of expertise and will handle myself just fine, not afraid of compitition, bring it on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dowadudda View Post
    This is the number one problem with our union. Many think their too good for their britches. This bull $hit you espouse is whats wrong. We got members like you who think their billy bad a$$ and it's your way or the high way.

    Their is some serious talent out there, and they developed with out any influence of the UA. It might be in our best interest to bring them on. Course hearty competition from good talent is something I have seen union guys not like too well. Breaks up the norm.
    Your poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part!!!!

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