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Sweep the leg!
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With the economy taking a dump in my chosen field (Microbiology & Medical Technology) I'm taking a hard look at getting into the Electrician's Apprentice Program. Anyone have any feedback about the job?
 

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Fart smeller
Paid to post this crap.
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No, but...

Caffeine Powered said:
With the economy taking a dump in my chosen field (Microbiology & Medical Technology) I'm taking a hard look at getting into the Electrician's Apprentice Program. Anyone have any feedback about the job?
...my advice to you is 1) not to work with a guy who shakes the scissor lift when you're working 30 feet off the ground, and 2) not to work with a guy who "thinks" the power is off.

fp
 

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I am a Union Powerline man, we work with High Voltages, it is a pretty cool job, sometimes it sucks when you have to work outside in adverse weather.

That Picture of the wiring looks like a Marijuana grow operation ballast bank for the grow lights.
 

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ballbuster
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In the same boat

Caffeine Powered said:
With the economy taking a dump in my chosen field (Microbiology & Medical Technology) I'm taking a hard look at getting into the Electrician's Apprentice Program. Anyone have any feedback about the job?
I'm a former computer systems administrator currently working as a low voltage phohe/data wiring tech. I get my hands into a lot of high voltage (under 600v) stuff as well.

Electrician is a good trade as far as trades go. Relatively easy (labor wise) work (compared to plumming or masonary) for good pay and always in demand. My shop is non-union, but pays better than union anyway, just without a retirement plan. I've been doing a lot of underground work lately, which is pretty hard... digging trenches, etc., but apart from that it's not been too bad. It's definately more a 'use your brain' kinda job than some of the other trades. Sometimes figuring out why something isn't working will drive you nuts, but if you come from another technical field, it isn't anything new to you.

Heh, that's funny about the ballast bank there. A guy I work with showed me 'the trick' to rig a meter so it stops counting your used power... main customer is the guy with his own 'indoor farm'. No, I won't tell you 'the trick' so don't ask.
 

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pimpbot said:
My shop is non-union, but pays better than union anyway, just without a retirement plan.
So then it is not better. There are many more benefits to joining a union than I have available time to list. First off, if you are a regular worker, I doubt you get paid more than a Union electritian. Unions have prevailing wages, letting thier members get the highest wages in their areas. Beating a non-union employer in salary is a main goal. Plus, there are huge advantages witht the strenght in numbers theory. You will always have professional doctors, lawyers on your side, paid by the union, if you were ever to need them. Our retirement in my area is $9.25 per hour----for retirement! We also have an annuity which contributes about $.50 per hour. Try and get that from a non-union employer.

My advice to the lad trying to get into the union--Call them and see how many members they have, and how many they are taking for apprentiship per year. We have about a 2 year waiting list piling up. Everyone wants to be an electrician.
 

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ballbuster
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Angry Dad said:
So then it is not better. There are many more benefits to joining a union than I have available time to list. First off, if you are a regular worker, I doubt you get paid more than a Union electritian. Unions have prevailing wages, letting thier members get the highest wages in their areas. Beating a non-union employer in salary is a main goal. Plus, there are huge advantages witht the strenght in numbers theory. You will always have professional doctors, lawyers on your side, paid by the union, if you were ever to need them. Our retirement in my area is $9.25 per hour----for retirement! We also have an annuity which contributes about $.50 per hour. Try and get that from a non-union employer.

My advice to the lad trying to get into the union--Call them and see how many members they have, and how many they are taking for apprentiship per year. We have about a 2 year waiting list piling up. Everyone wants to be an electrician.
No arguement here. The reality is that I wanna get a sysadmin job again anyway. I basically fell into this position. What I meant about the non/union thing was that I am not complaining about pay. Especially well concidering this is my first construction related job, although I had one other field tech position that payed 35% less, and I do get prevailing wage on our gov't jobs that require it.

I'm all for unions. I'm hoping that I will be out of this field before too long anyway.
 

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Sweep the leg!
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Angry Dad said:
So then it is not better. There are many more benefits to joining a union than I have available time to list. First off, if you are a regular worker, I doubt you get paid more than a Union electritian. Unions have prevailing wages, letting thier members get the highest wages in their areas. Beating a non-union employer in salary is a main goal. Plus, there are huge advantages witht the strenght in numbers theory. You will always have professional doctors, lawyers on your side, paid by the union, if you were ever to need them. Our retirement in my area is $9.25 per hour----for retirement! We also have an annuity which contributes about $.50 per hour. Try and get that from a non-union employer.

My advice to the lad trying to get into the union--Call them and see how many members they have, and how many they are taking for apprentiship per year. We have about a 2 year waiting list piling up. Everyone wants to be an electrician.
That is one of the key attractions of the job. I get weary trying to use my psychic powers to make sure my retirement will be fully funded.

I completed the applications and sat for the exam which was mostly reading comprehension & algebra. I've been reading newspapers, lab reports/journals & doing algebra at work since day one so it was a breeze.

The next step is the interview coming up in two weeks. I got a registered letter saying "you meet the minimum requirements for the next step" the way they put it I take that to mean I have a pulse. But you're right about the waiting list. I saw the binder containing the applicants for the last 2 years... 3" thick. I understand they're intervieing ~100 for ~50 positions so I've got a 50/50 shot.

