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Thread: Union or non???

  1. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    3
    i started in the local 15 yrs ago when i started my rate was $6.35/hr. After five years where i not only learned a/c and ref. but also learned how to be a competant Steamfitter,welder and Mechanic. when i got out of my time the hr wage was $20.01 now it is $32.00/hr not including 3 pensions and the best healthcare my family could ask for. The unoin also allowed me the ability to make a move to a warmer climate and work from another hall. Granted the wages are less because the south pays less but my benifits are STILL there. I belive if you can make the sacrafice it is well worth it in the end.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Deer Trail, CO
    Posts
    216
    Man I love when this thread reappears, it usually gets so lively. That aside, if the local union has a good service training program, and not all do, by all means go for it. In the long run you will benefit. Going the same route as non union is a hard row to hoe unless you're lucky enough to find one of the few companies that is dedicated to their employee's education. Granted, it can be done and if you stick with it and push yourself to learn more and try to be the best you can be you can make more money than union counterparts and if you're smart enough to only work for upright companies you can get a better benefit package than the unions offer. Beware, working union does not gaurantee you a job or an easy one at that. I manage a union shop and my guys are out there working overtime to get a building back up, or running emergency calls nights and weekends when the temperature drops to -20. This is the service trade. Our local can no longer provide us with trained commercial technicians and last ones they sent over we fired. Go into this with your eyes and mind open, good luck.
    Don't let your ego get in the way of a good decision

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Where it's dark & damp
    Posts
    606
    I will probably be the anti union guy here but I personally hate them. I don't know why but the union talent around here is far from spectactular and seems only about 1 in 10 is a decent mechanic. The electricians local is the opposite and thier guys are great. You can get as good and in the case with about 60% of the people in our shop better wages nonunion. We have had the votes several times in our shop over the past several years. It works out as a house cleaning every time. All the good guys vote no and stay. The loafers vote yes and leave our company to go union as the vote doesn't pass and wind up laid off in 6 months. We did lose one good guy thus far and he is missed but that is generally not the case. It may be different in different areas of the country. By the way my dad has been union pipe fitter for atleast 40 years and is retired and his son is a scab.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    50
    The key is to define your goals.Nobody,
    including the local is going to give you anything.
    I was doing repairs,non union for 10 years,studied
    everything I could get my hands on,and got my emloyers to send me to courses[carrier etc].I finally took two semesters of pneumatic controls,tested and entered as a journeyman.Proud to say much more qualified than the local service fitters.It depends on the local and thier service cirriculum.Chances are unless you take steps along the way to learn everything about complete systems,you will end up catagorized,bored,or un emloyed.These companys will pay 50 or more an hour to the right person,but you must formulate an arsanel of personality,work ethic and system knowledge.Some locals allow you to advance your years of status,if a contractor wants you by name.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1
    I got in the union 7 years ago. I worked through my apprenticeship on and off. I learned a lot through the union apprenticeship and working with qualified technicians. The downfall of the union is that, in my area, when the work slows down in the slow parts of the year everyone is backstabbing and cutting each others throat. No matter how much you try to stay out of it and just do your job you are vulnerable. Just remember workmanship means nothing, loyalty means nothing, hard work means nothing. The only thing that means something is kissing ass. The union life is the exact opposite of everything I was taught growing up. If you are going to get in the hall be prepared to make good money, watch your back, and most of all get laid off for periods at a time.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    276
    if you get achance go union, training is best, you are represented when it comes to the government screwing with social security and other issues. In many cases you will never get better pension and benifits.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    276
    I should also add that there are many out there that are against the union, from past experiances. If you had the chang=ce to look into both sides of there stories you would find in many cases that expect the union to lick their boots and it did not so they got upset.
    You have to remember that a union is not about an individual but about the members which is totaly against what these people believe in that are against the union. Every thing they believe is for them.


  8. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    177
    I have been in this trade as a tech for almost 20 years. i have worked under permit for union shops and also for non union shops. I didnt join the union for one simple reason. work ethic!! i am a energetic no BS type of tech. i get in there and get the job done and move on to the next one. most Journeyman union guys i have met like to milk the jobs and get very annoyed at guys like me. i always heard things like "slow down you'll work yourself out of a job" or "your making the rest of us look bad" as a non union commercial/industrial service tech i have always made at or very near union scale with out all the union BS or dues and i always work year round. i agree that the union provides training that is more structured and intense than a non union shop or vocational school can provide, At least i wont find my butt sitting on a bench at the hall in the slow times waiting for my turn to be called back to work.

