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View Poll Results: which do u prefer
union painting 4 11.76%
residential painting 25 73.53%
commercial painting 8 23.53%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 34. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-23-2008, 04:49 PM   #1
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Default union or residential

are any of u guys union painters or do u know union painters...does anybody know the pros and cons...i am mostly residential with light commercial...any feedback would be helpfull as i was offered the chance to switch but im not sure i would want to because im kind of comfortable

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Old 01-23-2008, 05:04 PM   #2
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Mr. Z: Are you asking about switching to being a union painter, or hireing union painters? I am a sole proprietor, and do not hire union guys. I thought about joining a union in my early days, but now believe that I have chosen the route more suitable to my personality. I vote with staying independent.

Happy painting, Paul
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:15 PM   #3
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i am talking about possible switching to union...im still a young guy and ive been looking into it but i kind of think that i will still like residential more and light commercial....any thoughts would help me on a possible big decision in the future

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Old 01-23-2008, 05:39 PM   #4
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You as a company going union or working for a union shop? I used to work for a union shop and was a card carrier. Now i'm not and run my own show. If I was young and starting out, I would go that way. I have friends that have been union for 20 years and they have a good retirement. But if your going union and have employees, you better be busy.
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadog View Post
they have a good retirement.
That there sums it up.....My next door neighbor is a union painter for 26 years and has been working for the same company for about 15 years. He doesn't get sick pay, paid holidays or vacation time. He does get good health care and he will have a good retirement.
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:00 PM   #6
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im talking about me possible working for a union....do u know much about the work rather than the pay....seems like there would be easy days and then days of doing metal bridges and sandblasting stuff....im not into doing crazy prep to old paints on metals and in subways but i would be into doing the interiors of nice new highrises and stuff...i was on the website for the unoin but it didn't give me enough info i feel
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Old 01-23-2008, 06:28 PM   #7
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go to CT and ask paintbooger. He's union and knows it inside out.

I've done union work, would rather be self employed, but if I did work for someone, it would be the union. There's no comparison when it comes to pay and benefits. Of course, there's the typical cry of low quality, but if you hired 50 guys at a time, that's what's going to happen. I have met some awesome, awesome painters in the union. Being young helps, as it's kind of brutal at times.

One thing to consider is where you are. Different areas have different ways of doing things. One thing for sure, union training (school) in invaluable. I never went. It's another issue to ask about. Depending on your experience they may or may not start you out as a journeyman.

In Chicago, if you want to be in the union, you find a union shop, or a friend in the union. After you get hired, you're with that shop. Chicago does not use the waiting list method. So there is no list to get on.
In Las Vegas, you join the union first, then solicit shops on your own, or, more commonly, sign up on a list and wait for a job call. I don't like the vegas method, becuase you could be #600 on the list, when your name comes up, you may work for 2 weeks, and go back to the bottom of the list. Or you may luck into a year long job. There are all kinds of little rules, like, you could pass on that particular job and wait for the next one, it's a crap shoot. Once in the door, if you impress a company enough, you could be hired on permanently and that's a little better because you go from job to job. Again, in Chicago, you get in with a co. and go from job to job. If you don't like that co. then stick with it until you are known, and go to another co. Also, in the chi. a lot of residential companies are in the union, in vegas you'd have a hard time finding residential union work.

I came to vegas, took the test, plunked down 600 and got a journeymans card. I solicited a little bit, but found my own work and when my name came up I was already working. So, I let the card go. I'm old school and they respect that a lot, but I never got the official union schooling.
So the question is, where are you?
Contact booger in CT, he can really fill you in.

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Old 01-23-2008, 06:47 PM   #8
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im in philliadelphia...who is ct
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:03 PM   #9
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CT=contractor talk

....and I would expect to work your butt off if you get into the union (which is hard)

plan to work 60-80hrs a week

the pay is fantastic, you'll make tons of money and the union backs you (or is supposed to)