I've worked with HIV, other virus' and RNA over the years with appropriate precautions & procedures so I figure I can follow protocols to avoid electricution.
 

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Keep rollin'
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Good work, Good Union...

My father just retired back in February. He worked for about 35 years in the union. He retired at 55 and is still pulling in a pretty good amount of money because the electrician union(IBEW) has one of the best pension/retirement plans of all the trades. I can't think of a time when there was a work shortage in my area (cincinnati). I think I was 5 (1985) when my dad was last out of work and had to drive to Indy for work.

Pretty good work & good benefits.

...iC...
 

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little advice

Just a little advice. I do the hiring for a union contractor (not electrician) and I would not put the education out there too much. For one thing you will probably be higher educated then the people interviewing you and one always has to question is it worth spending the money to train a person with a college education or will they drop out in the middle of the program and go back to a desk job and use their degree.

Just be careful that you do not make it seem like the job is below you and that you are only doing it because you were laid off for the white colar world.

The odds of getting in (at least here) are different then 100 applying and 50 accepted. You will be scored and ranked. As contractors need apprentices they will take from the top down.

Good luck and the union has alway treated me well.
 

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I used to be a Medical Technologist in the chemistry/immunology section, now I'm becoming a nurse. If you like the medical field, try nursing, plenty of jobs, and very good money. A lady in my nursing class is a master electrician, said she was tired of the outside work in very cold/hot weather. Every job has it's good and bad aspects, it's just picking one that has the fewest bad aspects to you.
 

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Go sparkies.

First rule of thumb...never call it a "plug". Im in the union in NYC. We do a lot of work for the MTA (bus & subway system). There are times when we need to bang on the water pipes before entering a dark room or passageway - scares the furry critters away :eekster: Really, its a good job, but we earn our pay. All kidding aside, NY's rates are extrememly high compared to other areas. We make a nice living here, but someone who doesn't know or lives in other areas of the country would be amazed at the pay scale. Good luck.
 

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I will NEVER have anything to do w/ the IBEW. Left a bad taste in my mouth after they lied to me and an entire crew. Long story short: One of their guys came on the site and wanted to unionize the co. I was working at. At that time, I wanted into the IBEW. Their rep PROMISED membership if we voted for the Company to go union. We did. Most of us were fired. Small Company. About 8 electricians. We were then told we had to go out and organize for x amount of yrs before we could even be considered for me membership. WTF?!?!? Not what they were telling us when they came to the site and cost me my job, but that's what they told us after the fact. Most of us gave them the one finger salute and left.

That's my experience w/ them. I'm sure I'll get flamed, called a liar and whatnot by the pro-union guys, but I won't deal w/ them ... ever.

That almost cost me a good summer job yrs later while in college. When the contractor called that reference, he musta told him I was an union rep. After a sit-down w/ the guy, I assured him I wasn't, what my feelings were towards the IBEW and that all I was interested in was summer electrical work. He hired me and I never gave him reason to doubt me.

My advice: Go through a good trade school and get on w/ a good contractor that knows the NEC. One that does more than new/remodel residential work.
 

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Bad Experience

Sorry for your experience crashedandburned. No reason for anybody to call you a liar. You had a bad experience. I dont feel anyones better just because of a union. I know union guys that are lazy and non-union ones who put cirlces around them. Like everything, theres good and bad in everything. It's just that in NY and other bigger cities, the non union shops usually get the smaller jobs, so its tougher to make money. Forget the past, we're also here to talk about this crazy sport....
 

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IBEW3 said:
Sorry for your experience crashedandburned. No reason for anybody to call you a liar. You had a bad experience. I dont feel anyones better just because of a union. I know union guys that are lazy and non-union ones who put cirlces around them. Like everything, theres good and bad in everything. It's just that in NY and other bigger cities, the non union shops usually get the smaller jobs, so its tougher to make money. Forget the past, we're also here to talk about this crazy sport....
Nothing against you personally and I thank you for your level headed response. I've known, as I'm sure you do, so pretty rabid pro-union guys who don't take kindly to any bad mouthing of the Union. Hence my line about being called a liar and whatnot.

If you are happy w/ them, I wish you nothing but the best. Just felt I needed to share my experience.
 

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Angry Dad said:
So then it is not better. There are many more benefits to joining a union than I have available time to list. First off, if you are a regular worker, I doubt you get paid more than a Union electritian. Unions have prevailing wages, letting thier members get the highest wages in their areas. Beating a non-union employer in salary is a main goal. Plus, there are huge advantages witht the strenght in numbers theory. You will always have professional doctors, lawyers on your side, paid by the union, if you were ever to need them. Our retirement in my area is $9.25 per hour----for retirement! We also have an annuity which contributes about $.50 per hour. Try and get that from a non-union employer.

My advice to the lad trying to get into the union--Call them and see how many members they have, and how many they are taking for apprentiship per year. We have about a 2 year waiting list piling up. Everyone wants to be an electrician.
You also get these added benefits:

-Knowing you make way more than you would if you weren't extorting the companies you work for.

-Knowing that any promotion you receive is based solely on the fact you've been there 3 days more than the next guy in line.

-The satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to the outsourcing of US jobs and the destruction of many large companies.
 
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