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Old 02-26-2016, 11:38 AM   #21
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Ninjanick - It sounds to me like you know everything that's bad and negative about being union. Guess where all that info is coming from? Your foreman is making `16 an hour - does he have a full family medical benefits package and a pension and 401k plan?

Back in 1986 I was making 16.90 an hour as a residential wireman. Nonunion I was lucky to get 6.00 an hour for the same work.

The IBEW's CE/CW program is used so that IBEW contractors can compete with the nonunion sector on what is basically considered small work- generally "A" journeymen run the work while the CE/CWs do the installing. I don't know what you're making now nor what the CE/CW rate in your local is, but generally the package is designed to be a better deal than what's offered in the nonunion sector.



You say you have a year and a half experience and that your boss is talking about you running work in a year - here's a bit of advice: For the 1 or 2 bucks an hour your boss is going to pay you, you should tell him to GFY. If you're running work, you should be making a living wage. I don't know what the cost of living is in your area or where in "western NY" you are - but here in NYC the wage is $54.00 an hour.



You're young and just starting out in your career. Do not allow yourself to be used and taken advantage of so that you get to be the boss. 2 & 1/2 years experience doesn't begin to come close to getting the knowledge and experience necessary to become a valuable asset to a real shop.

And I'm currently making 12.00 hour .. 401k plan and health insurance is there if I wanted it, not full family plan . I see what your saying there . I just I'm worried il be a cw for a long time .. With layoffs along that journey . I'm a very hard worker. So if a guy who is also a cw is doing worse than me gets the same raise when raise comes around .. Cw starting with no expirence make 9.00 hour. They told me I would be making 11.00 hour with the hours and expirence I have. I just feel like this is a hard decision to make and don't know what to do . I'm leaning towards the CW program but just worried it won't work out... Once you go Union it's hard to go back non Union ... That's if it doesn't work out
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:05 PM   #22
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As I asked earlier, what Local? CE/CW's in Rochester and Buffalo are constantly working. Who told you they get laid-off a lot? Your foreman? Our guys get health insurance as well as some other benefits and training. The program is employer discretionary, meaning that if you are working circles around another guy at the same or higher classification as yourself, you will remain employed. Our shops are increasingly picking their Apprentices from this program, as it is an excellent way for them to "try before they buy" their Apprentice candidates. A full Apprenticeship is a lot of money laid out by an Employer and guys that can demonstrate their knowledge and abilities before getting sworn in get in sooner. We have 2 pensions (local and national) and an annuity as well. Platinum grade employer paid health insurance as well, my out of pocket expenses for last year were $150 total on medical expenses for my Wife north of $45k. Your Foreman makes $16 an hour, 2nd year Apprentice wage, before his deductions for 401k and probably a severely high-deductible, lame health insurance policy.
You can't expect to get correct, honest facts about the IBEW from someone who is not a member, especially your boss/employer.
My only regret is drinking too much Kool-Aid and not joining sooner.

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Old 02-26-2016, 02:59 PM   #23
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Im a jw fresh out of the apprenticeship. Here in Az there is no comparison....talked to a older guy at the supply house a few weeks back. We were talking about how busy it was for january. He asked how much i made so i told him 27 an hr...i just turned jw. His jaw dropped and he said wow i've been doing this 27 years, run work as a foreman and u make more than i do....i almost felt bad for him.
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:14 PM   #24
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No offense but I think your current employer is taking advantage of you. Seeing that you only make $12/hr of course he is favorable of the idea of you running jobs. He is paying you pennies. With your foreman only making $16/hr I am confused as to why you think there is much of a future with this contractor (10 years from now you just might be making $22/hr lol, just breaking your balls, don't get offended).

