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Thread: I have some questions about welding for a union

  1. #1
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    I have some questions about welding for a union

    Before I ask my questions I just wanted to share some background. I have been working at a fabrication shop for the past 3 months, I have been practicing mig and stick welding every day, I can confidently weld uphill and in a flat position. I am not certified and I want to make this my next step. So far I have had experience with mig and stick welding...
    Me and my girlfriend want to end up moving into a van within the next year and living vanlife. In order to pursue this, I have a few questions about union work:
    1) What certifications are most important for joining a union?
    2) Is joining a union a good idea if you are going to be traveling alot?
    3) Can I choose when and where I work if I join a union?
    4) How long do union jobs last?
    5) how much can I expect to make

    I will mostly be in big cities throughout the United States, and I will have to move around every 1-2 weeks in order to pursue some of my girlfriends goals as an ice skater.
    Thanks for the help everyone!

  2. #2
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    Hmm, you have good intentions but as for keeping a job, i think you're gonna have trouble.
    You mean you plan on working for a week or two and quitting ??
    Some unions have travel cards. I've done it but not for a week or two. Applying for a job and only staying a week or two doesn't look good on a application.
    You might have better luck doing mobile repairs with a rig setup, maybe on a trailer.
    Advertising in the location you'll be at next.


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  3. #3
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    thanks for the answer, how long do union jobs tend to last?

  4. #4
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    It depends on the project and deadline. Most out of local jobs that need men are usually overtime jobs. It could be a Couple of months at seven days a week 12 hour days .
    I did some traveling as a pipefitter to make big $$ on overtime jobs. This was all pipefitting and welding .
    I don't know about other unions.
    You may consider researching all your tentative cities for welder wanted. Or place as welder seeking employment.


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  6. #5
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    The certifications would depend on job.

    The union is good for your protection, health care and retirement.

    The downside is some areas may not to many jobs and may have travel.

    If you are the business owner it sucks do to are the regulations and cost.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbigtip View Post
    Before I ask my questions I just wanted to share some background. I have been working at a fabrication shop for the past 3 months, I have been practicing mig and stick welding every day, I can confidently weld uphill and in a flat position. I am not certified and I want to make this my next step. So far I have had experience with mig and stick welding...
    Me and my girlfriend want to end up moving into a van within the next year and living vanlife. In order to pursue this, I have a few questions about union work:
    1) What certifications are most important for joining a union?
    2) Is joining a union a good idea if you are going to be traveling alot?
    3) Can I choose when and where I work if I join a union?
    4) How long do union jobs last?
    5) how much can I expect to make

    I will mostly be in big cities throughout the United States, and I will have to move around every 1-2 weeks in order to pursue some of my girlfriends goals as an ice skater.
    Thanks for the help everyone!

  7. #6
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    You might have to get signed on as an apprentice with the union. You can't just pick and choose what jobs you want or when and where you work. If you work in a union shop and it stays busy, you could be there for years. I don't think it's feasible to do what you are planning. You can't work somewhere for a week or 2 then just up and get transferred to another job somewhere else for a week or 2. What are the GF's goals as far as skating? Can I ask how old you are and how much welding experience you have other than the 3 month's at the current job?

  8. #7
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    I worked union for over 25 years. My policy was once I took a job I stayed until I was laid off. That was usually when the job was done. I went to work for a company for a one day job and was with that company 15 years. Unless you know someone with some pull you will have to be an apprentice , it does not matter how many certs you have. There is no short cut , you will need to pay your dues. The best you can hope for is a year of credit . The next thing is finding a union who is looking for people and taking an entrance test. Then you wait. In hard times unions in general do not add men. The best time to join a union is when there is so much work that they can't find enough people to fill jobs.

    If you do get in a union and work jobs and quit when ever you get the urge you will find very few that will hire you, not to mention that you will be refused unemployment if you apply for it. You need to rethink your plans, they are not realistic .
    Last edited by thegary; 07-24-2020 at 12:06 PM.

