1. Thank you for visiting HeavyEquipmentForums.com! Our objective is to provide industry professionals a place to gather to exchange questions, answers and ideas. We welcome you to register using the "Register" icon at the top of the page. We'd appreciate any help you can offer in spreading the word of our new site. The more members that join, the bigger resource for all to enjoy. Thank you!
  2. ALL NEW MEMBERS READ THIS FIRST!! Thank you for joining Heavy Equipment Forums! If you are new to forums we communicate with "Threads", please search our threads to see if your topic may have already been answered and if not then click "Post New Thread" in the appropriate forum. This will allow all of our members to see your question and give you the best chance to be answered. After you've made a number of posts you will graduate to Full Member status where you'll see a few more privileges. Following these guidelines will help make this the best resource for heavy equipment on the net. Thanks for joining us and I hope you enjoy your stay!!

Union or Non Union shop

Discussion in 'In the Office' started by drabe1, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. drabe1

    drabe1 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    United States
    I am about to graduate from college with a 2 year degree in diesel technology. I currently have an offer from a non union equipment dealership as a construction equipment tech for $16/hr with full benefits and a 401K. But I am also talking with a shop who I interned for that is a CAT equipment dealer. They are union and have been on the fence about hiring me. They won't offer me a position until mid April and the union will not tell me what benefits are offered through my membership. I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure I want to get tangled with the Operating Engineers union at only 20 and I may want to leave my state in a few years. The CAT dealer offered a friend of mine a position in the truck shop as a truck tech at another one of their locations at only $13 plus union benefits. I'm stressing out big time about this as I don't wanna lose an opportunity and I want to look down each avenue with scrutiny. Does any experienced techs have any input?
     
  2. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    7,696
    Location:
    Elsewhen
    I worked non-union everywhere I turned wrenches, if I had it to do over again, I'd be a fireman. My opinion, go for the union job if you can, it will pay off in the long run. Last big place I worked was non union, the "full benefits" turned out to be the glass half full, and the 401K was a 201K, in six years the company never put a dime into it even though they claimed they were matching a percentage. Profit sharing? Any time they had a profit they would put up a new building or open a new branch, whoops, no profit to share! They did cover me when I was out for surgery, had a "short term disability" program that sent me my paycheck while I was off for a couple weeks, which was great, didn't have to use up all my sick leave and vacation days.
     
  3. nowing75

    nowing75 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    765
    Location:
    coatesville indiana
    I'm non union where I work now. I was an aircraft mechanic and in the union and they did not do much for us. In the contract they said I would never be laid off but they filed bankruptcy and the contract went out the window. That being said from what I see the union guys do prety well here. If I was your age I would be looking at the union. Hope this helps let me know if I can help further.

    Jason
     
  4. cecil89

    cecil89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Occupation:
    the best I can be while I am being paid to do my J
    Location:
    101 wonderland
    Choose wisely, what is good for one may not be advisable for another. My story- worked non union 20 years, 401 k with matching .35 cents on the dollar. Had to pay extra for family health, pay extra for dental. Profit sharing was never more than one weeks check every year. It was also labors fault for a bad year, Was given pep talks on how to make the company more money, Told that since I showed up every day that I still was not a team player, even though I tried I still did not hold up to their expectations' was never allowed the company's full compensations for that year. I have been in the union for 15 years now will never have a full retirement pension-35 years oh I could I will be 75. I like where I am. I hope I have not crossed the whole you know what and that other thing line
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  5. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    4,189
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN
    Spent my entire 44 year construction career Union. Just retired in January at 62 with $6,000 a month before tax union pension and have had health insurance my entire career after the first six probationary months. The first 14 years the pension contribution was very small but the last 30 made up for it. Have not had to touch the Union annuities yet but they are looking real nice laying there. Pension would have been better but I had to split 16 years of pension with an ex. That being said I also have 11 years of over 3,000 work hours a year also. I busted my butt for both the contractors and the union and I was treated fairly in return.
     
  6. RLU_tech

    RLU_tech Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Occupation:
    Mechanic
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I'm 27 years old and have worked for a union shop for over 3 years now. The older generation made a lot of money in their retirement accounts and pensions in the 1980's. Interest rates were high and compounding your interest year after year was key in building a fat retirement. For young people starting out now, you have to be smart and have additional retirement savings in mind besides a pension or 401K. Also, being part of a union means it benefits a lot of hardworking ambitious employees...it also provides equal benefits to the lazy useless ones as well. I can't speak for all unions, but from what I've seen of mine...not impressed.
     
  7. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2012
    Messages:
    4,189
    Occupation:
    Retired Cons't. Supt./Hospitals
    Location:
    Moose Lake, MN

    I can not speak to other union shops but if you are speaking of construction unions your information is far outdated and no longer factual. Most of my retirement income shot up in the last 12 years. Previous to that pensions were based on giving everyone the same calendar year pension based on 1200 work hours. Now we get credit for actual hours worked and those who elect to work less hours get less pension. I have not seen the lazy, useless, employees make it very long in the construction unions in the last 25 years. Projects come and go and they get weeded out real fast. There is also a three day window in which you can send any new hire back to the hall with no questions asked. Apprentice schools are equal to none and the old days of buying a card is long gone. To join as a 100% journeyman there is a skills and real application test that the applicant must score 95%. We have had only one person pass at a journeyman level in the last 8 years and he is a quality, in demand, top hand. I agree that sound financial planning is essential in whatever you do in life. All the eggs in one basket is never prudent. However it is certainly easier to put money away when you do not need every dime just to survive or maybe trying to save money for a child's health issues because of no insurance. Another union benefit is that when your employer closes the door for whatever reason, that employer does not have a chance to raid your pension first and a quality hand can go right to work for another contractor with no loss in benefits or break in insurance and at the same wage. I can not speak for other types of shops. I wish the OP to be prosperous in whichever he pursues.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
  8. RLU_tech

    RLU_tech Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Occupation:
    Mechanic
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Well I work for a municipality in the public sector, and yes it sounds very different. Our union lost pretty much all of its power. My employer has made some recent changes which have really made it tough for new employees. When I started, it took 2 1/2 years to make it to top pay. Now it takes a new employee 11 years! Pretty much same starting and top wages but takes an eternity to climb the pay scale. They've also cut sick pay and overtime. Not here to whine or complain, but can't see how these new policies will attract quality employees in the future.
     
