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  1. #144
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    205
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    union!!

    First off I'm going to say, it's what you make it out to be. I'm getting ready to go to work for a Residential/Light Commercial union shop. This shop's signatory to the NSMA, which disregards the A, B & C card classifications of our union local and instead it bases off of the Journeyman (A Card). An C Card Service Tech which is our local classification for R/LC makes about $23/Hr. on the check. A Tradesman 3 under the NSMA which is also for R/LC makes about $31/Hr. I prefer union, but not only union, union using the NSMA!
    If you're under the employ of a non-union shop and they're taking good care of you, then you better be a lifer. Once you and that shop seperate say good bye to your health & welfare. Even if you have $100,000 in your retirement plan, you probably put $80,000 of it in yourself! What's the point of matching your contributions up to $1/Hr., if you're the one putting in $4/Hr. of your wage?! Even my future shop is going to be putting in $4.50/Hr. for me. At 40 hrs for 50 wks, that's $9,000 none of which will come out of my wage!! When deciding whether union or non-union, it comes down to economics, but a lot of you seem to have less mathematical skills than my youngest child.

  2. #145
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    15
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    So is the union still the best way to go or is the economy not right for it?

  3. #146
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    200
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    Don't know if it ever really was. Right now in this economy, a job union or not is the best way to go.

  4. #147
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange County, in a Galaxy far far away...
    Posts
    283
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    I've just gone over to the union side (UA local 250) and so far so good. My previous company was none union and really wasn't bad at all. However I wanted the training and classroom learning to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. Went from $29/hr no bennies, no 401k, no holidays off to 1st year apprentice wages but I have so much more overall I'm very happy.
    You cannot cheat an honest man. But that doesn't stop people trying!

  5. #148
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Posts
    1
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabre11134 View Post
    stay union,will you have a pension working non union ?
    serious question im about to graduate and get my cert. what if youre ex military and you arent looking for medical coverage or insurance at all. i also invest in small multifamily so i dont really want my retirement to be involved in my job? is there still a reason to go union or could i stay non union.
    p.s. i take cannabis for ptsd

  6. #149
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    348
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    I'm pretty sure you would need a prescription if that substance showed up in a urine test, won't get on a large construction site or accepted to an apprenticeship with a positive. Around here projects at colleges and schools are amost always subject to testing. Hi-rise, airport and pharmaceutical also. If you think you want to be involved in the install and commissioning of large projects, you will need to address it.

    H&W is a big part of the total union compensation package, right now $22.21 per hour goes to my insurance, pension and annuity funds. Don't know any way around it.
    I also don't know of any non-union techs who receive a significantly higher in the pocket wage than union rate, but the lead techs at City facility or Remco are probably in the union rate ball park.

    The UA has a great program, Veterans in Piping, but I believe, you need to enter it pre-separation.

  7. #150
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    1,643
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonkethvac View Post
    serious question im about to graduate and get my cert. what if youre ex military and you arent looking for medical coverage or insurance at all. i also invest in small multifamily so i dont really want my retirement to be involved in my job? is there still a reason to go union or could i stay non union.
    p.s. i take cannabis for ptsd
    Just some friendly advise the next time you have a question after reading a 12 year old thread, Just put your question in a new thread

    Secondly if you want to work trades and many companies do drug and alcohol testing you may wish to talk to your Dr. and get something else for the PTSD. Because if you came back with a failed test for pot (or alcohol), I'm not hiring you and I know many who think the same way.

  8. #151
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    US of A
    Posts
    5,403
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonkethvac View Post
    serious question im about to graduate and get my cert. what if youre ex military and you arent looking for medical coverage or insurance at all. i also invest in small multifamily so i dont really want my retirement to be involved in my job? is there still a reason to go union or could i stay non union.
    p.s. i take cannabis for ptsd
    As others have said the chances are that a union job will still give you the most income for now and the future. You may or may not be able to negotiate for more pay in lieu of benefits but don't even try that until after you have negotiated pay in the first place.

