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I have been in the Carpenters Union for 7 years now and have noticed that it gets worse and worse every year work wise. I am getting fed up with lay offs and lack of work. I guess im looking to hear from some guys that have left to work non union and are better off because of consistent work. Or if i should stick it out and hope things get better, just want to get the hell out of my parents basement!
 

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ornamental plasterer
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7 years in the union?? ..... With the union wage?? ... Had to live alone long time ago and not in the basement ...
Sorry...
 

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The union pays better than non. What do you do when you your laid off? If you do side jobs.....how do you think you will do with no security blanket, overhead and your neighbor cutting your price in half becasue hes doing side work.
 

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Remodel
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FWIW, I've known union guys in various construction trades all ,my life, and they pretty much all wound up doing the same thing for some years - they traveled to wherever the work was, and lived there while they worked. Some rented motel rooms, some hauled a travel trailer, some lived in conversion vans.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When im laid off i usually go frame for a guy but the "crew" usually consists of junkies,ex cons,drunks,ect. Basically from what ive seen in the Union is it's not what you know, it's who you know, and im not the ass kissn' type of guy,which is essential in the union. yes pay is good but it dont matter when theres no work. I'm lucky if i work 6 months out of the year here. The union really does brainwash you, but if you're father or brother in law is the BA or Foreman, you're alset. :thumbup:
 

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Make it Personal

To me you have to look at it from your personal perspective. I left a contractor I worked for approx. 5yrs to go into local union. Like a lot of guys thought the grass was greener on the other side. Spent 2yrs in the union, laid off 3mos or so each year. I was lucky enough to keep a good relationship with previous employer, so he actually put me to work when I was laid off. I was putting a ladder on the van when my foreman called me to go back to work. Thanks ,but no thanks.
I ended up back working non-union and can't complain. For me it was less money per hour, but I'm steady with OT,co. van, cell phone, etc. so it balances out I guess. Another factor was having a little more input and the way I was viewed by my employer. In the union your more like a lemming or worker bee.
I do pay an arm and a leg for healthcare and I cringe every time I get my annuity statement from the union. I save for retirement but I'm not sacking away the same kind of coin I was getting from the union. I was also married with a kid so my financial responsibility was probably more than you have living in the basement, so I needed to be steady. If I was 21 I may have stuck it out.
You gotta weigh your pros and cons. I also had a job waiting for me. I place a good amount of value on work environment and I like and respect the guys I work with. They're a good group of the same guys everyday not a rag tag bunch that varies from job to job like some union gigs. Just sharing my personal exp in a similar situation.


Good Luck
 

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Let me share my union experience. I am currently a union carpenter, I was luckily enough to get in with a small company that keeps a small group of guys. We all like each other, and we do our jobs well. For the first few years I jumped around laid off here and there, but you need to find a company that likes you. If you show a hard work ethic, good skills, stay off the damn cell phone, and show up to work on time, you are going to work alot. In the commercial business its all about numbers, and if you are not hitting those numbers your not going to work.
 

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All business is about hitting the numbers and schedules. This it the hierarchy of most jobs. PM, sup, gen foreman, foreman, core crew members, and expendable labor. Everyone's expendable, some more than others. My number one rule is never trust anyone. Most of the people I befriend are outside my trade. They have nothing to gain from backstabbing and could lead to another job contact in the future.
 

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Wish I would have gone non union for a while before getting in at the age of 18, considering about leaving to go none union for a while. Because called every company I could off a paper I was sent and nothing for a apprentice
 
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