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Old 07-01-2020, 08:21 PM   #1
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Default For Sparkys out there who left company to join IBEW (Union)

Long story short, I am still working for my first electrical company that has hired me close to a year ago and they are great people and respectfully structured. Pays on time, company events, Christmas party and bonus, schooling paid, etc. But they do not give a raise every 6 months but rather every year opportunity to pass their written and hands on test to prove that you learned a year worth of knowledge and skills. I signed up for the local union and passed their aptitude test and am just waiting for their call for interview.

My question is for you guys that left your old company to join union, did you straight up tell your employer or manager that you are joining the union? and if so, how difficult was it to tell them? I know some of you guys aren't fortunate enough to be working for a company that treats you like family, but mine does. I dread the day I have to tell my general manager that I am "ditching or betraying" them to go be part of an union. I've heard stories from co-workers where guys in the past quit to join union, and my employer despises it so much that he will bluntly tell the person to don't even bother to come fulfill his/her 2 weeks notice.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:25 PM   #2
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Business is business. You have to do what is best for you and your family, and the company you work for now will understand that if they are as good as you say they are.

Don’t ever feel bad for bettering yourself.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:27 PM   #3
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Where'd you find a "family orientated" non-union shop in So. Cal.? One that treats you decently? And presumably pays decent wages?
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:28 PM   #4
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Long story short, I am still working for my first electrical company that has hired me close to a year ago and they are great people and respectfully structured. Pays on time, company events, Christmas party and bonus, schooling paid, etc. But they do not give a raise every 6 months but rather every year opportunity to pass their written and hands on test to prove that you learned a year worth of knowledge and skills. I signed up for the local union and passed their aptitude test and am just waiting for their call for interview.



My question is for you guys that left your old company to join union, did you straight up tell your employer or manager that you are joining the union? and if so, how difficult was it to tell them? I know some of you guys aren't fortunate enough to be working for a company that treats you like family, but mine does. I dread the day I have to tell my general manager that I am "ditching or betraying" them to go be part of an union. I've heard stories from co-workers where guys in the past quit to join union, and my employer despises it so much that he will bluntly tell the person to don't even bother to come fulfill his/her 2 weeks notice.
You don't owe anyone 2 weeks notice anyway. I've never seen an employee given 2 weeks before the employer terminated them.

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Old 07-01-2020, 08:28 PM   #5
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Sounds like you have it pretty good where you are. How much more does the union pay compared to what you get now?
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:40 PM   #6
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I don't have experience with exactly what you are asking but I would strongly recommend you try to be professional and honest and DO give 2 weeks notice, don't burn a bridge to a company like that, you might not like the union.

When I have ever quit places even when giving notice to a hard ass, they are always unexpectedly not mean in anyway and kiss your ass actually to get you to stay.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:43 PM   #7
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You don't owe anyone 2 weeks notice anyway. I've never seen an employee given 2 weeks before the employer terminated them.

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Ya true on that but it's just work etiquette
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:46 PM   #8
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Sounds like you have it pretty good where you are. How much more does the union pay compared to what you get now?
My friend's friend who is in the local union was getting paid $31/hr after 3 years. After 3 years and having to pass my companies test, I will be getting $28 but without pension. That same friend recently passed his journeyman license after his 4th year and is getting $49/hr. Not even my foremans with 10+ years in my company gets that.
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Old 07-01-2020, 08:55 PM   #9
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I agree with wire smith. Be honest with them. If you get the offer from the hall, tell your boss you got the offer and see if he will match the rates, pension etc. If he can’t, then politely explain that you need to do what is best for you.
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:59 AM   #10
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Every company I left on good terms, always wished me well.
I had one owner take me and my wife out to dinner.

If they give you anything but encouragement, they are not the company you think they are.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:08 PM   #11
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My friend's friend who is in the local union was getting paid $31/hr after 3 years. After 3 years and having to pass my companies test, I will be getting $28 but without pension. That same friend recently passed his journeyman license after his 4th year and is getting $49/hr. Not even my foremans with 10+ years in my company gets that.
Leave pensions out of the equation. Have you looked at the shape of pensions in the US? Secondly, IMO the great thing about unions is the apprenticeship.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:12 PM   #12
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@Brando714, some things to consider.

In 20 years, do you want to be sitting around saying to yourself "I could have been making $20-30K more per year for all of these years, but I didn't because I wanted to be nice to the company I work for"?

In 40 years when you retire, do you want to say to yourself "I could have had twice as much money for retirement and be able to do so much more, but instead I chose to be nice to the company that I worked for"?

Or in 2-5 years if you get laid off because the nice company that you worked for did what was best for them, do you want to kick yourself for not taking the opportunity to get a better job back when the chance was available?