I will admit the CW/CE program is hit or miss among our members. Some journeymen hate it because they feel it is taking work away from them. But then again it give contractors and the hall a chance to see a man's worth before giving him a spot in our apprenticeship. If you intend to be a part of the apprenticeship in the future I recommend taking the position and busting your ass to show that you want into the actual apprenticeship. If you tell them you want to pass on the CW gig but call you if they have an apprenticeship spot open it is probably safe to say they will never call you (I wouldn't. Just being honest.). Like someone said earlier in this thread, there are guys that apply for years to get in.

In all seriousness take you time and figure out what will work best for you and your situation. Think about what will work best in the long run and not the immediate. Hopefully this helps. Good luck!!!
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:36 PM   #25
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"Some journeymen hate it because they feel it is taking work away from them."

I hear that one a lot. But, the fact is that the IBEW is getting private sector jobs that we would have never gotten in the past due to our JW labor rate. We get Big Box store jobs now by using CE/CW labor on them. CE/CW's aren't allowed on Public Sector prevailing rate jobs in our jurisdiction. JW's aren't losing work to these guys, but the private sector non-union shops sure as hell are.
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:41 PM   #26
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What position are you with your local now? Did you go threw the apprentice program? What if I can't make it threw that program?
There's basically 4 positions- Apprentice, Journeyman, sub-foreman and general foreman.

As a sub-foreman, at minimum I get the rate of 54.00 plus $4.00 over scale plus 1/2 hour of daily pay beyond actual hours worked.

Anybody who WANTS to make it through an apprenticeship program does. If you question whether you could make it through then why don't you question how you're going to understand and learn the trade in a nonunion shop where there is no formal classroom and theoretical training at all?
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:42 PM   #27
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As I asked earlier, what Local? CE/CW's in Rochester and Buffalo are constantly working. Who told you they get laid-off a lot? Your foreman? Our guys get health insurance as well as some other benefits and training. The program is employer discretionary, meaning that if you are working circles around another guy at the same or higher classification as yourself, you will remain employed. Our shops are increasingly picking their Apprentices from this program, as it is an excellent way for them to "try before they buy" their Apprentice candidates. A full Apprenticeship is a lot of money laid out by an Employer and guys that can demonstrate their knowledge and abilities before getting sworn in get in sooner. We have 2 pensions (local and national) and an annuity as well. Platinum grade employer paid health insurance as well, my out of pocket expenses for last year were $150 total on medical expenses for my Wife north of $45k. Your Foreman makes $16 an hour, 2nd year Apprentice wage, before his deductions for 401k and probably a severely high-deductible, lame health insurance policy.
You can't expect to get correct, honest facts about the IBEW from someone who is not a member, especially your boss/employer.
My only regret is drinking too much Kool-Aid and not joining sooner.

http://ibewlu86.org/

http://www.ibewlocal41.com/
Sorry . Local 41 is the union hall I'm referring too . My buddy is actually a cw1 in local 41 and has got laid off 2 times . Once was his choice and that was a week. The 2nd time wasn't his choice and it was 3 days ... I would be working at the blue Cross blue shield building downtown buffalo.. A co worker who was in the hall has bad things to say about it as well but I really don't listen to him because that was 18 years ago.. So you think it would be wise to join the local 41 as a cw. The union rep told me that once I hit 4,000 hours my pay increases to 13.00 but I don't understand because 1st year apprentice make 12.65?
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Old 02-26-2016, 05:57 PM   #28
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And I'm currently making 12.00 hour .. 401k plan and health insurance is there if I wanted it, not full family plan . I see what your saying there .
I take it that means if you want to participate in the 401k plan and have medical benefits YOU have to pay for them - here's a tip: If somebody makes YOU pay for something it isn't a benefit.

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I just I'm worried il be a cw for a long time .. With layoffs along that journey . I'm a very hard worker.
From what I know, everyone working nonunion is a very hard worker, otherwise shown the door. Another thing I know - there is a tradeoff that occurs in the nonunion sector because generally getting good workers isn't easy when there is a need - you constantly work for substandard wages so your boss can afford to hang onto you when work is slow and the full crew isn't really needed.

