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  • Which union?

    I would really appreciate any insight as to what each union has to offer a welder (types of jobs/work sites, wages, etc.). I am unsure about all of the differences between Ironworkers, Boilermakers, and Pipefitters when it comes to work for a welder. Appreciate any and all facts, opinions and everything else.

  • #2
    Live Better, Work Union!

    Originally posted by ssmontec86 View Post
    I would really appreciate any insight as to what each union has to offer a welder (types of jobs/work sites, wages, etc.). I am unsure about all of the differences between Ironworkers, Boilermakers, and Pipefitters when it comes to work for a welder. Appreciate any and all facts, opinions and everything else.
    SS: Welcome to the Forum. Are you interested in an apprenticeship in one of the mentioned Trades? Each Trade has specific general job descriptions, with the Boilermakers and Pipefitters having some overlapping "grey" areas.

    What would you like to see yourself doing? Hanging from red iron at 300 feet welding web splices? Building pressure vessels and the subsequent network of piping? Cross country pipeline welding, or maybe a nuclear reactor change out?

    If you live in a major metropolitan area, I urge you to visit each Local Craft, and have the Apprentice Administrator and/or Business Agent explain the programs and what each has to offer.

    If you're not close to any Locals, information is available on line by visiting each Trade's Website. You can then do a search for a local close to your home.

    It would be too lengthly for me to cite the differences betwen the Crafts, but which ever one you choose, will be the right choice. "Live Better, Work Union."

    Hope this helps

    Dave
    "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, I live near locals for all three (Boilermakers, Ironworkers, and Pipefitters). I know more about the Pipefitters than the other two, as my neighbor is in that one. I am looking for an apprenticeship.

      My experience is in ornamental ironwork - I worked for a decorative ironwork company doing every part of the process in making doors/gates/staircases/etc. for high-profile clients. Currently I am paying the bills with an Internet business making motorcycle exhaust and lowering struts.

      I'm looking for info as to the options in each union for a welder. Is one more or less limiting? Are there large wage variances?

      I have been to all three websites but am looking for more about the specific roles welders play in each, and opinions from welders who belong to any of these. The local websites are:

      http://www.sedcironworkers.org/index.htm
      http://boilermakers199.com/
      http://ualocal234.com/

      Thanks for the response, and I welcome more!
      Last edited by ssmontec86; 07-05-2009, 01:43 PM. Reason: update/clarification

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      • #4
        Trade Unions

        Originally posted by ssmontec86 View Post
        Yes, I live near locals for all three (Boilermakers, Ironworkers, and Pipefitters). I know more about the Pipefitters than the other two, as my neighbor is in that one. I am looking for an apprenticeship.

        My experience is in ornamental ironwork - I worked for a decorative ironwork company doing every part of the process in making doors/gates/staircases/etc. for high-profile clients. Currently I am paying the bills with an Internet business making motorcycle exhaust and lowering struts.

        I'm looking for info as to the options in each union for a welder. Is one more or less limiting? Are there large wage variances?

        Thanks for the response, and I welcome more!
        Irownworkers do ornamental work, as well as re-bar and red-iron.

        Pipefitters may give you more latitude, and provide the best opportunity for steady work. Tulsa 798 Pipeliners are under the "umbrella" of UA Pipefitters, Plummers, and HVAC.

        Boilermakers represent toolmakers (Craftsman, Ridgid) as well.

        Pay is dependent on negotiated contract language between the Locals and Signatory Employers, as well as benefits, but due to National Contracts (like the Teamsters), demographics determines some issues.

        Here in Phoenix, UA Pipefitters 469 has an excellent apprentice program, I believe it's either 5 or 6 years, but when done, you're a full fledeged Union Trained, Union Journeyman.

        Good Luck, and keep us posted.