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    chicago suburbs
    Posts
    4,422
    Originally posted by heatermanbob
    I have been in this trade as a tech for almost 20 years. i have worked under permit for union shops and also for non union shops. I didnt join the union for one simple reason. work ethic!! i am a energetic no BS type of tech. i get in there and get the job done and move on to the next one. most Journeyman union guys i have met like to milk the jobs and get very annoyed at guys like me. i always heard things like "slow down you'll work yourself out of a job" or "your making the rest of us look bad" as a non union commercial/industrial service tech i have always made at or very near union scale with out all the union BS or dues and i always work year round. i agree that the union provides training that is more structured and intense than a non union shop or vocational school can provide, At least i wont find my butt sitting on a bench at the hall in the slow times waiting for my turn to be called back to work.

    oh boy not another non union "SUPERTECH". thank god you didn't join the union, with your "SUPERTECH WORK ETHIC", the likes of which us lazy union boys have never seen. i'm sure you would have shown up all the union guys with your skills. OF COURSE you make union scale, your "SUPERTECH". i'm amazed they don't pay you twice union scale. after all you make them all look bad. do you wear a cape too? get over your self.
    FILL OUT YOUR PROFILE!!

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    534

    Smile Union or non???

    heatermanbob-"i have always made at or very near union scale"
    Quoted from your post.


    You are certainly entitled to your own viewpoint regarding union/nonunion. However, the point I would make again is, that people before your time and mine, organized and worked to have the payscale that you refer to. Their efforts resulted in many benefits for the average person,union and nonunion. I only point this out in case we forget how the pay and working conditions we enjoy,came to be.
    Your nonunion employer more than likely pays you at or near scale because he competes for the labor and generally people will work where they are paid the best and they can have representation if and when it is needed.

    Unions are not for everyone. However,if you are earning at or near scale,be grateful that others before you fought for that scale? A living wage was and is not paid, for altruistic reasons.


  11. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    177
    Tinner73
    you better reread my post. not once did i mention my skills or prowess as a technician. i'm sure there are exceptions to the rule but from my experience what i wrote above was the norm. time and time again i heard guys say that so and so bid 16 hours on this job and thats how long we are going to take to do it. and heaven forbid you work one minute past a coffee or lunch break. seems to me that i hit a nerve with you, touchy subject?? heard all this many times before?

    Fastfred
    i would agree that they set the standard for pay scale, but here in my area the local union actually has taken paycuts to keep their guys working. that didnt happen in the non-union shops. also around here the union shops usually have guys off for at least 3-4 weeks at a time during the year. once again not happening in the other shops.I have worked under permit for 1 very large union and 2 smaller ones and i guess i shouldnt judge all by just that experience. i just cant see paying 2400.00 - 3700.00 for initiation into an organization based on what i have witnessed so far. Bob

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    534

    Union or non???

    Originally posted by heatermanbob
    Tinner73
    you better reread my post. not once did i mention my skills or prowess as a technician. i'm sure there are exceptions to the rule but from my experience what i wrote above was the norm. time and time again i heard guys say that so and so bid 16 hours on this job and thats how long we are going to take to do it. and heaven forbid you work one minute past a coffee or lunch break. seems to me that i hit a nerve with you, touchy subject?? heard all this many times before?

    Fastfred
    i would agree that they set the standard for pay scale, but here in my area the local union actually has taken paycuts to keep their guys working. that didnt happen in the non-union shops. also around here the union shops usually have guys off for at least 3-4 weeks at a time during the year. once again not happening in the other shops.I have worked under permit for 1 very large union and 2 smaller ones and i guess i shouldnt judge all by just that experience. i just cant see paying 2400.00 - 3700.00 for initiation into an organization based on what i have witnessed so far. Bob


    As i stated unions are not for everyone!!! I was able to work all year,no lay off's.I do not know how i would have handled periods of unemployment. Some people like the time off between jobs. Regarding attitudes and production of workmen. I have had foremen send men back to the hall for not producing and men were fired for the same. Some people think you cannot be fired if you are in the union, believe me this is not true. It is true that some who should be fired are not,but that is managements decision. Everyone,employee, contractor and customer benefit when they(employees) perform as per the agreement and when they do this niether the employee the contractor should complain.
    Personally i think that most (NOT ALL) people who are highly motivated and goal oriented and who like work independently are the ones you find running their own show's. They don't have to deal with some of the issues you refer to.
    Regards.



  13. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Veterans Home Yaphank, NY
    Posts
    2,309

    Frown Re : Union or non

    I was a member of the Service fitters for 12 years, and became an instructor. All was fine until one of the part time instructors wanted my full time posistion. This man was so far up the directors @ss it was pathetic, but he got my job.
    I went to the Business Agent and he told me that he did not get involved with the instructors or the Training center.
    I said very nice after all I did
    A. Get the Training Center registered as RSES Certified
    Trianing.
    B. Brought in Carlin Combustion University
    C. Brought in Riello Certified Training
    D. Alco and Copeland Training
    Never receieved acknowledgement for what I help set up.
    So now you can see my dissatisfaction with Unions.
    Also why does New York need five different HVAC/R Unions.
    Thank you for letting me vent.


    [Edited by icehouse on 03-26-2005 at 08:37 PM]
    RAM Teaching Tomorrows Technicians Today.

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