As a nonunion electrician you'll be nonunion forever. I'd rather make an excellent wage 10 months a year and have full medical (incl. family) and a pension and a 401k plan than work for peanuts all year long and still not make what a union electrician does. You could start out in the CE/CW program and put your papers in to join the apprenticeship - so that when the program opens you're right there.

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So if a guy who is also a cw is doing worse than me gets the same raise when raise comes around ..
Don't get hung up on who gets paid what or that someone whose skill set is inferior to yours might get the same pay as you - focus more on the fact that with the IBEW you will be making more than you ever could nonunion.
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Cw starting with no expirence make 9.00 hour. They told me I would be making 11.00 hour with the hours and expirence I have. I just feel like this is a hard decision to make and don't know what to do . I'm leaning towards the CW program but just worried it won't work out... Once you go Union it's hard to go back non Union ... That's if it doesn't work out
I can assure you - the few people I know who left the IBEW did far better for themselves nonunion than they ever could if they didn't have the union experience.
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:14 PM   #29
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I am not getting offended at all by anyone's comments. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has put their .2 cents in. But I just want to share a little about my company . We had big jobs were the union workers were a little mad . 2 big jobs in a row actually. When those 2 jobs were finished we got rid of the lazy people of the company and now we're just sitting around the shop now (5 of us ) me being paid the most under my Forman and the supervisor who is making around 22 hour? I think??. Anyways we are Organizing parts . Painting, cleaning the carpets. Building new shelves . Pretty much alot of sitting around but get our 40 hours in . I mean we do have little jobs but nothing to big . Anyways health insurance is 50 bucks a week. 401k plan that matches up to 3% (so I have 6% invested into the plan) I don't need health insurance until I'm 26 so that's a plus with the CW program not offering it .. No pension . Paid 5 day vacation . Goes up after each year , raises every year. Does the CW program offer schooling? I wasn't clear on that part. I was looking into going to school real bad . I'm actually thinking of taking the chance with the Union after reading a lot of what you people have said . You got to take chances to go places I guess
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Old 02-26-2016, 06:51 PM   #30
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Sorry . Local 41 is the union hall I'm referring too . My buddy is actually a cw1 in local 41 and has got laid off 2 times . Once was his choice and that was a week. The 2nd time wasn't his choice and it was 3 days ...
Layoffs have a much deeper and signifigant meaning in your nonunion world - it means you gotta go pound the pavement looking for work - re-prove yourself to a new employer, quite likely start at a lower rate of pay - and it typically happens when there are few or no other jobs to be had dud to the economy or the season.

The IBEW works it different - when employees aren't needed they're laid off - it's common and typical. The laid off employees sign the book and are referred to new jobs as the calls for manpower come into the hall. In our world, layoff is payoff, and vacation. I don't know if your local has an unemployment fund, mine does.

Who gets laid off and when is entirely up to the shop and foreman. If you're better than most typically you'll last longer than most.

Understand that construction is a layoff industry. For sure you don't expect all backhoe operators to be working all throughout the winter - and the industry itself is cyclical - there are boom times when you can work yourself to death and there are bust times where jobs are scarce and many lose all hope.

The point is to understand that getting laid off in the IBEW isn't the stigmatic scarlet letter that getting laid off in a nonunion environment is.
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I would be working at the blue Cross blue shield building downtown buffalo.. A co worker who was in the hall has bad things to say about it as well but I really don't listen to him because that was 18 years ago..
18 years ago there was no CE/CW program.

Here are some of the things nonunion company owners keep telling their employees to prevent them from leaving and seeking to better themselves. Keep in mind also that the better and more attractive you are to the boss, the more brainwashing you're going to endure.

-You'll get paid the same as people who aren't 1/2 as good as you.
-You'll make less when you consider all the layoff time.
-You have to pay to work - union dues.
-You'll hardly ever work because of seniority.
-Union guys are lazy and don't do nothing all day.

