What are the benefits of becoming a union ironworker?
Being a union ironworker has many benefits. You can read about some of those benefits below in detail. If you’re interested in learning more about the Iron Workers Union in general, please Contact Us.
Union apprentices earn while they learn.
Apprenticeship classes are generally conducted after normal working hours to allow apprentices to gain on-the-job experience and bring home a respectable wage while they are in training. Some areas, however, provide classes during working hours. In some instances the apprentice may have to attend classes on Saturday. As an apprentice gains more skill throughout training, the pay for the work performed becomes higher. Starting pay is approximately 60 percent of a journeyman’s wage (the starting wage depends on the local collective bargaining agreement) and as you accumulate an established number of on-the-job hours, wages are increased at regular intervals, usually every six months. At the end of the term of apprenticeship, you graduate to journeyman status and will receive full pay for the skills you have attained.
The opportunity to earn journeyman status provides lifetime security for you and your family. Learning the skills for this essential trade means that wherever you may go the construction industry at the local level will need your skills.
Naturally, the greater number of courses and certifications you have earned, the more likely it is that there will always be jobs available to you. That means your education doesn’t - and shouldn’t - end once you complete your apprenticeship. Education is an ongoing part of life. Gaining knowledge and increasing your abilities provides interest and challenge in your work. Journeyman upgrade classes (available through the Local Union and contractors) provide you with the opportunity to continually increase your skills and keep up with the new technologies being introduced into the industry and, of course, make yourself more marketable.
College or a Trade? Have it both ways!
Apprenticeship training in the ironworking trade can be applied toward college credit. You can earn as many as 65 credits toward a college degree and gain skill in the most respected craft of the building and construction trades at the same time.
Think of it. You can be learning a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life, earning credit toward a bachelor’s degree, and making a living all at the same time. Talk about bang for the buck!
The Union Advantage
As a member of a union you will earn higher wages than non-union workers will. In most occupations union workers earn 34 percent more than non-union workers do. Unions have health care benefits, retirement plans, and short-term disability benefits and in many cases, an annuity and/or vacation plans. Non-union workers often do not receive these benefits, and those that do are completely at the employers discretion.
As a union worker you will be working under collective bargaining agreements - ratified by the membership - that emphasize equal pay and fair treatment. That means that every ironworker – male, female, minority, white – all receive the same pay and opportunities.
Additionally, union workers are better trained, have lower turnover, and share in decision making. In other words, you have a voice on the job.
As a member of the Iron Workers Union you will become a member of the AFL-CIO federation of unions whose membership totals more than 13 million. The AFL-CIO helps workers and unions combine strength and work together to improve the lives of working families, bring fairness and dignity to the workplace and secure social and economic equity.