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Old 04-20-2009, 06:41 PM   #1
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Default Joining a union in NJ a good idea in this economy?

Hey!
I'm 22 years old, graduated from an electricians program last august and have been working as a helper for non-union contractors since. I work residential for 6 months, got laid off due to lack of work and am now working for another contractor who specializes in the field wiring of conveyor systems (with very steady work incoming). Now i already applied for local 400 in NJ, took the test, passed, and just got a letter in telling me my interview is at the end of the month. Now what worries me is what seems like the lack of union work in my area. Just the other day i saw a picket line from local 400. So what i want to know is, is it wise to join a union now with what seems to be a major lack of work? Some say that I'm better off staying where the work is for now and try for the union again when the economy picks back up. Others say that apprentices tend to have a good amount of work and don't have to worry as much. I figured here would be the best place to find some answers.

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Old 04-20-2009, 06:48 PM   #2
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The IBEW operates a first-class temporary service for electrical contractors. You'll get a good education.

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Old 04-20-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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its all a waiting game, the way things are going,seems like nothing is a good idea right now, i know in are local the books are full of JW out of work. but if you join as a new apr. you might get picked up, employers are really trying to save money and getting cheaper labor.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
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Apprentices are a bargain they generally work till they top out,Then everything youve heard here comes into play nepotism,clicks,drinkin buddies, in time old friendships etc and last but not least amount of working going on. You cant run a union without work.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. I'd go where the work is.
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Old 04-21-2009, 05:17 PM   #6
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Join. As an apprentice you'll enjoy full employment through the entire program and gain valuable education, a degree, and experience.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Join. As an apprentice you'll enjoy full employment through the entire program and gain valuable education, a degree, and experience.
the apprentices in the local here have to travel sometimes to find work. If you do join you will get a great education and plenty of indoctrination.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:35 PM   #8
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At this point in time if you are employed stay put.
You might try to find out if there is work for existing apprentices.
In the long run if you can get in the union you will be better off, BUT keep an open mind, do not become a open shop hater, understand a good job is a fair working relationship between management and workers.
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Old 04-21-2009, 07:38 PM   #9
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understand a good job is a fair working relationship between management and workers.

This is a great point reather you work union or nonunion.
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Old 04-21-2009, 09:14 PM   #10
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thank you everyone for the advice
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian john View Post
At this point in time if you are employed stay put.
You might try to find out if there is work for existing apprentices.
They wouldn't open the program if there wasn't.

Quote:
In the long run if you can get in the union you will be better off, BUT keep an open mind, do not become a open shop hater, understand a good job is a fair working relationship between management and workers.
Absolutely, just experience exactly what fair is, before you let someone else dictate what it is for you.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:49 AM   #12
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Generally speaking, 1st year apprentices get a great deal of Union theology. They become so enthused about unionism that they talk of inking an IBEW bug on their butt. Just remember this, there are many who only join a union for the bennies, and could take it or leave it otherwise.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:49 PM   #13
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the apprentices in the local here have to travel sometimes to find work. If you do join you will get a great education and plenty of indoctrination.
That's odd because apprentices have no portability.

Random195, joining the union is a great idea.

If you don't like it, just quit. What's the worst that could happen, you get a good, solid apprenticeship?

Just use your head, don't take everything you hear as law.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1900 View Post
Just use your head, don't take everything you hear as law.
That's great advice, but....


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1900 View Post
If you don't like it, just quit. What's the worst that could happen, you get a good, solid apprenticeship?
...be advised....many locals require the apprentices to sign a document that basically states that if you quit the local - YOU must pay for schooling out of your own pocket.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
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...be advised....many locals require the apprentices to sign a document that basically states that if you quit the local - YOU must pay for schooling out of your own pocket.
Beat me to it...
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:34 PM   #16
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That's great advice, but....




...be advised....many locals require the apprentices to sign a document that basically states that if you quit the local - YOU must pay for schooling out of your own pocket.
I've heard about that, but never saw the document myself nor talked to anyone from any neighboring local who signed it.

I'll be paying 2.5% of my gross for school for the next 45 years, jeeze!
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:39 PM   #17
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I've heard about that, but never saw the document myself nor talked to anyone from any neighboring local who signed it.
Ask an agent...preferably head of the JATC for the straight talk ~ I rarely believe what I read on a forum

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I'll be paying 2.5% of my gross for school for the next 45 years, jeeze!
How do you figure?
Unless you are the EC and plan on retiring in 45 years....
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Ask an agent...preferably head of the JATC for the straight talk ~ I rarely believe what I read on a forum
I'm 100% sure I didn't sign it, I read everything I sign.


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How do you figure?
Unless you are the EC and plan on retiring in 45 years....
We pay 2.5% and I won't be retiring for quite a while.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:19 PM   #19
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I've heard about that, but never saw the document myself nor talked to anyone from any neighboring local who signed it.
I had to sign it(local 26). If an apprentice quits/fails out they have to pay for their books and part of the schooling, and at the end of the apprenticeship we have to stay union for 2 years or we will have to pay for it.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I'm 100% sure I didn't sign it, I read everything I sign.
This is fairly recent development...within the past 4 - 8 years if I had to guess....years ago, it was not a requirement.
Another factor - which particular local? [Rhetorical -you do not have to answer]]
All locals [even within NJ] do not follow the same play book.



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We pay 2.5% and I won't be retiring for quite a while.
There is a distinct difference between "DEDUCTIONS" and "CONTRIBUTIONS"
Deductions include:
- personal fund
- assessments
- etc
These are actual deductions from your paycheck, paid by you.

Contributions include:
- Annuity
- JATF
- Pension
- Welfare
- Temporary Disability Trust Fund
- NEBF
- NNJEIF
- etc
These are paid by the employer..some on your behalf [TDTF, Annuity, Pension, etc] to your accounts....some directly to the local [NNJEIF, JATF, etc].
These monies DO NOT come out of your paycheck.


I don't know where you got the idea that you personally are paying the 2.5% JATF amount - but you are not paying it ~ your employer is.
Don't believe me?
Check your pay stub...all monies taken from your pay must be accounted for....ie, SUI,Fed Tax, State Tax, Personal Fund, etc...but no JATF.

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