        Dave
        "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

        Comment


        • #5
          Much of the union demand varies by region

          I am an ornamental guy and do not even know of a union ornamental shop or steel fence shop in California. I have heard that some 3 man shops in the north east are union. The Ironworkers union in northern CA also seems to be rather weak and may not be able to provide a steady job.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not Union and do a little of everything.

            Iron worker work is very Dangerouse, Cool when your a kid but as you get older and have a kids it becomes a little less fun, The upside is if you live near a big city you wont be away from home as much as some of the other trades.

            Boiler Makers are excellent welders and have to do alot of working out of town for many months at a time.

            Pipe Fitter welders are also good welders but dont have to work out of town nearly as much as a 798 Pipe liners or Boiler makers.

            798 Pipe liners are like Boiler makers always on the road.

            There are also gas distribution Pipe welders whom get to go home most every night.

            I know guys in all of the trades mentioned above and that is where I compiled my imformation from.

            I'm sure there are some variables to what I said above.

            If you want to have a family and be home with your kids at night you'll want to think hard about what trade you go into.

            I hope some of what I said helps you decide what trade would be best for your life style.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ironworkers

              Hi, As a Journeyman Ironworker, In the first 15-20yrs. I worked in My Home Town ( Hamilton, On. Local 736 ) maybe six weeks in total . I was home every night, but I was Traveling over a Hundred miles Every Day !!

              ............. Norm
              - Arcair- K 4000 CAC.
              - LN - 25
              - Lincoln Ranger 8
              -DeWalt Compressor

              www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I am a Union Boilermaker and I will be the first to tell you to do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions before making any decisions as to what trade you would like to get into.

                As has been said you will be on the road for varying periods of time. Not always but some, maybe quite a bit depending on the area, job demand, jurisdiction (land area size) of local, and membership size of local. I just finished a job 20 miles from the house that lasted for over a year. Before that I was working a lot of nukes and was all over the state on different jobs for anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months. I am finally getting some time off this summer after 3 years of almost nonstop working.

                Money is great and the retirement is also. Most jobs work a lot of O.T. but there are the ones that will only go 40 hrs. which can put a pinch on the wallet if you're out of town and paying for a motel by yourself. Some will go seven 12's and can last for months (the exceptions) but you will be moneyed up by the end of the job, as well as worn out! Usually jobs are somewhere in between hour wise.

                Can you handle being away from home by yourself and manage to stay out of trouble? You won't have a babysitter and you will need to use good judgment. You will still have bills coming due at home and must have someone trustworthy to take care of them for you. If you are married it can take a serious toll on your relationship, especially if you have kids.

                The training is topnotch and lasts 4 years for Boilermakers. You will learn all aspects of boilermaking from building a new boiler to maintaining existing ones and all other phases of construction work and general erektion. Boilermakers work in all kind of conditions and extremes. From hot to cold, from wet to dry, on the ground to maybe a 1000 feet in the air, Boilermakers get a large variety of work and working conditions. You may work in an oil refinery, chemical plant, ethanol refinery, coal fired power house, cement plant or nuclear power plant to name a few.

                Work rules and/or requirements can be very demanding. You will have to have your $hit wired tight to make it at most jobs. Most of the people will be very helpful but there are exceptions. Treat others with respect, do your share of the work and you will get along fine.

                I worked at a "shop" local before getting into the field construction part of the Boilermakers. I am now a third year apprentice with 19 years in the union. I only wish that I had made the move to the construction trade a lot sooner.

                I encourage you to check the Boilermakers and the other trades out and make an informed decision about your future. Remember, the only limitations in life are what you place on yourself. After serving an apprenticeship you will have the skills to work anywhere in your chosen trade!

                Good luck, Bob.
                Flash me! I'm a welder.

                American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                America is a Union

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bob had some good things to say. I have a couple things I'd like to add. I don't know what it's like at other Unions, but here in Alberta (I'm with local 146), apprentices don't do much, if any, welding. You generally have to have a pressure ticket & TIG or alloy tickets to do that. One of the big differences between Boilermakers & Pipefitters is that the Boilermakers work inside the vessel, Pipefitters work outside the vessel. Big decision if you don't like the heat.