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  10. #8
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    Quote Originally Posted by thegary View Post
    I worked union for over 25 years. My policy was once I took a job I stayed until I was laid off. That was usually when the job was done. I went to work for a company for a one day job and was with that company 15 years. Unless you know someone with some pull you will have to be an apprentice , it does not matter how many certs you have. There is no short cut , you will need to pay your dues. The best you can hope for is a year of credit . The next thing is finding a union who is looking for people and taking an entrance test. Then you wait. In hard times unions in general do not add men. The best time to join a union is when there is so much work that they can't find enough people to fill jobs.

    If you do get in a union and work jobs and quit when ever you get the urge you will find very few that will hire you, not to mention that you will be refused unemployment if you apply for it. You need to rethink your plans, they are not realistic .
    Yup....union or non union either way if you just drag up after 2 week or so on evry job that reputation follows you wherever you go.

    to the OP...think on this for a minute...who is gonna be the one makin any money to support you both? dont forget that van is gonna need maintenance. Is she gonna be able to contribute to the money jar? if so how much? What if she ends up pregnant? UHOH. the child services people aint gonna like the fact you raising a little baby in a van. i see a whole bunch of problems here. Start looking at reality fella the world is a rough place, and its gonna get rougher before it gets better

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  12. #9
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    I been thinkin about this and it brought back some memories. For 13 years i was a roadwhore nonunion ironworker who was damn good at welding and could hold my own connecting, doin bolt up, structural fitting and all the other stuff that goes on in the trade. I did this when things got very slow in the coal bisness and i couldnt justify buying another welder to replace the one that burned up after 10 years of hard use.

    This van life you talk about sounds all nice and romantic, trust me it aint. No fab shop will hire you with a reputation of draggin up evry few weeks. The work you would get would basically be the same stuff I did on construction, maybe not iron but pipe or some other trade....are you good enough? Forgive me for saying so but i have my doubts.

    This is hard work and i can tell you from many years of it this van life will not work very well for rest and food. Figure in the fact you dont know what can happen from day to day. I will give you an example.

    I was out in Nebraska welding tanks i got the job through a staffing agency. So one of the tankies gets banged up doin some dumb ****. This was a rough bunch of fellas and someone got the idea to do piss tests. Turns out all but 2 of their regular workers were clean, and the tank outfit got run off the job. So i called around for work and landed a real good long term job with a big outfit got a job just startin in Maryland. So i leave Nebraska and my truck breaks down, ended up puttin a junkyard motor in my truck just to get to Maryland. By this time I am broke. I get there take a weld test, and pass and get hired. So now where do i sleep? Dug out my old US Army issue poncho and make a hootch, breakfast was a box of cheerios, lunch was nonexistant, and supper was a can of beans. I was livin in the woods behind the power plant i was workin at. Caught 2 rabbits, skinned em and cooked em for supper twice. Week 2 i get called into the office, my dad died that morning, mom and sister and my wife cant ahold of me, phone stays in the truck and i dont bother with it much. So i told em i will take 3 days and be back, they know how i am living and why. They asked me how im gettin home, well drivin i guess, do i have enough money for gas they ask. Enough to get home i think after that who knows. So they give me 180 bucks. I tell em you folks dont know me from Adam how do you know i comin back? They said they gonna take that chance and besides if they need to they can take it out my check i have coming. ok i says. I get back 3 days later, they give me a check i cash it, and I go to pay them back they told me to keep it for bein honest.

    So I lived in the bush like a rat for 3 weeks worked my *** off 12 hours a day, and got an apartment. This is the kind of stuff you dont think about or think will happen but it does.

    Think long and hard before you make this choice, and i dont think your lady friend will like this van life thing much after awhile either
    Last edited by Popeye an old miner; 07-25-2020 at 12:58 AM.

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  14. #10
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    I have some questions about welding for a union

    The building trade unions are the way to go in my opinion. Their trades are always in demand. Demographic area plays a roll in how busy the locals are.
    Jason
    Lincoln Idealarc 250 stick/tig
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 52
    Miller Bobcat 250
    Torchmate CNC table
    Thermal Arc Hefty 2
    Ironworkers Local 720

  15. #11
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    Re: I have some questions about welding for a union

    Most union welders are specialized depending on union you join,pipe fitters ,ironworkers ,heavy equipment ,boiler makers.
    Sheet metal .

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