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Old 12-19-2017, 07:30 PM   #1
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Default Any Minnesota Union Plumbers?

Just looking to see if there are any union guys from Minnesota here. I have a couple questions. Basically I'd like to join the union, local 15. But I'm not quite sure how it works. As a 4 year apprentice, would I have to start the apprenticeship all over? I'm eligible to take the journeyman test but not sure how willing my boss is going to be to sign off on the hours and application I forwarded to his desk as me may feel I am looking to jump ship. Which is why I am wondering if I would have to restart the apprenticeship because looking at the pay scale, a 4 year apprentice in the union makes WAAAAY more than I do right now. Also, if I were to wait until I got my journeyman license, how hard would it be for a new journeyman to get in to the union?

Those are the only questions I have at the moment.
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MNPlumbedIt View Post
Just looking to see if there are any union guys from Minnesota here. I have a couple questions. Basically I'd like to join the union, local 15. But I'm not quite sure how it works. As a 4 year apprentice, would I have to start the apprenticeship all over? I'm eligible to take the journeyman test but not sure how willing my boss is going to be to sign off on the hours and application I forwarded to his desk as me may feel I am looking to jump ship. Which is why I am wondering if I would have to restart the apprenticeship because looking at the pay scale, a 4 year apprentice in the union makes WAAAAY more than I do right now. Also, if I were to wait until I got my journeyman license, how hard would it be for a new journeyman to get in to the union?

Those are the only questions I have at the moment.
Not sure how the union does things there in Minnesota, but here in PA, the union officer I met with on Monday told me they typically donít honor it. He said there have been times where they have started guys off as a 2nd year apprentice due to their knowledge, but being as their apprenticeship differs from local, it wasnít the same.

From what he told me, as a fourth year apprentice in the union, I could take the local journeyman test and be a licensed journeyman with the city, but still be an apprentice in the union with no pay scale increase due to licensure. Then as a fifth year apprentice in the union, I could test for my masters license in the city, with no influence on pay wage.

So even though you could technically be a master in said jurisdiction, youíre still considered an apprentice in the union. Like I said, thatís here. But seeing how the locals are part of the UA, Iím going to assume that carries over state to state. Best thing you can do is contact your local UA office, which in your case 15 and talk to a board member.

Gentleman I talked to told me they have different branches of the union, one being a Spec builder, which is more suited towards residential/light commercial. He said Iíd more likely have a chance of my time being honored towards journeyman status being a spec builder, but the pay isnít as great. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:28 PM   #3
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I asked another guy over reddit and he was pretty sure they reset the apprenticeship, that would be pretty lame, it would turn in to a pay cut if I were to go back to year one. I don't think that they reset for journeyman though but I could be wrong. i have an employee that was a journeyman non union working with us and he quit to join the union, and I am about 99.9% he wouldn't have gone if his journeyman status basically went to apprentice.

Still would like some more input from others.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:34 PM   #4
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Here in Wisconsin, everything gets run through a state sponsored JAC. All of our hours and schooling are logged through the state, every month. So there is no hoping your boss honors it. On the flip side, the only way out of our apprenticeship contract with our employer is layoff, or you quit the apprenticeship.

We had one kid in our union where his non Union company folded, and he got in with a union contractor. He was started at his current year with our union, but he had to do a lot of night school hours over, because his non union schooling wasn't up to par. Another thing to think about.

Also be sure you want to do union type work. Typically bigger commercial and industrial jobs. Not usually residential.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:51 PM   #5
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Well. If you (and your family if you have a wife and kids) are not fully insured now, the union insures you 100% day one. That is half the battle there. 250/500 dollar deductible and low copays. Take a pay cut but hell after a year youíre making good money and fully insured. To me, thatís worth it.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:08 PM   #6
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Yes, insurance is huge! And don't forget pension as well. My pension is over $9/hr.. Total package with insurance as a 3rd yr is very good. I won't say on here, but I make a decent living.
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Old 12-21-2017, 12:18 AM   #7
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Yes, insurance is huge! And don't forget pension as well. My pension is over $9/hr.. Total package with insurance as a 3rd yr is very good. I won't say on here, but I make a decent living.
Forgot about the pension. Like I said before, Iíd just talk to your local union. Heíll, we live in a world of technology. If you donít like talking on the phone, Iím sure they have an email contact.
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Old 12-30-2017, 04:36 PM   #8
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Been away for a bit sorry for the late response, thanks for the input thus far.

It sounds like in MN they will make you re-do your apprenticeship. I'm fairly certain that they will honor the journeyman license if you are already licensed since it through the state. I have a buddy who quit here a few years ago to go union and I am 100% sure he wouldn't have gone they would have put him back in apprenticeship.

However for me, I just sent in my application to the state to take my journeyman exam, so I will go from there. Hopefully I can pass on the first swing but I can take it every month if I do not pass, so with time, it will come.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:31 PM   #9
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In Chicago I had a non union journeyman organize in as a 4th year and a 4th year organize in as a 2nd year.
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Old 01-06-2018, 01:13 PM   #10
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The UA has a program called direct entry, where prior experience is used to place you in apprenticeship program. International is in a big organizing push. It is supposed to apply to all locals, but the very large and powerful such as 597 or 130 will have influence on how it is executed in their jurisdictions.
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