Electrician Talk banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started my second year in an informal apprenticeship for a small non-union shop in central illinois.

That being said, the company that I work for is a Great place to learn, the owner is an amazing teacher and excellent electrician.

But, I am never going to be paid adequately for the work that we do. Just for perspective I make about 55% of the local union apprentices with comparable work experience.

My stepfather is a long time IBEW electrician, so I am aware of the lifestyle that is led.

So, what are my options for becoming part of the union? Do I simply apply for a regular apprenticeship? Should I apply through some other means? Should I hang tight in my current job, and use my previous experience to my advantage?

Thank you all in advance, I know this may be a loaded question and I have no desire to start nor hear the union/non-union debate. I just want information on my options.

Thanks again
 

·
Banned
I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
Joined
·
33,456 Posts
I don't want to start that debate either, but if you do jump ship you will be going into an enviroment that also features at least equal, if not superior learning opportunity , AND pays better. Nobrainer.
 

·
Mad Skills
Joined
·
5,803 Posts
I just started my second year in an informal apprenticeship ...
What exactly is an "informal" apprenticeship?
More importantly, will this "training" be recognized by the State when, and if, you decide to get your own license?




So, what are my options for becoming part of the union? Do I simply apply for a regular apprenticeship? Should I apply through some other means? Should I hang tight in my current job, and use my previous experience to my advantage?
A formal apprenticeship will always beat an informal apprenticeship.
Apply away.
In 5 years(when you "top out"), if you decide you made a mistake - shelf your card and do what you want to do...if that doesn't pan out, re-activate your card.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,118 Posts
I just started my second year in an informal apprenticeship for a small non-union shop in central illinois.
No you didn't. There is no such thing as an "informal apprenticeship." You are either a bonafide apprentice or you are not.

From your description, you are what is referred to as a helper. You could possibly spend another 10 years working for this guy, and you won't get a single certification. Unless he offers you a position, you may very well never become what you'd classify as an electrician or "journeyman."

If this doesn't appeal to you, you could quit and get a job with another contractor. But then you face "I'll start you at $xx.xx and then I might raise you to $xx.xx if I feel you're worth it. Fringes start when I feel like, if at all."

Take a look around your shop, and count the number of guys who are 48 years old. What is the turnover situation? Do you know what "chew them up and spit them out" means? Ask everyone about their pensions. How are the benefits. How and when do you get raises? Are there any guarantees?

That being said, the company that I work for is a Great place to learn, the owner is an amazing teacher and excellent electrician.

But, I am never going to be paid adequately for the work that we do. Just for perspective I make about 55% of the local union apprentices with comparable work experience.
If you're referring to your actual wage, that's pretty much on target. Now, how much are you earning in fringes? How much is in your IRA or 401k? How is your dental, eyeglass and medical insurance plan? AFAIC, if you don't have any of those, you might as well be delivering pizzas off the books.

My stepfather is a long time IBEW electrician, so I am aware of the lifestyle that is led.

So, what are my options for becoming part of the union? Do I simply apply for a regular apprenticeship?
Yes.

Should I apply through some other means? Should I hang tight in my current job, and use my previous experience to my advantage?

Thank you all in advance, I know this may be a loaded question and I have no desire to start nor hear the union/non-union debate. I just want information on my options.

Thanks again
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Some clarification,

I say informal apprenticeship because we are not sanctioned... However, the owner works with the local community college, and provides us sanctioned credit earning electrical courses. We still have to do 5 years OTJ training with at least 2 of those in a "leadership" positions to qualify to test for a contractors license but these courses are VERY informative, and are 50-50 hands on v.s in the books.

As for health benefits and the one's I have are very expensive out of my pocket...

And, we have a total of 9 guys in the shop, with 13, 9,8,4 years of experience for the crew bosses, and then it goes down to me with 2 years, and couple others that are either "temp's" or just recently hired.

The company just started doing hiring only through a temp service, with the option to hire. Cause we were getting some really shady characters

Anyway thanks for the advice, and I put my app in last Tuesday at the hall
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
I joined the IBEW in 1966 and am now retired
I have worked all of the west coast from nwt to calif. also to Ont and Idaho and all inbetween Never had a problem as long as you have your JW ticket a paid up dues reciept and a letter BA to BA It has been a slice
My advice is go union get proper training get your red seal from the IBEW and NEVER look back
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
If I was you I would def. join the union, I got with a company after trade school that offered no type of apprenticeship, jumped from company to company getting a few more $ here, few here. And now ten years later if I would go IBEW I got to start day one apprentice:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
If I was you I would def. join the union, I got with a company after trade school that offered no type of apprenticeship, jumped from company to company getting a few more $ here, few here. And now ten years later if I would go IBEW I got to start day one apprentice:eek:
Sometimes the union will give you some time off your 5years Mabe acouple of years but must take all schooling But when you are finished it is well worth it
I got my son to do the IBEW app. and when he became a jw he could then do what he wanted and he always has his ticket in his pocket and can always go back to his trade
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Sometimes the union will give you some time off your 5years Mabe acouple of years but must take all schooling But when you are finished it is well worth it
I got my son to do the IBEW app. and when he became a jw he could then do what he wanted and he always has his ticket in his pocket and can always go back to his trade


Might have to look into that... Thanks
 

·
Super Moderator
Licensed Electrical Contractor
Joined
·
11,796 Posts
You're welcome Hans. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I just started my second year in an informal apprenticeship for a small non-union shop in central illinois.

That being said, the company that I work for is a Great place to learn, the owner is an amazing teacher and excellent electrician.

But, I am never going to be paid adequately for the work that we do. Just for perspective I make about 55% of the local union apprentices with comparable work experience.

My stepfather is a long time IBEW electrician, so I am aware of the lifestyle that is led.

So, what are my options for becoming part of the union? Do I simply apply for a regular apprenticeship? Should I apply through some other means? Should I hang tight in my current job, and use my previous experience to my advantage?

Thank you all in advance, I know this may be a loaded question and I have no desire to start nor hear the union/non-union debate. I just want information on my options.

Thanks again
Wow I'm in exactly the same situation as you are, with the exception that I start with an electrical contractor this Monday with no prior experience. I also just moved to Arizona from Decatur,IL. Are you signed up with Local 51? Small world we live in.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top