  9. Former Wrench

    Former Wrench Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    366
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Montesano, WA
    Go with the union shop. it will offer you an apprenticeship so you will be learning from journeymen. When I served my apprenticeship I started at 80% of full scale and got a raise for each of the 8 half year periods, then you turn out as a journeyman. if you can, get into the Operators because you can go anywhere as a traveler. In the past I used my card to work every where from Alaska to Texas. Plus, with that card you can start learning to operate. I learned to run small (15 ton) cranes because of the need to set an engine or do other heavy moving work. Think about this because this is a big decision.
     
  10. ericscher

    ericscher Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    Messages:
    196
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    You should evaluate a Union job and a non-Union job on the same basis...

    What is the cost benefit analysis?

    Many unions these days are borderline criminal enterprises that are almost as bad as the political class they serve.

    TRADE Unions are less susceptible to this sort of BS because unlike members of a labor union their skills are transportable and they actually have to make an effort to provide a meaningful benefit for the dues they collect.

    Unions that thrive in "Right to Work" States are generally going to be the good ones.

    Moderator note:

    While the effort to make a distinction between a "Trade" union and a "Labor" union is acknowledged, it's important to post a reminder of HEF's policy on discussions of unions, which we have described as one of aggressive neutrality. In other words, it's fine to present facts, so that the reader can from their own opinion, but to state an opinion that any unions are "borderline criminal enterprises" is clearly out of bounds, as would stating an opinion that any given union is the best thing since ice cream.

    While that line could have been edited out, sometimes it's useful to leave examples of what's out of bounds, so that everyone can have a clearer understanding of where the boundaries are.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2015
  11. andoman

    andoman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    midwest
    I think it comes down to the people you work for more than the shop type. I'd rather work for a hard working, accessible, and involved owner than someone that runs the corporate crap with three managers between you and them.
     
  12. Diesel Dan 92

    Diesel Dan 92 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2014
    Messages:
    54
    Location:
    West of Lansing, MI
    Union guys crack me up about all the money they 'deserve'

    Start a company and after making NOTHING for the first 3 years, try and pay yourself a union wage lol.

    Moderator note:

    See my note in Post #10 above.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2015
  13. Old Junk Man

    Old Junk Man Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    119
    Occupation:
    retired
    Location:
    11143Hwy 90 West Pocahontas Arkansas 72455
    The fact is whoever you work for unless its the government must make a profit from whatever it is you do for them. No one is ever going to pay you enough to make you wealthy. With the decline in production jobs the future of unions are pretty uncertain. I made the best money working for myself or working for a percentage. I drove truck for 25% of gross revenues and if I hustled made $250 per day. I belonged to the operating engineers union for a few years. I got tired of paying dues to work half of the time. And lastly It don't matter how much you earn. Its how much you get to keep that counts. Don't equate money with being wealthy. When you sell part of your life to another person for wages you become their slave. Get a copy of the book titled Know How to be Rich and read it.
     
  14. oceanobob

    oceanobob Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    695
    Occupation:
    general contractor
    Location:
    oceano california
    Am watching my former helper "while away time" as he waits only for the next good pay job.

    This is about him, not the structure of the labor pool... His nature and the gaps in the employment don't make up for the experience that could be gained otherwise. And if he did get that opportunity to advance, is he actually capable of properly shouldering the responsibility....?

    What worked for one of us won't work for the next of us. Regardless of what one does, gotta solve the short term as well as the long term.

    I have learned it is sure a lot easier to go to work and work well when you get along with the folks around you.
     
  15. Buckethead

    Buckethead Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,048
    Occupation:
    Operator
    Location:
    Porkchop City
    It's funny, the contractors who actually sign my checks don't complain about paying the rate and benefits. But every Tom, **** and Harry who has never worked a single day in the construction industry and has rented a skid steer or mini-ex to work in their backyard, (or better yet watched some YouTube videos of equipment) is so sure that we are overpaid because "driving" machines is easy". :rolleyes:
     
  16. Steve Frazier

    Steve Frazier Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Messages:
    6,119
    Location:
    LaGrangeville, N.Y.
    OK guys, a Moderator has given two warnings to keep this thread factual. I continue to see comments that are nothing but inflammatory. This is the final warning. Another off color remark that doesn't answer the original question and this thread will be shut down. By the way, this question has been asked here numerous times with similar results.

    My advice: Both Union and Non-union employers vary from place to place. Either can take care of their employees or either can neglect them. You will need to do some research in the area you wish to be employed to answer your question.
     
  17. crewchief888

    crewchief888 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    1,664
    Location:
    NWI
    i've been working in non union dealerships for 30 years. a couple were good dealers, a couple not so good.

    the good dealers ive stayed with, 10 years with one, 17 years with another. the "bad" dealers were short term employments.

    some union's contracts are great, some not so great.
    some dealers get along fine with the union, others seem to be constantly butting heads :beatsme

    for me, anyone (dealer or union) that didnt want to tell me what benefits were offered, would be a deal breaker for me.


    :drinkup