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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm a new member. I'm 18 years old just out of highschool from Chicago and I want to be a painter. I just filled out an application at the Painters Union and the lady gave me a packet filled with contractors within the area and said I have to get a letter of intent to hire, then we move on to the next step. Now, before applying I was under the impression that apprentice classes start late fall/winter, because that's when they did for all the the other trades that I researched before finally deciding on painting. So I was looking forward to that since I'm just out of highschool and want a couple months to get things out of the way that I've wanted to do before heading into the workforce for the rest of my life (specifically a trip to Europe to visit family I've been saving up for). Now I'm under the impression as soon as I get a contractor to hire me I jump right in. So should I call as many as I can right away and forget about time off or wait a few months to call, or call right away and tell them when I'm willing to start working? Thanks for your help!
 

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Hey guys, I'm a new member. I'm 18 years old just out of highschool from Chicago and I want to be a painter. I just filled out an application at the Painters Union and the lady gave me a packet filled with contractors within the area and said I have to get a letter of intent to hire, then we move on to the next step. Now, before applying I was under the impression that apprentice classes start late fall/winter, because that's when they did for all the the other trades that I researched before finally deciding on painting. So I was looking forward to that since I'm just out of highschool and want a couple months to get things out of the way that I've wanted to do before heading into the workforce for the rest of my life (specifically a trip to Europe to visit family I've been saving up for). Now I'm under the impression as soon as I get a contractor to hire me I jump right in. So should I call as many as I can right away and forget about time off or wait a few months to call, or call right away and tell them when I'm willing to start working? Thanks for your help!
Sorry, I can't help you with that as I am not sure on how the unions work.

Welcome to the forums though, and it is nice to see a young guy wanting to become a painter.. what were your deciding factors on choosing painting? Most young guys around here decide on electrical. So much so that none of them can find steady work.
 

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PinheadsUnite
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newkid,

this has nothing to do with your question (sorry about that, I can't help anyway), but why did you choose painting over all the other trades?
 

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Have you read the requirements of the JATC? It's strict! So until you decide to make the commitment I would suggest this. Go to the the trade school and speak to apprentices that are enrolled in the program.

You want get first hand knowledge from people that are LIVING the life as Union apprentices in the city of Chicago.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well to those asking why I wanted to become a painter I don't have an easy answer to that. I wanted to work in the trades for many reason and it pretty much boiled down to Painting or Bricklaying, and painting won. I have a little experience painting things and I don't mind it, It seems like people will always need painters and decorators, I like how it's always something different (different locations, different colors, etc.), and it's just an honest hard working job, that I can take pride in what I do.

Now back to my question.
roblad, what do you mean the requirements for the JATC? Also, I understand this is a huge commitment that if I make I don't plan on backing out of, so that's why I ask if I should jump in ASAP, or take my time and get the stuff I need to get out of the way first?

Do you guys recomend painting as a career?
 

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Well to those asking why I wanted to become a painter I don't have an easy answer to that. I wanted to work in the trades for many reason and it pretty much boiled down to Painting or Bricklaying, and painting won. I have a little experience painting things and I don't mind it, It seems like people will always need painters and decorators, I like how it's always something different (different locations, different colors, etc.), and it's just an honest hard working job, that I can take pride in what I do.

Now back to my question.
roblad, what do you mean the requirements for the JATC? Also, I understand this is a huge commitment that if I make I don't plan on backing out of, so that's why I ask if I should jump in ASAP, or take my time and get the stuff I need to get out of the way first?

Do you guys recomend painting as a career?
Log onto Chicago Painters JATC. Click on application process, painter applicant, down load details. It explains the 1st of many hoops you'll have to start jumping through.

Something always needs painting. I make a comfortable 6 figure a year income at my corporate job. Going on 34 years in the trade I still do 20% of my duties in maintenance painting.
 

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Dangharley
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I am a product of that school and know that when u sign up and get the letter of intent, u start work right away. The school might take a few weeks to get a new class started.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
hmm, why do you guys recomend non-union. I've always been told union is the way to go, atleast here. better pay, better job security, better benefits. Plus I thought it would help me get my foot in the door a little easier.

robladd, I was given a copy of that page when I applied. It seems the hardest part is actually getting hired with no connections, but that would be the same even if I went non-union.

Dangharley, you went union, do you recomend it for me? Also, what' your oppinion on me starting right away or waiting if I already applied?
 

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I thought this was a thread about new kid. Not a union non union bash. For his benefit can we put our bias aside about union non union
contractors.
 