    As far as the medical marijuana I would check your states laws and policies . Even in a favorable state I would still expect it to be a hurdle in most cases. Good luck!

    "Some states allow employers to prohibit the use of medical Marijuana for safety and other reasons. In these states, employers may be able to maintain a zero-tolerance drug-free workplace policy. In other states, however, they may be prohibited or restricted from taking adverse employment actions.

    Whether or not a company decides to accommodate medical Marijuana is dependent upon a variety of laws."
    Signature removed Violated rule #15

  9. #152
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    10
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    Our local does not allow marijuana even tho we are in a legalized state. (Wa) just FYI

  10. #153
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    32,069
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    Legalized marijuana does not mean if is safe for a worker to use it. Most insurance carriers will not allow a worker in a physical job like ours, where falls and maiming are possible, to have marijuana traces in their system. If you sit and code all day, that is a different matter.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
    Member, IAEI

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  11. Likes Brian8383 liked this post
  12. #154
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Pa
    Posts
    32,069
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    Sine this is a union vs non-union thread, I will again share my ideas.

    An HVAC tech has the greatest income and retirement comfort potential as a union guy.

    The training is generally first rate.

    The pay is really good during the apprenticeship.

    The pay is really, really good when you hit journeyman.

    it can be even better if you make a deal to be paid over-scale, because of your merit.

    All of that being said, the national office does not run the locals. They are independent, and in my experience, they lack enough business acumen to avoid acting foolishly.

    For example, they act as if they have the jobs, when they don't. The signatory companies are the ones who get the work, estimate the jobs, get paid, and issue the checks.

    Not the union.

    Many years ago, it made sense to back one politcal party, when it was a moderate, real world party.

    Now, that party is fully a global leftist party, and that politcal dogma does not work well with businesses. If you work well with businesses, you end up with more work, more workers, more dues, and more market share.

    However, most bosses in unions fail to see that, because their background is socialist dogma going back to the days of the Molly Maguires.

    Today, knowing which hand actually has the food in it best servers the interests of workers.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
    Member, IAEI

    AOP Forum Rules:







  13. #155
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    1,643
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    I 100% agree with what TB said, but wish to add just a little more:

    While I hold a high regard for the union it ended up not being what I wanted or where I wanted to take my career. You got to remember I started down this path in the 1970's so many things have changed since then. I was union trained and paid my dues for about 25 years. But when I wanted to learn and do more the union said: Sorry that is not within our program nor is it part of our trade. I trained many apprentices. Many still call when they are stumped or need just a little help.

    When I decided to move out on my own, the union was more than willing and encouraged me to hire union labor. But at that point my union left me. I was now the boss my job was oversight not in the field. It was frowned on that the boss did actual work. But I loved the hands on stuff. Over the years I have hired union, but I ran a non-union shop and paid equal to or better than scale, benefits comparable. I mean no one in the union was going to tell me how I needed to run my shop and they tried. They mailed me a withdrawal card and said if I terminated my shop I was welcome back, that was just over 20 years ago.

    To this day I encourage those interested in the trade to try and get into a union program. But you know what ABC and PHC both now have approved non-union programs that are every bit as good with respect to training. As for wages by time most have completed they are earning journeyman scale.

    Good Luck

  14. #156
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    up in the hizzy
    Posts
    3,389
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    Let me clarify couple of things, based on my own experience, I worked non-union first and joined the union 15 or so years later, there is not comparison with the UA when it comes to training,pay and benefits. ABC is a joke and mouth piece for the contractors, they are good at pretending to be something else. There is not such thing as "union bosses" we the members chose our union leadership by democratic elections and all members in good standing can run for any union position. My local supports republican and democrats financially, we support FRIENDS OF LABOR,The republican party long ago became the party of the rich and their advocacy went against whats good for the working men.
    There is not better place for the working men than the union! 100% UA the only HVAC union!

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