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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This maybe in the wrong section to ask this question...but here goes. I used to belong to the UAW local 38 skilled trades in Ann Arbor, MI. In the auto industry...you applied for a job with a company and if they hired you, because they were a union shop, 90 days later(if you did not mes up) you were in the union. It really was that simple. When skilled trades would have an opening...you applied for it and if you got in you started at whatever wage you were making on the assembly line with increases about every six months until you reached parody. Skilled trades always made more than production workers but the incomes were still compatible. You were pretty much a full member of the union after ninety days of work at full pay...simple as that.
Then they started the "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" levels in later years and of course the overall decline of the auto industry in America has destroyed the UAW as a whole.

I have moved to New York and I know nothing about the IBEW but I have learned that the "union" finds you work. Completely different structure than the UAW. Here are my questions...

1.) How does one "get in" the union? Obviously I have no concept on how this is done? I see that you do not just go and apply for a job with a shop that happens to be union.
2.) I have heard these terms "travelers"(white paper)...I think I understand this a little...but how do you "get into this" if the "regular" work is not available?
3.)I am learning that everybody is related to someone and that is not good for me because I have no relatives in the union. So what does an "outsider" do? Are there alternative apprenticeships in New York...or elsewhere?

I feel like a serious fish out of water coming out of the auto industry because I am new to construction as well as the practices of what I would call "real unions".
I even went to the theaters on Broadway after reading credits on television shows and it dawned on me that I was in New York City and I thought I could be an "electrician" at a show. They told me to go to the IASTE union hall and I went there and although they have a classification called "electrician"...they do not have an apprenticeship or minimum requirement for it. Serious nepotism going on there.

I am really lost.

Currently working as a mechanic for a non-union contractor in Brooklyn with no benefits and no hope of getting them. Not a lot of money either by New York City costs of living.

??????????:(

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I am learning that everybody is related to someone and that is not good for me because I have no relatives in the union. So what does an "outsider" do?
I'll tell you this, EXACTLY what you just said almost kept me from applying to the union because I know NOBODY in the union and have no construction/electrical experience at all. I thought I was about to walk down a one way street. When I decided that I was going to give it a shot anyway, I decided I would apply to everyone I saw hiring and pray that I got accepted into one of them. I applied, studied the given materials for the test and relaxed during the interview while being completely honest. It was very intimidating because like Chicago, I am sure you will have quite a few applicants to compete with. I tested with 500 for one test, 1200 for the next test and 1600 for another. Forget about who else is testing and stay confident in yourself and what you know

I am happy to say that I start my apprenticeship on Monday and I have had turn down 2 other locals and let them know I will not be entering their program. I never thought I would have the option to choose between 3 locals and I AM IN NO WAY TRYING TO TOOT MY OWN HORN. I just want to let you know that if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen:thumbsup:

I wish you the best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I decided I would apply to everyone I saw hiring and pray that I got accepted into one of them.
Wow....thank you for your honesty.
Question: when you say you applied to everyone that was hiring...these are union shops?
Because all of the contractors here that are union(according to their secretaries, administrative assistants and other mechanics, journeyman, helpers...you name it...all say...we are local 3...you need to go to the union hall). There is only one electrical local here. There are three plumbing locals though....from what I have gathered.
And of course local 3 says they are not "opening the apprenticeship" until 2009 or later. This is where I started figuring out that I needed to know someone on the other side of the desk, counter, wall or door.

So I should just send a resume or ask for an application at a union shop?

There are a few factories in Long Island City...they are not union from what I can tell...I am not even sure if they have "in-house" maintenance departments. I am going to try applying at some of them next week.

One thing is for sure, I have learned that the IBEW could not care less about any time that I spent with the UAW. I mean not even a smile or handshake as another union worker...even though it is a different union.
 

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Wow....thank you for your honesty.
Question: when you say you applied to everyone that was hiring...these are union shops?
Yes, I applied with the actually Union's not the contractors. If NYC is not accepting applications at this time, maybe one of the surrounding counties are. You may have to drive more than you'd like, but to me it's a small price to pay to establish a career with the IBEW. Here is a link from the IBEW website with information on IBEW locals in NY and there are individual links to obtain more info on each individual local. http://www.ibew.com/members/jobs/US/results.asp?State=NY&Scale=0&LastEdit=1/1/08&LU=
You can also just do a google search to possibly find the website's for the locals around you. Ususally the website for the local will say if they are accepting apps and for what programs, if it doesn't, call them up and ask.

There are quite a few NY guys on here that can hopefully help you more than I can. Don't get discouraged just because NYC is not hiring and if you find a local that is hiring, it wouldn't hurt to apply for more than one program if it is available.
 

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164 is just across the river and we have been putting on apprentices every year. Cost of living is much less here and we make a decent wage/benefit package.
 

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This maybe in the wrong section to ask this question...but here goes. I used to belong to the UAW local 38 skilled trades in Ann Arbor, MI. In the auto industry...you applied for a job with a company and if they hired you, because they were a union shop, 90 days later(if you did not mes up) you were in the union. It really was that simple. When skilled trades would have an opening...you applied for it and if you got in you started at whatever wage you were making on the assembly line with increases about every six months until you reached parody. Skilled trades always made more than production workers but the incomes were still compatible. You were pretty much a full member of the union after ninety days of work at full pay...simple as that.
Then they started the "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" levels in later years and of course the overall decline of the auto industry in America has destroyed the UAW as a whole.

I have moved to New York and I know nothing about the IBEW but I have learned that the "union" finds you work. Completely different structure than the UAW. Here are my questions...

