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Union V.s. Non Union?

 
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Old 01-01-2016, 01:58 PM   #21
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Old 01-01-2016, 02:01 PM   #22
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Originally Posted by mattg2448 View Post
Now you guys are kinda talking larger companies, but what about a 4-5 guy shop? Still worth it?

In some ways, yes, I'm talking about large companies, but we are a large union GC, we have a lot of in house employees that are union doing our self perform, usually for our concrete division.

But to your point, we hire union subcontractors of any size, depending on scope of work. I regularly hire specialty outfits that are under 5 tradespeople on staff. Storefront and glazing outfit, 4 guys. Painting, 8 guys.

But. Regionally, this is a heavily favored union area. So they make it work.

But... Guess what, they could ratchet up their staff at a moments notice if they landed work that needed it. For me as the GC, I need that assurance. I need outfits I can count on to perform. Step one in performance is to have manpower.
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Old 01-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #23
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


I have a buddy who is a small commercial electrical contractor. Has 4 employees. When things were booming he signed on as a signatory contractor. When things hit the fan, he barely had enough work to keep his own guys busy, so he didn't use any union help. the union ended up suing him for wages on jobs that he completed during the time without using union labor. He ended up closing his business and starting a new one under his wifes name.

Personally, I would never do it. I do what I can with what I got. I really do not need the headaches of paperwork and trying to find more work just to keep guys busy. I have worked for Union GC's on private jobs. They treated me pretty good. I did have some instances with some union guys that left a sour taste in my mouth. I was on one job where the union put a lock on a job johnny and said that it was for only union guys. Another instance was a few years ago there was flooding and a local power plant received damage. They brought union contractors in for repairs. The power plant had the local quarry bring in stone so the contractors had a decent place to park. We were hauling some of that stone in as well as some of my friends who were just small guys that had 1 or 2 trucks. The union guys refused to park on non-union stone. The power plant didn't want to ruffle the unions feathers and threw us out and got a union company to bring in the stone.
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Old 01-03-2016, 03:26 PM   #24
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


I dont mind the union so much as I do the mentality of the older guys. Most of them feel like they're entitled to something and that really irks me. Sorry pal nut you're here to work not be handed a free paycheck. That being said I find the younger guys understand that if you dont produce you wont have the work so their a little more eager to get the job done. Like anything else there's good and bad to it. The local operating engineers here was recruiting me pretty heavily for a couple of years but I don't think its for me. I have friends in the hall and they love it but they travel a lot and I like seeing my kid whenever I please. Like I said, pluses and minuses to the union. It's a good way to make a living if you feel its right for your particular situation
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Old 01-03-2016, 03:33 PM   #25
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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I did have some instances with some union guys that left a sour taste in my mouth. I was on one job where the union put a lock on a job johnny and said that it was for only union guys. Another instance was a few years ago there was flooding and a local power plant received damage. They brought union contractors in for repairs. The power plant had the local quarry bring in stone so the contractors had a decent place to park. We were hauling some of that stone in as well as some of my friends who were just small guys that had 1 or 2 trucks. The union guys refused to park on non-union stone. The power plant didn't want to ruffle the unions feathers and threw us out and got a union company to bring in the stone.
That's just childish .
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Old 01-03-2016, 04:40 PM   #26
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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I dont mind the union so much as I do the mentality of the older guys. Most of them feel like they're entitled to something and that really irks me. Sorry pal nut you're here to work not be handed a free paycheck. That being said I find the younger guys understand that if you dont produce you wont have the work so their a little more eager to get the job done. Like anything else there's good and bad to it. The local operating engineers here was recruiting me pretty heavily for a couple of years but I don't think its for me. I have friends in the hall and they love it but they travel a lot and I like seeing my kid whenever I please. Like I said, pluses and minuses to the union. It's a good way to make a living if you feel its right for your particular situation
I have a buddy in the operators engineers. He makes big money, but is never home. He does not have a family, so it is ok for him. I thought about the operators engineers, but money isn't everything. I enjoy being able to get home to watch my kids ball games.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:41 PM   #27
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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I enjoy being able to get home to watch my kids ball games.
Apparently chasing the bride around the house too

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Old 01-04-2016, 06:45 PM   #28
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Old 01-25-2016, 10:27 AM   #29
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Not to hijack the thread, but how do you get so many good guys? Does the pay attract them, do you train them, are you able to train them because the union ladder attracts the right guys? Lots of complaints here about not being able to find good guys so I'm curious...

