should I work for union or private contractor?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by unsaint32, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. unsaint32

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 13, 2004
    14
    0
    I am graduating from a tech school with a 2 year electrician diploma.

    I was wondering if anyone might share insights into differences between

    working as a union electrician apprentice or working for a private

    contractors.

    Pay is not that important to me. But longterm career advancement,
    therefore trainning, is also important to me.

    I hope to work oneday in industrial control or electrical drafting

    area.

    thanks
     
  2. Erin G.

    Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    167
    1
    There are some significant differences between union an non-union shops. The worker's rights are supposedly more protected in a union shop, but I can tell you from experience, the company will eventually get what it needs, regardless of union rules.

    I've worked in industrial controls (in manufacturing) for more than ten years, in a non-union shop. For the last year I've been back in the power plant, in a union shop. The difference for me is that professional development is better where I'm at now, compared to the manufacturing job. If you stop to think about that, it's easy to see that what I'm after is a function of company philosophy, rather than a union vs. non-union issue.

    Go where you're going to get the best long term benefits for your career and continued professional development, and don't worry so much about whether it's a union shop or not.
     
  3. unsaint32

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 13, 2004
    14
    0
    Hi Erin, as always I have lots of questions for you. Any answer'd be appreciated.

    First of all, don't you need to first join the union, in order to work for a unionship?

    You said professional development is better at the union shop. What do you mean by the professional development? Better training? Or more structuralized work practices?

    I want to ultimately want to do industrial control work. I am excelling on the PLC class that I am taking now. And I want to keep at it after I graduate from my tech school this May, (since when I join the workforce, I won't be touching PLC probably because I am fresh out of school).

    I was thinking I would purchase a cheap old PLC unit maybe from ebay or something and practice at home. Or take advanced PLC classes if I found one. Any advice on what I should do to help my goal to be working industrial control jobs? What's your take on the outlook of PLC? Is it being taken over by the PC?


    *I have a gmail account. If you need one, I can send you an invite email to you and you can have that account too. It's a pretty good deal because of its size---1Gig byte on internet.
     
  4. Erin G.

    Senior Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    167
    1
    Once your probationary period is over with most companies, they will get you into the union. The other way is to go down to your local union hall, join as an apprentice, and let them help find you a job. I've never done that, but from what I've been told, it's alot like going through a temp agency. It's great if you want to be journeyman and wire houses and office buildings for living, but not very rewarding, otherwise.

    What I mean by better professional development is better training and continued education programs. Not only the amount of training, but the quality of training is greater as well where I'm at now, in the union. When I worked for a non-union shop, training was done in the most bare-bones and informal ways I've ever seen, and as infrequently as possible. But that has nothing to do with being a union shop. That's more a function of company policy. This is the kind of thing you should be asking about when you interview for a job.

    However, the work and work practices are much more structured in a union shop, as opposed to a non-union shop.

    PLCs are being replaced by PCs in certain applications, but will never be completely phased out. There are too many stand alone operations where a PC would not be economical. Not only that, but PLCs manufacturers are getting very good at networking. You should keep up with PLC technology, but you should not ignor PC languages. There are a lot of programs in industry written in C# and Visual Basic, and believe or not, there's still alot of Turbo Pascal in current use out there.

    No need to buy a PLC. There is a program that you can down load via the web that is a Rockwell RS Logics simulator. It costs about $80. I'll find a link and send it to you.

    erin_krista@hotmail.com
     
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