1.) How does one "get in" the union? Obviously I have no concept on how this is done? I see that you do not just go and apply for a job with a shop that happens to be union.
2.) I have heard these terms "travelers"(white paper)...I think I understand this a little...but how do you "get into this" if the "regular" work is not available?
3.)I am learning that everybody is related to someone and that is not good for me because I have no relatives in the union. So what does an "outsider" do? Are there alternative apprenticeships in New York...or elsewhere?

I feel like a serious fish out of water coming out of the auto industry because I am new to construction as well as the practices of what I would call "real unions".
I even went to the theaters on Broadway after reading credits on television shows and it dawned on me that I was in New York City and I thought I could be an "electrician" at a show. They told me to go to the IASTE union hall and I went there and although they have a classification called "electrician"...they do not have an apprenticeship or minimum requirement for it. Serious nepotism going on there.

I am really lost.

Currently working as a mechanic for a non-union contractor in Brooklyn with no benefits and no hope of getting them. Not a lot of money either by New York City costs of living.

??????????:(

Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome...
First, what you know as union is whats commonly referred to a shop union or company union. Manufacturing and construction are 2 very different animals. Local 3 has a small manufacturing division and indeed it worked much in the same way as you describe the UAW. But the construction unions all over the country work very differently than manufacturing unions.

The process by which one joins a union is to first apply, go through the testing, survive the process of elimination, get approved, sworn in, apprentice for the prescribed apprenticeship program, and then after completion you become a journeyman.

The local doesn't so much "find you work" as much as it represents all of the participating contractors and acts as a hiring hall. Although the local unions do try to drum up work on the political front as well as through organizing nonunion companies and their labor.

Travellers are members of other locals within the same umbrella union. There are also travellers who are not members of any union, but they have to sign book 3 or 4 and are not placed if there are any members waiting on book 1 or book 2. As it happens, Local 3 does not employ the book system, it refers only local members, unless a labor shortage surpasses a prescribed formula, in which case the local will refer travelling journeymen refered to Local 3 on a Business agent to business agent recommendation only.

As far as nepotism goes, many years ago Local 3 engaged in the practice, as did every other union in the country worth belonging to. Being the kind of city it is, it was sued and since then (over 20 years) the entire apprenticeship system is administered by an outside, court appointed governing body. Everything the local does is under a microscope. At this point, the local welcomes this oversight because nobody can accuse it of discrimination or nepotism anymore.


Wow....thank you for your honesty.
Question: when you say you applied to everyone that was hiring...these are union shops?
Because all of the contractors here that are union(according to their secretaries, administrative assistants and other mechanics, journeyman, helpers...you name it...all say...we are local 3...you need to go to the union hall). There is only one electrical local here. There are three plumbing locals though....from what I have gathered.
Each of those locals has a different scope and jurisdiction. There used to be about 50 different carpenters unions too.

And of course local 3 says they are not "opening the apprenticeship" until 2009 or later. This is where I started figuring out that I needed to know someone on the other side of the desk, counter, wall or door.
The last testing cycle yielded enough appropriate applicants to feed the classes that started this past winter and again this coming Fall. IOW, as far as 2008 is concerned and probably the 1st classes of 2009, this ship has already sailed.

So I should just send a resume or ask for an application at a union shop?
If you mean a union electrical contractors shop - no. They do not hire helpers or "mechanics" off the street.

There are a few factories in Long Island City...they are not union from what I can tell...I am not even sure if they have "in-house" maintenance departments. I am going to try applying at some of them next week.

One thing is for sure, I have learned that the IBEW could not care less about any time that I spent with the UAW. I mean not even a smile or handshake as another union worker...even though it is a different union.
Chrise, we don't even shake each other's hands, let alone smile at each other... :001_huh:
 

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I second joeyuk, I hear they have years of work in that local and it is only the other side of the river.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Travellers are members of other locals within the same umbrella union. There are also travellers who are not members of any union, but they have to sign book 3 or 4 and are not placed if there are any members waiting on book 1 or book 2. As it happens, Local 3 does not employ the book system, it refers only local members, unless a labor shortage surpasses a prescribed formula, in which case the local will refer travelling journeymen refered to Local 3 on a Business agent to business agent recommendation only.

As far as nepotism goes, many years ago Local 3 engaged in the practice, as did every other union in the country worth belonging to. Being the kind of city it is, it was sued and since then (over 20 years) the entire apprenticeship system is administered by an outside, court appointed governing body. Everything the local does is under a microscope. At this point, the local welcomes this oversight because nobody can accuse it of discrimination or nepotism anymore.
Double wow!

The nepotism I was referring to was what I saw in the Broadway theaters with the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees I.A.T.S.E..

As far as I.B.E.W. local 3...I am a man seeking gainful employment and was unaware of what "every other union in the country worth belonging to" practices.
I did not mean to insinuate Local 3 or even the IATSE was engaging in anything unethical. Skilled Trades in the UAW had a lot of "blood" in the maintenance departments of most of Detroit's and for that matter, most of the Midwest's manufacturing facilities.
I'm not a lawyer nor am I a civil rights activist, I am just looking for better pay, benefits and working conditions and what I said was just an observation.

What I meant about no one smiling or shaking hands was just that it is even hard to find out simple information and I thought that I coming from a union would have experienced more comradery.
I will say though, based on your statement, the UAW was obviously NOT
worth belonging to because they have pretty much died.

I will head over to local 164 next week:thumbsup:

I would like to thank you gentlemen for your assistance


 

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