The Union trains them through a usually 4 year apprenticeship. This includes both school training and on the job training. During your apprenticeship you will be placed on jobs working for contractors but you make a reduced wage. Your wage goes up every 6 months of your apprenticeship until you "turn out" as a journeyman and make full scale pay.

just like anything else what the person gets out of their training is greatly affected by the effort they put in, but the unions provide many opportunities and continued learning once you are a journeyman.

I'm not pro or anti union.... I have been on both sides of the fence and see the benefits to both. What is important to me is that if you put in honest hard work you should be able to put a roof over your head, feed your family, and save some money for when you can no longer work. In the non-union side the illegal 1099 contractors have made it difficult for legit contractors to compete and still pay decent wages and offer benefits.
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Old 01-25-2016, 11:06 AM   #30
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


The problem that I have had with union guys is that they always want to do things THEIR way and they will protest when they can't.

I once had a situation where I had to split off some pairs of a Cat 5 cable on a large commercial office because the previous electrical contractor pulled one cable when there should have been two. So the task at hand was to re-punch and re-crimp every jack location to provide network and phone service over a single Cat 5.

The guy didn't want to do it that way. He gave me 100 reasons why that was "wrong" and how we should do it. Well smart-guy, I didn't screw this up but the owner called me in to fix it and they are paying us very well to avoid being inconvenienced.

The guy didn't make it to the end of the day before walking off the job and saying that this was all bullcrap. He sure taught me a lesson.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:43 PM   #31
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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I have a buddy who is a small commercial electrical contractor. Has 4 employees. When things were booming he signed on as a signatory contractor. When things hit the fan, he barely had enough work to keep his own guys busy, so he didn't use any union help. the union ended up suing him for wages on jobs that he completed during the time without using union labor. He ended up closing his business and starting a new one under his wifes name.
So he had a contract with the union, and chose to work employees non union? Thats known as double breasting. The issue with that is he broke the contract he had with the union. Thats no different than breaking a contract with a customer. To get sued for not fulfilling the terms is no different either way.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:55 PM   #32
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Now you guys are kinda talking larger companies, but what about a 4-5 guy shop? Still worth it?
324 has changed since I left in some ways. They are supposed to be a hiring hall. That means when a member is out of work, they hit the list, and are sent to a contractor that calls them out. How will it benefit you as a small contractor? You are able to add to your work force at the drop of a hat. You can call up for an excavator operator, or gps dozer hand, or any other machine where you need to fill the seat. You will get someone qualified for the job and should hit the ground running. If they are not what you called for, send them back to the hall. There is a perception that a union operator can't be fired, but ill tell you, I can be canned for any reason. Make sure when you call for the next one to tell the dispatcher the one they sent you was worthless.

Your office paperwork should be simplified. You won't have to offer health insurance or other benefits. This will be handled in their contract. You take care of your normal payroll, and tax stuff. Also of note, there will be a few different contract rates in your area. Heavy highway, a building agreement, and you can probably negotiate a residential agreement. Your all work off the same contract, fulfill your end of the agreement, theres nothing to argue with the employees over. Finish a job, need less stuff, thanks for your help, I'm out of work, see you later. In general, you will have call back right, and can get the same guys back if they are not working elsewhere.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:05 PM   #33
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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The Union trains them through a usually 4 year apprenticeship. This includes both school training and on the job training. During your apprenticeship you will be placed on jobs working for contractors but you make a reduced wage. Your wage goes up every 6 months of your apprenticeship until you "turn out" as a journeyman and make full scale pay.

just like anything else what the person gets out of their training is greatly affected by the effort they put in, but the unions provide many opportunities and continued learning once you are a journeyman.

