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Construction Jobs through a union... a good idea?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by glockguy, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. glockguy

    glockguy Albany Oregon Well-Known Member

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    So I got a call from one of my former bosses today asking me if i would like to join the union and work for him as an apprentice doing construction (framing etc) It starts out at 15 an hour base, but since i have some experience he said id start out higher.. he's making over $30 an hour right now and he says i can be up there within a few years.. Im just not sure if this is a good deal being construction jobs seems to really get crappy over the past few years due to our lovely economy. Im also a lil worried i'll get it then loose my job in a year or 2, but i guess one never knows... what do ya'll think
     
  2. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    Are you working now? If you're not it's a no lose situation.
     
  3. glockguy

    glockguy Albany Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Yea I have a job, but I'll never make more then MAYBE 17 an hour ( he joy of working for a private company thats owned by a stingy old fart).. I make 13.50 now..
     
  4. giddyupgo55

    giddyupgo55 Vernonia Active Member

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    The problem with unions anymore is that they have priced them selfs out of a job. I know a lot of folks who can do the same job just as good if not better then the union. I for one was forced to be part of a union and did not like it and I let them know it. Glad I am not part of it anymore. Just my own thoughts.
     
  5. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Glockguy,

    The nice thing about having an apprenticeship under your belt, you can go anywhere in the country that is currently hiring for work and be on a job the next day. There is no need to worry about resumes, interviews, etc. If you are a crappy worker, you'll be gone within a few days, but if you're good, you might get asked to stay with the company on a full time basis once the job is over. Learn your job and with some ambition you can become a foreman, superintendent, or project manager...or just stay a journeyman if that's all you want.

    Despite the fact that private-sector union employees get paid more per hour of work than non-union employees, its not as lop sided as some folks make it seem. Many non-union employees get paid vacation, paid holidays, paid sick time, paid personal time, paid jury duty, paid maternity leave, paid berevement leave, etc. As a member of a construction union, you get NONE of this. If you don't work, you don't get paid. That higher wage allows you to save money in good times that then keeps you fed in lean times. A company can choose to pay you for time off, but they don't have to. In the end, the total money spent per employee between union and non-union workers pretty much evens out...unless we are talking Public union employees, then that's a WHoooooLE different matter.

    Keith
     
  6. Celtic Armory

    Celtic Armory Port Orchard, WA Member

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    I used to work as an apprentice electrician with the IBEW in Carlsbad NM. I was treated terribly. The company I worked for was great, but the union was terrible. My one and only union meeting the union leaders bragged about using mafia tactics to run the competition out of a small town so they could get the city contract for some construction project. I got paid crap and on top of all my bills and union dues they wanted me to fork over another $300+ every three months to defray the costs of the books for the school part of the apprenticeship, which was a violation of state law.

    Personally, if I ever need construction work done I will look for the best non-union company. Not all companies are great, some are crap, but there's nothing extra special for them being a union company. Besides, the labor union is a communist construct.
     
  7. Artilleryman

    Artilleryman Originally from the central midwest but have reloc Active Member

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    It may not be a bad deal, Glockguy....having an apprenticehip in your job history can be very beneficial, and the training is a great benefit too. I'm certainly no union guy (I spent a year in the IBEW as an apprentice several years ago)..I found that union philosophy is 180 degrees off kilter with my beliefs and work ethic so it wasn't a good situation...but overall it was a good experience from the perspective of training and good job history...and if the recently announced Intel expansion project actually happens that will be a huge boost to the construction industry in the portland area.
     
  8. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'd have to somewhat agree about the 'interesting' folks you can meet at the union meetings. In my experience, the more 'rah rah' a fellow is, the more he needs the union to keep his job...which usually means his goal is getting dispatched to a job to make enough money in the week or two it takes him to get fired to carry him over until he rolls through the books to get another job. In reality, most of us eschew the union meetings, and instead opt to keep our jobs by making ourselves valuable to our employer and our customers.

    As an aside, the IBEW (electrical union) membership in Portland is roughly 45% Democrat, 45% Republican, and 10% independent.

    Glockguy, in reality, since you know and trust the fellow making you this offer, the pay is obviously going to be better when you make the switch from what you're doing now, so give it a try. It doesn't matter if the pay is low in another part of the country, its what is available to you right here at home. Improve your skills and make yourself 'more valuable' than the next guy and you'll never be without work, whether you go union or not.

    Keith
     
  9. STNOSU

    STNOSU Corvallis Member

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    Don't know much about the union part but I am currently going to OSU for Construction Engineering Management. The last couple of years internships were next to impossible to find unless you already had a couple under your belt. I know the first career fair we had this year we went from 2 recruiters last spring to about 30 showing up a week or so ago. They are all saying its starting to pick up, its a good sign seeing more recruiters. Another thing is a lot of jobs are not in OR we are told to expect to leave the NW when we graduate.
     
  10. Riot

    Riot Benton County, Washington Well-Known Member

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    My advice- last to hire, first to fire.