What is involved with becoming a union contractor?
You will meet with a Local Business Representative to discuss the agreement before you sign to have all of your questions answered. Then you will benefit from the strength and resources of the Carpenters union.
What is the rate?
This depends on several things. We have different rates, depending on the type of construction business you operate, i.e., commercial construction, residential remodel, wood frame, and flooring. Our apprentices are paid at a percentage of the journeyman rate depending on their years in, first year apprentices typically start at 40%. We also have rates for different geographical areas you may work in.
What benefits do you offer?
To the contractor, we offer a pool of skilled workers, a source of training and the ability to assist in moving projects forward with the relationships we have acquired over the years. To the working member union benefits include Health insurance, Pension, and an Annuity. These benefits are offered at no extra cost to their spouse and dependent children.
What kind of training do you offer?
For people interested but with no formal training in the trades, we offer an extensive apprenticeship training program in a state-of-the-art facility. Apprentices are required to complete 1 week of school every 3 months, for 5 years. They will receive classroom and hands on training that runs the full gamut of the trade.
We also offer journeyman upgrade classes for our members free of charge. Classes offered range from the OSHA 10 hr and 30 hr to Erecting Scaffolding.
Can you help me build my client base?
If you're a general contractor, we can refer sub contractors to you. If you're a sub contractor, we can refer you to general contractors. We have developed many relationships over the years with developers, end users, politicians, and city officials who are always looking for new contractors to plug into various types of projects.
Can you help me build relationships in the area?
We can be helpful introducing you to other signatory contractors, developers and architects. We can also be helpful with zoning and planning assistance through our local unions and their members.
Why did you pick me? I don't build skyscrapers!
Union contractors range in size from having two employees to over several hundred. We believe that every carpenter should get all the benefits that being union affords. This means the carpenters that work on tenant fit-outs, single-family homes, skyscrapers and everything in between..
Why do you picket and hand out leaflets?
To inform the public that a contractor working in the area is undercutting the area standards that have been established. We believe the general public has the right to know that the community they live and work in is being undermined for the sake of profit, at the expense of the workers on that job.
I used to be a Union Contractor 20 years ago. It didn't work then, why should it be any different now?
Since 1995 we have restructured and have taken dramatic steps to rectify some of the problems that have occurred with our contractors. One of the main differences is that the contractor has mobility of manpower. This means that you can move your workforce to any job that you have throughout the area.
Are you going to run my company?
No. We do not want to run your company, that's your job. We will get involved and assist you only if you ask for it. We ask only that you follow the collective bargaining agreement. This is the set of rules that levels the playing field for all. There is only one contract. There are no special deals.
What happens to my current client base, they don't want anything to do with the union?
Our experience has been that your clients have a relationship with you, because you have proven to be competitive and reliable. They don't care how the job gets done, they want it done once and done right.
What happens to the sub contractors that I'm currently using?
We encourage you to invite your sub-contractors to sign a collective bargaining agreement, and we will help in explaining the benefits of being union to them. If your sub-contractors choose not to, we have ample contractors to choose from. However, it is important for you to know that we only represent carpenters.
Do you have workers available?
We are able to accommodate most requests for manpower in good times and during economic slowdowns. Our members are constantly referring their carpenter friends to us.
If Union Carpenters are unemployed and at the hall waiting for a job, how good can they be?
Carpenters "on the bench" may have just completed a project, or are skilled in a fashion that may or may not be suitable to the jobs available at the hall. Generally, it has more to do with the amount and type of work that their previous employer had and what skills the carpenter has. A great concrete carpenter will be sitting on the bench if only finish work is available.
What happens to my current crew if I sign?
When you sign a contract, your crew is encouraged to join the union. We will be glad to meet with them and address any of their questions and concerns. They will continue to work for you as long as you need them. You are able to supplement your workforce by calling the hall and asking for more men if you need them. If you lay them off, we will work to find them a job, with another union contractor.
What is a Journeyman?
A skilled carpenter who is able to take direction from a foreman and complete the tasks required for their portion of the job, i.e; a drywall journeyman, concrete journeyman, etc. Many are capable of having the required skills for all or most of the aspects of the trade. Skills are learned through our apprentice school by some of the members. But many members acquire their skills from years of working in the field.
What is a steward?
A steward is a union member who is appointed by the local business representative to ensure that the contract is being adhered to by both contractor and carpenter. The steward acts as a liaison between the workers and management if a dispute arises. The steward is a working carpenter who has been trained to recognize safety hazards and will assist the contractor to provide a safe and healthy work site. Because stewards are the second person hired and second to last to be laid off, they typically possess a high skill level in all aspects of the trade.