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Old 02-01-2018, 02:42 AM   #1
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Default Has anyone spent time working for the union?

My apologies if I start too many threads. I'm just trying to gather as much information as I can before I embark on a formal apprenticeship with the IUPAT union. I have tons of questions about the trade and the industry. Hope I'm not annoying you I take this very seriously and I want to hit the ground running.

I'm #2 on the list, so I'll be among the first called when work picks up.

Does anyone have any experience working for the union, or doing an apprenticeship through them? If so, what can I expect?

What do I need to know/do to be successful? It would be useful to know, even if you weren't an apprentice, how did you start out? What did you do to be successful?
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:10 AM   #2
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I was trained by an old Euro guy. I did closets for ages and was let out to do things like sanding ceilings. I think his logic was he hated confined spaces and figured if I messed up in a closet that would not show him to badly. I don't think we have official apprenticeship programs here for painters. You work for a company until you think your good enough to strike out on your own or you can't stand the boss any longer or the boss retires leaving you in charge. (To be fair, he was responsible for my perfectionism.)
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:26 AM   #3
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I never did an apprenticeship. If you can show w-2's from 4 different years, you can sign up as a journeyman.

The advantage of a painters apprenticeship (At east in Northern Nevada) is that you can learn the other trades, like Wallpaper, and drywall.

You need to figure out how the union in your area is doing workwise. Back in Reno, 80% of the union guys were out of work at any given time. The less work there is, the more crap your boss is gonna pull too. If its busy, and is expected to stay that way, I say do it.
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Old 02-01-2018, 09:55 AM   #4
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Take a few years to learn as much as you can from apprenticeship, then work for an independent contractor to learn more, then go on your own. Nobody takes care or looks out for yourself like you can. In all my years of in this trade, every union painter I know, left the union. Painters union seems to always have been the weakest. jmo.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:30 PM   #5
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I worked with some union painters on a state job once. I envied their "long" hours. They left their home city, drove 2 hours, worked for an hour, had a 15 minute break, worked 2 more hours, had an hour lunch, worked 2 more hours, then drove back to their home city. They worked 5 hours and got paid for 9 or 10.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:01 PM   #6
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Some people are cut out to be union painters, some aren't. I know of a couple who swear up and down how good it is. Also know of a few who couldn't find a good word. I understand that they do have a decent apprentice and training program depending on the local and who is running it.

Will it impede you in the future if you decide it isn't for you? A lot of that depends what contractor you go to work for if you don't go on your own. Some look at union painters as not being "production driven" individuals - people who "milk the clock / job". I don't know if that's true or not. I've seen plenty of non-union painters who were very adept at it. lol
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:11 PM   #7
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Even though I am currently a member of a trade union, I have only painted with companies that had terminated their union labor contracts prior to my arrival. For better or for worse. However, I did complete a painters apprenticeship program sanctioned by the California Labor Board. It qualifies me to work anywhere in California as a Journey level painter, but is not necessarily recognized by the AFL-CIO nationally.

My current union local is recognized by the AFL-CIO, but I have no intentions of leaving the state. I apologize to those of you who have considered hiring me if I ever left the state of California.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CApainter View Post
Even though I am currently a member of a trade union, I have only painted with companies that had terminated their union labor contracts prior to my arrival. For better or for worse. However, I did complete a painters apprenticeship program sanctioned by the California Labor Board. It qualifies me to work anywhere in California as a Journey level painter, but is not necessarily recognized by the AFL-CIO nationally.

My current union local is recognized by the AFL-CIO, but I have no intentions of leaving the state. I apologize to those of you who have considered hiring me if I ever left the state of California.
CA, If you're a painter but not in the IUPAT, what union are you in?
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:39 PM   #9
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CA, If you're a painter but not in the IUPAT, what union are you in?
All I can say is I'm represented.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:42 PM   #10
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My apologies if I start too many threads. I'm just trying to gather as much information as I can before I embark on a formal apprenticeship with the IUPAT union. I have tons of questions about the trade and the industry. Hope I'm not annoying you I take this very seriously and I want to hit the ground running.

I'm #2 on the list, so I'll be among the first called when work picks up.

Does anyone have any experience working for the union, or doing an apprenticeship through them? If so, what can I expect?