I'm not pro or anti union.... I have been on both sides of the fence and see the benefits to both. What is important to me is that if you put in honest hard work you should be able to put a roof over your head, feed your family, and save some money for when you can no longer work. In the non-union side the illegal 1099 contractors have made it difficult for legit contractors to compete and still pay decent wages and offer benefits.
Is there any shortened apprentice programs you are aware of? For example..if I was to say screw it, I just want to work. Do I have any way to cut thay time in half based on my verifiable experience? Just wondering haven't actually considered it
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Old 01-30-2016, 04:20 PM   #34
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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So he had a contract with the union, and chose to work employees non union? Thats known as double breasting. The issue with that is he broke the contract he had with the union. Thats no different than breaking a contract with a customer. To get sued for not fulfilling the terms is no different either way.
Not exactly sure on the contract or terms. He is a non-union contractor that most of his work is private, non-prevailing wage jobs. He had full time employees and could not keep up so he signed on as a signatory for additional help when needed. When things tanked he barely had enough work to keep his regular full-time guys busy so he didn't need the additional help.

Union came back after him for wages on jobs that he completed while not using any union help. I can't blame the guy, when you have hardly any work for your regular guys, you can't afford to bring in union help and pay them to stand around.
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Old 01-31-2016, 08:17 AM   #35
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Is there any shortened apprentice programs you are aware of? For example..if I was to say screw it, I just want to work. Do I have any way to cut thay time in half based on my verifiable experience? Just wondering haven't actually considered it
If you have been in the specific trade for any amount of time, chances are you would be able to "buy your book, buy your card" etc. So chances are, you would be able to start out as a full journeyman if you have done the work. Just be sure you don't up sell your skills to a contractor. I don't know of any carpenters halls that are a hiring hall, so you would still find your own work. That said, Im also not sure what the carpenters union would have available for training.
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Old 01-31-2016, 06:54 PM   #36
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


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Is there any shortened apprentice programs you are aware of? For example..if I was to say screw it, I just want to work. Do I have any way to cut thay time in half based on my verifiable experience? Just wondering haven't actually considered it
I know with bricklayers you can "test in" a couple times a year by building a wall. They rate your skills and tell you where your are at apprentice wise if you have been working non union and buy your card that way
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Old 01-31-2016, 10:10 PM   #37
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.... He had full time employees and could not keep up so he signed on as a signatory for additional help when needed. .....
I have never heard of that sort of setup.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:23 PM   #38
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I have never heard of that sort of setup.
Thats a good thing about being union is if you have a large job and need help you call the office and they send you however journeyman you need. Obviously they have been through the training so they should know what they are doing. If you dont like them you send them back and tell the union to send you different guys. After the job tell them thanks for the help and ill call you when i need you again
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Old 02-01-2016, 06:14 PM   #39
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Re: Union V.s. Non Union?


This is what I have ran into. If you do a mix of private work and public work it doesn't work. The labor rate for private work is less so if you bid the work at rate pay you will be high.
Public work is rate pay to your guys or hall guys.
How do you do both and keep your non union help? Can not do both.

I just pay my help rate when we do rate. They love it and I keep my people working. Hard to tell them sorry have to have guys from the hall do this job
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Old 02-01-2016, 09:39 PM   #40
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This is what I have ran into. If you do a mix of private work and public work it doesn't work. The labor rate for private work is less so if you bid the work at rate pay you will be high.
Public work is rate pay to your guys or hall guys.
How do you do both and keep your non union help? Can not do both.

I just pay my help rate when we do rate. They love it and I keep my people working. Hard to tell them sorry have to have guys from the hall do this job
If you are union you are union, only way you can mix it would be to have 2 seperated companies with 2 seperate owners 2 seperate trucks etc. most of the agreements let the union audit your books and prevent you from owning a seperate company that performes any work that is protected. I dont even think that you can hire non union subs. Of course every agreement between contractor and union is different so you have to know what is permissible and what is not

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