When I was young, dumb and full of cXX I couldn't help but notice all the nice, newer cars and trucks with IBEW stickers on them. I was also aware of a couple of IBEW members who owned nice homes with built-in pools. I was still to ignorant and young to give a crap about pensions and medical benefits, other than the fact that no nonunion employer offers any of it. I knew of no nonunion electrician who owned a nice house or a decent car - except for the boss of course.

The way I see it, working nonunion is a job - joining the IBEW is a career if your intent is to be an electrician for your entire life.
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So you think it would be wise to join the local 41 as a cw. The union rep told me that once I hit 4,000 hours my pay increases to 13.00 but I don't understand because 1st year apprentice make 12.65?
I don't want you to take this personally, but there is no comparison between an A apprentice who is also undergoing ongoing theoretical training and on the job training with a CE/CW whose only purpose or position is "installer."

The CE/CW is entirely a competitive market driven program whose sole purpose is to effectively compete for smaller work that IBEW contractors have historically lost trying to compete with the much lower wages and lack of fringes that nonunion contractors. Small, straightfoward work like retail storefronts and tenant build outs are being lost to the nonunion sector because at a-journeyman rate, we're shut out price wise and regulated to the larger more extreme heavy construction that nonunion contractors are not equipped to handle because they're too small. The CE/CW program was designed to win back some of that work.
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Old 02-26-2016, 07:15 PM   #31
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I am not getting offended at all by anyone's comments. I just want to say thank you to everyone who has put their .2 cents in. But I just want to share a little about my company . We had big jobs were the union workers were a little mad . 2 big jobs in a row actually.
Often when union and nonunion work side by side there is friction. If you want to understand why - imagine your brother is an unemployed carpenter, and on your jobsite you know the carpenters are all illegal Mexicans working for 1/2 the normal rates. How would you feel about them? That's the union member's "beef."

When I work alongside nonunion workers I'm not like that - not all of us are. I worked nonunion myself - And being a worker I realize and understand that given the opportunity any one of those guys would jump at the chance of being union if they could.

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When those 2 jobs were finished we got rid of the lazy people of the company and now we're just sitting around the shop now (5 of us )
This is another thing about nonunion shops - they lay people off when it gets slow and immediately villify those who got the axe. Tell me, if they were such lazy slugs why didn't the boss cut them loose when they were busy - fact is they're only stigmatizing your ex-co-workers to make you feel better and more secure, and give you a sense that they had it coming - in truth you or one of your remaining co-workers would have been on that hit list too if future job prospects weren't in the works.

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me being paid the most under my Forman and the supervisor who is making around 22 hour? I think??. Anyways we are Organizing parts . Painting, cleaning the carpets. Building new shelves . Pretty much alot of sitting around but get our 40 hours in . I mean we do have little jobs but nothing to big.
You have to realize the only way your boss can keep paying you for not doing anything thats bringing income in is because he's not paying you what your worth when you are doing productive work.

In the IBEW, I'll use my local's wage rate as an example - a journeyman gets 54.00 an hour on the check. Our medical and pension benefits are paid on an hour by hour basis - the contractor pays his portion of social security like yours, federal tax, etc... All together as a package for a regular journeyman my boss has to pay out over $122.00 for each and every hour a journeyman works.

No IBEW contractor is going to pay his men to fix shelves and clean carpets just to keep them around for the next job - when the billable work hours are done it's done and back to the hall you go. Of course, If he could get away with paying us 16.00 an hour with hardly any comparable carrying costs beyond that, he could afford to do what your boss does.

Just want you to realize you're not being kept for altruistic reasons- you're being kept because you're worth way more than your getting and your boss doesn't want you working for the competition. So he's making an investment in himself, not you.