Some people will lie, cheat, steal, and kill to get ahead in life. All you have to do is accept an available opportunity. Nothing illegal or immoral.

I maintain that if someone gets mad at you for doing something to better yourself and your life, that they are not someone that you should worry yourself with in the first place. Simply forget that they ever existed.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:15 PM   #13
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Leave pensions out of the equation. Have you looked at the shape of pensions in the US? Secondly, IMO the great thing about unions is the apprenticeship.
My IBEW pension is over 97% funded and has been for a long time. In addition to that, my IBEW annuity (separate then the pension) is larger than most electrician's entire retirement package, and I haven't even contributed to it in the last 8+ years. Then I also have a pension thru the international.

It's hard to beat the union retirement packages.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:22 PM   #14
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My IBEW pension is over 97% funded and has been for a long time. In addition to that, my IBEW annuity (separate then the pension) is larger than most electrician's entire retirement package, and I haven't even contributed to it in the last 8+ years. Then I also have a pension thru the international.

It's hard to beat the union retirement packages.
That sounds great. Most people don't keep an eye on it like that. I think my only concern would be could the IBEW still screw me out of it like some other unions or companies(?)(airline pilots awhile back).
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:24 PM   #15
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That sounds great. Most people don't keep an eye on it like that. I think my only concern would be could the IBEW still screw me out of it.
You would be less likely to have the IBEW try to screw you out of it than a corporation.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:26 PM   #16
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The tricky part is when the hall gets the call from a contractor, that he needs a guy, he needs them the next morning, not in two weeks. So if your preparing to give two weeks notice, you may be out of work until you get the call.

I was very happy with the company I used to work for. He did mostly industrial. He had great accounts. Most of the guys were great, some where back stabbers. So much to learn. But the job had a ceiling. I knew I wanted more. There was a decent list of guys that took the leap before me. Working for that company was a plus as far as getting into the Union.

I had the talk with my boss. Actually twice, because I was talked out of it by him and other coworkers. Got a raise etc..but it wasn’t go to be enough in the long run. I put in my two weeks notice, but asked if I could stay longer because I didn’t know when I would get the call. He was fine with it. He left the door open to come back if it didn’t work out. I got the call a week after I put in the two weeks notice. I called him up that morning, thanked him and said good bye. I never had a reason to go back.
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Old 07-02-2020, 12:40 PM   #17
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That sounds great. Most people don't keep an eye on it like that. I think my only concern would be could the IBEW still screw me out of it like some other unions or companies(?)(airline pilots awhile back).
I’m not sure how it went, but there was some sort of legislation a few years ago that was going to screw the good pensions. If I remember it was to force good pensions into bailing out the bad pensions. Not sure if that was in-lieu of the governments bail out package. Total BS bill. Why should my local IBEW pension bail out some other underfunded pension? Every time we get a raise we decide to put so much into the pension to keep it funded. So that’s our sacrifice. Why take my money to bail out some other pension where people put their raise into there pocket. Total BS. It was just a way to break Unions. Brought on by Republican lawmakers I might add.
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Old 07-02-2020, 01:03 PM   #18
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If you get the chance go union. You have not said my current employer is offering me a path to journeyman. THAT is the key.
Have you documented what you have done so far?
Has your employer confirmed it?
Otherwise you just wasted 1 year of work.

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Old 07-02-2020, 04:42 PM   #19
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The union really wasn't on my radar when I going through my apprenticeship. What I would say is your future is up to you. I work for myself now and have for the most part of the last twenty years. Life goes by very quickly and you need to look out for your future. It's up to you. Relationships matter and the world is smaller than you think, but it ultimately is up to you. The same goes for investing. I'd probably trust an IBEW pension more than a corporate one. By now most non union companies are doing 401K or some sort of IRA investments which are fine, but you need to take the initiative to fund them. There are a lot of ways in this trade to make a successful living.
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Old 07-02-2020, 06:13 PM   #20
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The owner can be the greatest guy that you will ever work for. Eventually he will want to retire, or die unexpectedly. Maybe the company will stay in the control of his great family, or his kids might think that Dad was way too generous. Much more likely he or his heirs will sell out to the highest bidder, take his money to the golf course and now the new owner wants a better return on his investment. He can't cut material or overhead costs much, but he can cut pay and benefits. Now you are 40-45 years old, tired wore out, and not too many options. Union contractors also fail or go out of business, but now you can have the option to work for another signatory contractor for at least scale and the same benefits. Non-union you are middle aged and have to take what you can get. Age discrimination in every trade is very, very real.
Talk to as many old timers as you can, they have seen it and lived it
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