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I thought this was a thread about new kid. Not a union non union bash. For his benefit can we put our bias aside about union non union
contractors.
I agree. Union bashing threads can turn ugly and sometimes result in a lock, lets not do that to the kid, it is a poor impression of the site from the new eyes imo. Many of our members started out in the union and some still are in it so to bash it is insulting to them. I have no experience with the union so have no opinion on it really.

Kid: If you have unfinished business you should probably take care of it before signing on.

I never saw myself getting into painting but the new generation is what will carry the trade further so if it is what you want to do then that is great and give it your all. GL.
 

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The Union sucks that is why. Do you want to work with a bunch of cry babies? That think somebody owes them a living instead of earning one.... Do you want to have steady work? Trust me stear clear of the Union nothing but trouble jump through hoop's PITA...
Union

Journeyman pay rate: $36.00 per hour
40 hour work week: $1,440
Annually: $74,880
Medical Coverage : yes
Dental : yes
Vision : yes
Hearing : yes
Pension : yes
Vacation Pay : yes

Non-union

Journeyman pay rate: $18.00 per hour
40 hour work week: $720
Annually: $37,440
Medical Coverage : no
Dental : no
Vision : no
Hearing : no
Pension : no
Vacation Pay : no
 

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BigBen said:
Union

Journeyman pay rate: $36.00 per hour
40 hour work week: $1,440
Annually: $74,880
Medical Coverage : yes
Dental : yes
Vision : yes
Hearing : yes
Pension : yes
Vacation Pay : yes

Non-union

Journeyman pay rate: $18.00 per hour
40 hour work week: $720
Annually: $37,440
Medical Coverage : no
Dental : no
Vision : no
Hearing : no
Pension : no
Vacation Pay : no
My wife had both our children C-Section. 40K in medical bills. Not 1 thin dime came out of our pockets.
 

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BigBen said:
I'm not sure if I understand what your point here is? care to elaborate?

I have a few questions:

How was your medical bills paid?

- charity care?
- your wife's insurance?

Do you recommend NOT having medical coverage?
IUPAT Member in Good Standing. Grade A medical coverage.
 

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The Union sucks that is why. Do you want to work with a bunch of cry babies? That think somebody owes them a living instead of earning one.... Do you want to have steady work? Trust me stear clear of the Union nothing but trouble jump through hoop's PITA...
Couldn't care less how any man makes his living myself. I could've highlighted some other posts but for whatever reason I picked this one. ignorance is never good IMO so allow me to tell some truth to the young kid. I've been a union painter for 16 maybe 17 yrs. I forget right now how long. In that time I have never been unemployed- not for one whole week. I don't politic, I kiss no man's behind, I'm related to no one of great import. I make my boss MONEY. period. Being a union painter is just like being a non union painter(commercial now is to what I'm referring). If you make the 'man' money he will keep using you to make him more money. It is that simple.

When I was coming up and working non-union and had a chance to buy a book-I jumped on it. Best thing I ever did without question.
 

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Dangharley
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New kid, wait till you figure out when u can start. A new shop will get rid of you if you take significant time off, there's too many others out there that won't take a vacation and take your spot. I believe the starting pay for a 1st year apprentice is probably close to what most nonunion guys are making being an experienced painter. I can tell you, it's hard work. You are the bottom of the barrel and they won't let you forget that. Trust me, it's worth it
 

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I am 24 and was in your same shoes not even three years ago. I was trying to get a job with the state of california as Painter I at the fairgrounds where my brother is a union electrician. Needless to say positions get filled quickly and it didn't work out.

Make a long story short I posted an add on craigslist shortly after looking for a contractor to just take me on as an apprentice under their wing, as I just wanted to learn the trade. An older painting contractor emailed me and I have been apprenticing under him and his journeyman ever since. They are great painters. I have been steadily investing in major tools(work van, ladders, sprayer, pressure washer). This has also allowed me leverage with my position and a better wage. I plan on getting my painting contractors license in a few years and starting my own business soon after. However, I must say if I ever do have an opportunity to join work for a union painting contractor I wouldn't hesitate for a second.

Also, the thing that has helped me out the most in my short time is I show up early to work, am very dependable and never complain. I want to learn to be not only a great painter but a tradesman. I am a detailed person and will only do clean work. Any job worth doing is worth doing right.
Sorry for the long story but thought it may help. Just remember you are only 18, I was dicking around for two years before I got my head straight and wanted to work.
 
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