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Anyways health insurance is 50 bucks a week. 401k plan that matches up to 3% (so I have 6% invested into the plan) I don't need health insurance until I'm 26 so that's a plus with the CW program not offering it .. No pension . Paid 5 day vacation . Goes up after each year , raises every year. Does the CW program offer schooling? I wasn't clear on that part. I was looking into going to school real bad . I'm actually thinking of taking the chance with the Union after reading a lot of what you people have said . You got to take chances to go places I guess
AFAIK, there's no schooling in the CE/CW program but it's possible that you can sign up for particular courses that your local offers like motor controls, pipe bending, high voltage or fiber optic splicing, you really need to ask your business representative that.

I'm not even going to get into what kind and quality of health insurance you'd be getting for 50 bucks a week.
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Old 02-26-2016, 08:33 PM   #32
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Every local handles the program different. I imagine the locals that had the program mandated by the IO, don't accept it the way locals that had a residential, small works division in place. Our local has always had a B program. Because of that we only take in half the amount of A apprentices that other locals take in. The other half come in as B (CE). With s few that come in as B apprentices (CW).

No mater how you do it everyone goes through the same JATC school. It is just on different nights. If you have 5 years experience you could come in as B (CE). You would get paid B rate which is always 50% of A rate. Right now that would be $23.00 an hour. You would do your first two years of school at night, and then continue to work at B rate for 3 more years. During all that time you could run work and get paid 10% over B rate as a Forman. Your employer could pay you anything they want over rate. Some do, so that you won't want to continue on to A.

When you do go on to A, you go back to school at night and finish the last 3 years as an A apprentice on A jobs.

I went through the B program. Started the end of '88. I already had 5 years in the trade. Started at $11.54 an hour ringing doorbells (jobbing). The employer I was working for was paying me $9.00 to do industrial. 28 years later I am still with the same contractor the hall originally sent me to.

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Old 02-26-2016, 08:42 PM   #33
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Often when union and nonunion work side by side there is friction. If you want to understand why - imagine your brother is an unemployed carpenter, and on your jobsite you know the carpenters are all illegal Mexicans working for 1/2 the normal rates. How would you feel about them? That's the union member's "beef."

When I work alongside nonunion workers I'm not like that - not all of us are. I worked nonunion myself - And being a worker I realize and understand that given the opportunity any one of those guys would jump at the chance of being union if they could.



This is another thing about nonunion shops - they lay people off when it gets slow and immediately villify those who got the axe. Tell me, if they were such lazy slugs why didn't the boss cut them loose when they were busy - fact is they're only stigmatizing your ex-co-workers to make you feel better and more secure, and give you a sense that they had it coming - in truth you or one of your remaining co-workers would have been on that hit list too if future job prospects weren't in the works.



You have to realize the only way your boss can keep paying you for not doing anything thats bringing income in is because he's not paying you what your worth when you are doing productive work.

In the IBEW, I'll use my local's wage rate as an example - a journeyman gets 54.00 an hour on the check. Our medical and pension benefits are paid on an hour by hour basis - the contractor pays his portion of social security like yours, federal tax, etc... All together as a package for a regular journeyman my boss has to pay out over $122.00 for each and every hour a journeyman works.

No IBEW contractor is going to pay his men to fix shelves and clean carpets just to keep them around for the next job - when the billable work hours are done it's done and back to the hall you go. Of course, If he could get away with paying us 16.00 an hour with hardly any comparable carrying costs beyond that, he could afford to do what your boss does.

Just want you to realize you're not being kept for altruistic reasons- you're being kept because you're worth way more than your getting and your boss doesn't want you working for the competition. So he's making an investment in himself, not you.



AFAIK, there's no schooling in the CE/CW program but it's possible that you can sign up for particular courses that your local offers like motor controls, pipe bending, high voltage or fiber optic splicing, you really need to ask your business representative that.

I'm not even going to get into what kind and quality of health insurance you'd be getting for 50 bucks a week.



