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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wondering myself is joining an Union is worth it.

I moved from Philadelphia down to New Orleans, and despite the city atmosphere, I tend to feel the general southern attitude as against the Union. I felt the same sentiment out in Lawton, Oklahoma as well.

So far I've been deterred to joining a Union, but it sounds like whatever the Union has to offer has got to be better than what I have now.

I'm new to the electric field. I took a building maintenance class in Philadelphia which only covered basic circuits and theory. I'm currently working with a non-Union company who's owner used to be Union. As a helper I'm being paid 10.00 an hour. The only benefits are that after 90 days they would pay for half of my personal insurance, which I couldn't afford anyway.

I live fairly frugally, I even bought a bicycle to get around locally, and only use my car for long trips and getting to work. I drive an 87 Accord, which as old as it is, is a gas sipper (averaged 31 mpg last time I clocked it).

10 bucks just ain't cutting it. My savings are starting to dwindle.

Not only that, but I don't feel like I'm learning as much as I could be. One of the guys I was helpin' told me he had me doing some of the work incorrectly, but didn't care because he wanted to go home.

I've been told I won't learn as quickly in the Union, but even if I learned slower but got paid more, I'd definitely be able to deal with that.

Really, is there any reason not to join the Union?
 

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There are three basic reasons to not join the union in a given locale.

1) The merit shop pay and benefits are comparable or better.
2) There isn't any (or much) actual union shop jobs to work on.
3) The union won't let you in.
 

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There are three basic reasons to not join the union in a given locale.

1) The merit shop pay and benefits are comparable or better.
2) There isn't any (or much) actual union shop jobs to work on.
3) The union won't let you in.

Sounds about right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess I'll just have to contact the local Union and talk to some guys. It's New Orleans, so there's plenty of work. Then again, I've heard talk that things are beginning to slow down in the commercial area...

I've also heard that a person needs to be willing to move around the country for work. Is this true?
 

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I guess I'll just have to contact the local Union and talk to some guys. It's New Orleans, so there's plenty of work. Then again, I've heard talk that things are beginning to slow down in the commercial area...

I've also heard that a person needs to be willing to move around the country for work. Is this true?

No, it isn't. There should be years of work right there.
 

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shop yourself around

hey man this is new orleans and we still have a shortage of labor , if you are a good employee and you come to work everyday their is plenty of open shops that will hire you for a couple bucks more an hour, but the hall is good here and imo if you are a young person ie 19-25 you will do better in the hall -good luck and riding a bicycle is good for the environment - i ride everyday
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hey man this is new orleans and we still have a shortage of labor , if you are a good employee and you come to work everyday their is plenty of open shops that will hire you for a couple bucks more an hour, but the hall is good here and imo if you are a young person ie 19-25 you will do better in the hall -good luck and riding a bicycle is good for the environment - i ride everyday
Thanks for the input.

I've not missed a day in the 2 months I've been working so far, nor do I intend to in the future. I've gotten to work everyday on time, and if I even think I might be running a little late, I call the foreman and let him know.

I was thinking that relative to my age, a Union may be better. Just seems like all the old heads I talk to got tired of the Union and that's why they've moved on.
 

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I was thinking that relative to my age, a Union may be better. Just seems like all the old heads I talk to got tired of the Union and that's why they've moved on.
Once you have your hours in and whatever apprentice schooling you can get SOMEONE ELSE to pay for then you can move on too. But when you move on do it from a position of power by having that experience and knowledge.
 

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Frasbee the reason you need to be in a Union and stay is because when you are 50 something almost 60 something you will need a retirement. You don't think about that now, but some day you will. It will be important to you then. The health benefits alone are worth staying for. Good luck Thomp
 

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The stereotype fits, because it is true.

If all you do is throw out a couple hundred miles of romex for the year,
you're probably a non-union electrician.

After 6 months of roughing in homes and apartments, about any Joe Sparky is ready to go into business for himself.

What I'm really trying to say is: we do alot of Type I construction and you do alot of Type V construction. Apples to oranges.
 

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The stereotype fits, because it is true.

If all you do is throw out a couple hundred miles of romex for the year,
you're probably a non-union electrician.
Yes, this stereotype is true. Most union guys do not do much residential.




After 6 months of roughing in homes and apartments, about any Joe Sparky is ready to go into business for himself.
This stereotype is a joke and is pretty arrogant.
 

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You guys can laugh it up all you want.

We'll see whose laughing when its time to retire.

God forbid we see whose laughing when a really serious health issue comes along and I've got the superior benefits. And Yes, I work throughout the year.
I've seen guys work through chemotherapy. Does HealthNet cover that??
What does that $110 bucks a week that comes out of your check for health benefits really get for you when you need it?
 

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I am non-union. When I was a first and second year apprentice I worked for a union shop and did very light commercial jobs and a little residential. Now I work for a non union shop and do nothing but very large industrial work. Last year over 1/3 of our work was for a few different Weyerhauser plants. They pay 100% of my medical premiums and I pay a very small co-pay. I get profit sharing, a vehicle which I am allowed to use for all of my around town personal driving, and a 401k. I think I am treated very well.

I am not saying anything bad about unions. My father is a union lineman and very happy. I am just merely pointing out that non union shops don't always wire houses and strip malls. Union is a very good way to go...but it is definitely not the only way.

Frasbee- Union would be a very good choice for you. You will get good benefits and better pay, but don't think that all non union shops pay next to nothing and do poor work just so they can go home sooner. This is most definitely not the case.....
 
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