that's the union
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Old 01-23-2008, 08:24 PM   #10
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Union pay when I was in (4 years ago) in CT. was $24 an hour. DC was $25, Erie PA was $19, Boston $32. You never make lower than your state or your local and when you go to another state thats hirer you get that pay.
If you sign on with bridge painters, you will paint bridges. If you work commercial buildings, you will cut, roll and spray. They send you to all the schools, usually one dayers, Staging, osha, safety, etc.
I was with one of the big decorative painting co. and worked between Philly and Boston. You didnt usually get more than 40 hrs a week unless it was a push at the end or your painting a church ceiling and your not done but the 45 ft staging you on is dropping in 2 days! You might get a ton of overtime then.
Detroit and SF. CA. have paid vacations. Only ones left. If, like me, a job ends (church, state capitol etc.) and you never get your 6 months straight work, you get no benefits. You might get called in a few weeks later and work another 4 months.....no benefits. Funny how that seemed to work for 3 years. I had a house in P'cola though and would just collect unemployment, sit on the beach and wait for the next big job. Had fun but the road gets old after a while. But if you have a shop that stays close to home and keeps you busy, it takes stress away from a slow business.
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Old 01-23-2008, 09:12 PM   #11
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thanks...this sounds bad for me but i would not mind collecting unemployment for periods of time to read...play guitar and other hobbies and just get re-motivated
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:51 AM   #12
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I was considering the union at one time myself. Again, it's not necessarily easy work, but it gets better in time. I think in the apprenticeship you start around $30-35k/year and each year is a jump up. I believe once you are a journeyman you are around $70k.

All numbers are from a personal friend who's in. Could be off slightly. And yeah...being laid off sometimes (as long as you can afford the unemployment wage) is great. It is a good time to do other stuff. You could be laid off for a week or sometimes 3 months.

IMO, the union is a good place to eventually earn what smaller contractors are earning anyway, without all the hassle and stress.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:35 AM   #13
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I was journeyman. Its $25 an hour in CT. Thats controlled and no employer thats union will pay more. Thats about $50,000 BEFORE taxes. (no overtime) You apprentice for several years and the pay is less.
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Old 01-24-2008, 04:17 PM   #14
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In Il and Nv alike, the current pay is over 32/hr plus bennies. Total comes out to 50 something an hour.
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Old 01-24-2008, 06:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I was journeyman. Its $25 an hour in CT. Thats controlled and no employer thats union will pay more. Thats about $50,000 BEFORE taxes. (no overtime) You apprentice for several years and the pay is less.
hmmm? guess I was misinformed

that's horrible pay for a journeyman
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:08 PM   #16
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It might be a little higher now but I doubt much. When I was with them 4 years ago, the highest paid locals were NY, Boston and SF all at around $32. Really surprised IL and NV. are up there too. The "bennies" though you dont see. Thats whats pulled for your health ins and retirement and.....Its like billing out your painters at $75 an hour for bidding purposes but your only paying them $20! But if your in something like Bridges or doing high work you can get more bucks. Even some places gave decorative painters a couple bucks more, (but your usually on a church ceiling breaking your neck and its 120 degrees.)
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Old 01-27-2008, 09:33 PM   #17
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Z, lots of good info in these post's.I was union with the same shop for 16 yrs.Eventually I just wanted a new challenge so I went out on my own.I stayed in the union for a year or so ,mainly to get health insurance at a group rate,when my wife picked up a job that had that covered so I pulled out of the union.Around here the union contractors seem to have their own individual niche.Some lean towards finer finish work others more industrial others commercial etc.If you are able to solicit the contractors yourself then join the union it would be best to find a contractor that fits your needs.If you know any union painters in your area talk to them,no doubt they hear talk about what contractor does this or that or which ones have happy employees.Hope I added something useful for you.
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Old 01-27-2008, 10:15 PM   #18
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everything is helpfull and much appreciated.....thanks to all who contributed....its nice to know what i would be getting into
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadog View Post
It might be a little higher now but I doubt much. When I was with them 4 years ago, the highest paid locals were NY, Boston and SF all at around $32. Really surprised IL and NV. are up there too. The "bennies" though you dont see. Thats whats pulled for your health ins and retirement and.....Its like billing out your painters at $75 an hour for bidding purposes but your only paying them $20! But if your in something like Bridges or doing high work you can get more bucks. Even some places gave decorative painters a couple bucks more, (but your usually on a church ceiling breaking your neck and its 120 degrees.)
Chicago has historically been a union town. Since Chicago unions helped build las vegas by loaning money, it makes sense here too. I've been surprised at how much recognition you get just by being from chicago. However, I was also surprised that the feelings are not mutual. Chicago painters unions aren't all that happy with the vegas union.
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Old 01-28-2008, 07:35 AM   #20
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Yea, theres always some politics. For the most part, I always enjoyed on the "road" in the union citys and was always treated like family. Of course usually the deal is we had to hire guys on the bench as part of the deal to come in town! Never worked Vegas which is surprising considering all the decorative paint and its probably a good thing anyhow.
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