Damn you went in on this! Thanks! Very informative . What do union dues pay for . My buddy told me he pays 100.00 every 3 months.. Not too bad .. And that exactly what my boss told me" your paying to work" lol. I think I gotta man up and just take a chance with it. I think I'm more nervous of change in my life. I am 100% looking at my future and like you said . Nonunion =just a job. Union= career. I can't wait to tell my boss Monday that I made up mind and I'm going. And I'm going to explain why . Because earlier this week I really didn't have much to come back with . I lost that battle and that's when they really got to my head . I started 2nd guessing but I'm glad I ask this on here because I got the Union side. Most of the time it seems like if your in the Union your were also probably at one point working non Union... I mean I can say the opp. For the nonunion, some have left the hall but less then who went Union. Thanks guys! Il let everyone know a update
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:58 AM   #34
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Do it. You won't regret it.

LU 41:
  • Journeyman Scale: $34.14
  • Health & Welfare: $11.10
  • Pension: $8.00
  • Annuity: $3.25
  • Vacation: 7% (deducted from gross wages)
  • Working Assessments: 3%
Take home net pay: around $1000 a week.




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Old 02-27-2016, 08:29 AM   #35
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Damn you went in on this! Thanks! Very informative . What do union dues pay for . My buddy told me he pays 100.00 every 3 months.. Not too bad .. And that exactly what my boss told me" your paying to work" lol. I think I gotta man up and just take a chance with it. I think I'm more nervous of change in my life.
For most guys, the chance to go union is a no brainer. For others, they're hesitant not just because changing jobs can be nerve-wracking, but because they've been hammered by their bosses about how bad unions are.

Here's a tip - take a look at all the nonunion work crews you see- do you see any 40 - 45 year old homeowners? Not likely - usually it's all kids under 30 who havent figured out that by the time they're nearing the top of their game, the boss will refuse to pay you a decent wage, the benefits pension etc (if promised or alluded to) never come through, and some 22 year old kid is ready and willing to take your job for 1/2 what your getting.

Your dues pay for all the people who work in your union hall - they get salaries and pensions and medical benifits too. The hall has a mortgage or rent and property taxes to pay. Often there's an in house legal team or at least outside council on retainer - because unions get sued a lot.

Unions are your agent - just like actors have. But they get 10-20%.

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I am 100% looking at my future and like you said . Nonunion =just a job. Union= career. I can't wait to tell my boss Monday that I made up mind and I'm going. And I'm going to explain why . Because earlier this week I really didn't have much to come back with . I lost that battle and that's when they really got to my head . I started 2nd guessing but I'm glad I ask this on here because I got the Union side. Most of the time it seems like if your in the Union your were also probably at one point working non Union... I mean I can say the opp. For the nonunion, some have left the hall but less then who went Union. Thanks guys! Il let everyone know a update
Here's a tip: don't burn your bridges. Ever. There's no reason to leave on bad terms. Remember, the economic climate and business model your boss is playing under wasn't written by him - that's just the way it is in the nonunion sector. Just accept the union offer and tell your boss it's time for you to move on. Be a gentleman about it.
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:40 AM   #36
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:50 AM   #37
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Here's a tip: don't burn your bridges. Ever. There's no reason to leave on bad terms. Remember, the economic climate and business model your boss is playing under wasn't written by him - that's just the way it is in the nonunion sector. Just accept the union offer and tell your boss it's time for you to move on. Be a gentleman about it.[/QUOTE]

I most defiantly never burn any bridges , my bosses really like me as a person and as a worker . I was there goto guy under the formen. I was the one working with 2inch conduit all way up to 4inch. Working 65-70 hours last summer to finish a job that was rushed. Running 4inch over 1000ft. There going to miss me and I bet this is a main reason they want me to stay , and I respect that , if they think I'm a good worker I shouldn't have a problem working Union and proving myself !
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:51 AM   #38
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Yes!!! Go bills!!! Lol is that Ferguson who works at the Ralph? Another cool thing I thought of is that the union gets a big name building and companies . I wouldn't mind working in the Ralph
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