What do I need to know/do to be successful? It would be useful to know, even if you weren't an apprentice, how did you start out? What did you do to be successful?
I did my apprenticeship and spent 35 years as a member of District Council #14. They have a state of the art apprentice center in the suburbs of Chicago. They teach color theory, application, wallcoverings, taping, sandblasting, scaffolding and all the Osha and local safety classes.

I would tell you to pay attention in class and if you're not clear on something, ask the instructor to go over it again. Try to apply what you learn in school to the job you are working on. Ask questions and work you're a$$ off.

The union will provide you with a livable wage, great health, and dental insurance and if you make it that far a pension deposit the 1st of every month in your bank account.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:45 PM   #11
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All I can say is I'm represented.
Oh, like some kind of nefarious operation like Area 51.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:24 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
Some people are cut out to be union painters, some aren't. I know of a couple who swear up and down how good it is. Also know of a few who couldn't find a good word. I understand that they do have a decent apprentice and training program depending on the local and who is running it.

Will it impede you in the future if you decide it isn't for you? A lot of that depends what contractor you go to work for if you don't go on your own. Some look at union painters as not being "production driven" individuals - people who "milk the clock / job". I don't know if that's true or not. I've seen plenty of non-union painters who were very adept at it. lol
Not being production driven and milking the clock is what I do! Sounds like I'll be a great fit.

Just kidding.

Without getting into politics (I've read the thread forbidding it), I am very supportive of organized labor and collective bargaining. It would be cool to be a part of it.

But who knows, maybe what they say will turn out to be true, and I'll end up hating it.

But yea, I've seen non union painters screw around on the clock plenty of times. One time I was back rolling for this dude, and he abruptly stopped spraying, turned around, and described in great detail all of the naked women he'd seen through the windows on residential jobs. Really quite disturbing. Took him like, i kid you not, 45 minutes to get through his stories. We were on the clock too.

I was brand new and green as a Christmas tree, so I smiled and nodded. Really kicked myself afterward for not reporting the whole thing to management. It was messed up.
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Old 02-02-2018, 12:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brushman4 View Post
I did my apprenticeship and spent 35 years as a member of District Council #14. They have a state of the art apprentice center in the suburbs of Chicago. They teach color theory, application, wallcoverings, taping, sandblasting, scaffolding and all the Osha and local safety classes.

I would tell you to pay attention in class and if you're not clear on something, ask the instructor to go over it again. Try to apply what you learn in school to the job you are working on. Ask questions and work you're a$$ off.

The union will provide you with a livable wage, great health, and dental insurance and if you make it that far a pension deposit the 1st of every month in your bank account.
I'm just hoping that with a formal union apprenticeship, they'll give me a shot at improving the areas in which I'm lacking. I'm pretty green, so there are a few areas I need to improve on. The good thing is I've done just enough painting to know exactly what those areas are.
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Old 02-02-2018, 01:59 AM   #14
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Good luck!
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:42 PM   #15
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It depends on where you are. Union presence (painters) is very small where I am. The UMWA was the big boy on the block as far as unions in general go, but times have changed.

I've worked two jobs with union carpenters, and I was impressed by their expertise...I don't think they were as thrilled to have a NU painting contractor on the job, but we ended up getting along OK.

If the work is there, I doubt you'd find better benefits anywhere else.
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:37 PM   #16
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I worked with some union painters on a state job once. I envied their "long" hours. They left their home city, drove 2 hours, worked for an hour, had a 15 minute break, worked 2 more hours, had an hour lunch, worked 2 more hours, then drove back to their home city. They worked 5 hours and got paid for 9 or 10.
I don't know how well that would go down with my HOs or even my GCs! I am pretty sure they would prefer to pay more for those of us that work like crazy and lunch with a sandwich in one hand and brush in the other. (I was never good at taking breaks! Just want to get done and get out.)
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Old 02-02-2018, 11:38 PM   #17
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All I can say is I'm represented.
Please tell me it's not the wife!
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:05 AM   #18
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That whole thinking that union workers are lazy is 100% b.s. Union overhead is insane... and they have to compete with rat companies whos workers are stoked to get a good wage for once. Union companies crack the whip, or they wont get any work. They are actually kind of screwed to compete with companies that can offer 3/4 of the cost of the lowest union company. Why do you think unions are almost nonexistant anymore? The ones that are still around sure as hell need workers to get 'r done.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:31 AM   #19
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Please tell me it's not the wife!
Represented, no. Reprimanded, all the time.
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