                  Jason
                  "When the wise old rooster crows, the smart young rooster listens."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As Jason said if you don't have good welding skills as you go in you will spend a lot of time learning and will be good at the end of your apprenticeship. Each local has their own approach to how much welding you will do. In my local (Local 60) apprentices with weld certs will get plenty of time under the hood. Just part of the training. Pay scale also varies from local to local.

                    Also check out the IBB web sight; http://www.boilermakers.org

                    Bob.

                    P.S.
                    We also like to say that pipefitters would weld boiler tubes if they could figure out a way to roll the boiler.

                    That will probably get a response or two.
                    Flash me! I'm a welder.

                    American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                    America is a Union

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Im currently inroled at ATI Tech. school in Dallas, for the combo welding program. Ive already qualified on the bend test for open root plate 1G-4G Mig, Tig, Fluxcore, and Stick. We just started Stick pipe and blueprints but im picking it up very fast as well. Im the only one in my class with all qualifications offered so far. They have a job placement service at the end of the program, but i was considering the union. I really dont want to travel due to having kids and family life at the moment, but i hear you dont necaserily have to travel to work with the union. Ive got several networks through school, some say the union is the only way to go, others say they would rather find there own jobs. I was wondering if anybody had any advice for me to jump start my career.

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                      • #12
                        "Live Better, Work Union"

                        cg: Absolutely 100% Union! Living in the Dallas/Ft Worth area, as you do, (even Houston), check with UA Pipefitters or Boilermaker's, if you are excelling in pipe, and the Ironworker's and United Steel Workers.

                        Many Union jobs can be "plant" and/or "shop" jobs. There are many maintenace welding jobs in warehouses, dairy processing plants, that are Teamsters, as well as the IBEW with utility companies.

                        Working Union provides you with Health & Welfare Benefits, Pension, contract languge defining work related issues, and grievance & arbitration proceedures, vacations, paid holidays, premium pay, etc.

                        Labor and Trade Unions are needed now more than ever, as membership has declined in the past 20 years.

                        Check with the Locals in your area, as apprenticeship program openings differ by State. Even if you do have to work a non-Union job in the interim, keep knocking on their doors, you'll be so glad you did.

                        As a footnote, concrete and asphalt batch plant operations and maintenance is usually performed by Operating Engineers (grizzlies, crushers, plant set-ups and take downs, etc), so there's another avenue to explore. Shop welding is usually done by Teamster Mechanics/Welders.

                        My pensions with the United Steel Workers, and International Broitherhood of Teamsters are safe and secure.

                        Good luck, keep us posted of your progress.

                        Dave
                        Last edited by davedarragh; 08-14-2009, 03:49 PM.
                        "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          boilermaker pics

                          Originally posted by ssmontec86 View Post
                          I would really appreciate any insight as to what each union has to offer a welder (types of jobs/work sites, wages, etc.). I am unsure about all of the differences between Ironworkers, Boilermakers, and Pipefitters when it comes to work for a welder. Appreciate any and all facts, opinions and everything else.
                          I've heard that in some countries, namely Australia, that the term boilermaker would relate to any heavy metal industry. In north america, the affiliated unions have longstanding agreements amonst themselves as to individual jurisdiction. Very loosely put..... ironworkers do the structural framework and rebar building,....pipefitters do the piping,.... and boilermakers do the boilers/pollution systems as well as storage tanks, dam work, refinery vessel placement and the maintenance for all of the above. Modern times have brought on the non-union/non-affiliated sector which may not distinquish between trades. The following is a good site for boilermaker pictures. Click on the pictures, some have slideshows. Warning that some are long downloads but worth it if you're interested.
                          http://www.boilermakers359.org/pages...mberphotos.htm

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