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Thread: Which union?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Default 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. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Live Better, Work Union!

    Quote 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"

  3. #3
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    Jul 2009
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    Default

    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 at 01:43 PM. Reason: update/clarification

  4. #4
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    Default Trade Unions

    Quote 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"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    328

    Default 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.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2004
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    Milan Michigan
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    Default

    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.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up 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

    Sunrise Outside My Shop In Delhi, Ontario

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Central IL
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    Default

    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

  9. #9
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    Oct 2008
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    Edmonton, Alberta
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    Default

    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."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Central IL
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    Default

    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

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