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Apprenticeship offers the best of both worlds: paid on-the-job training and related classroom instruction.  Since 1933, formal apprenticeship has played an important role in assuring North America of a steady supply of skilled workers.
In many ways, the apprenticeship system has been one of America's best kept secrets!

Formal apprenticeship is most highly established in the Building Construction Industry where management (the building contractors) and labor (the craft unions) maintain a long tradition of working together to recruit and  train new workers in order maximize the productivity of its workforce! The vast majority of union carpenters, electricians, plumbers, sheet metal workers, ironworkers, glaziers and elevator constructors learned their trade through formal apprenticeship.

However, outstanding job training opportunities are not just limited to the building construction industry! Many industries sponsor apprenticeship programs and many corporations and government agencies offer summer internship programs
which offer high school and college students a chance to earn income and gain valuable work related experience before they graduate!

is a practical source of information regardless of which career or job training program interests you. We'll guide you to outstanding online resources. Apprenticeship is an excellent place to start your career search!

Apprenticeship is intended to be a self-help information based web site-always free to the user. We are not an employer, a labor organization,  immigration advisor or a job placement agency.

So why not join the thousands of young men and women across the U.S. and Canada who are earning excellent wages and benefits as they learn a skilled trade or vocational skill.

Are you ready? Let's get started!

John L. Web Manager
12. Are all building trades workers represented by AFL-CIO affiliated labor unions?No. Over the last 10 years, non-union contractors have taken over many areas of the construction industry. Non-union contractors are also referred to as "open shops", or "merit shops".By spending little or no money on employee training, and paying relatively low wages and benefits, non-union contractors can usually out bid their union counterparts.Much of today's residential housing construction is built with non-union labor.
13. What are some of the main differences between working for a union contractor as opposed to a non-union contractor?Generally speaking, it is to the worker's advantage to work for a signatory contractor, that is, a union contractor, for the following reasons:WAGES: Union workers generally earn much more in wages and benefits that their non-union counterparts.Union wages are established by collective bargaining and guaranteed by a contract. A contractor, who is a signatory to that contract, cannot pay his workers less than the wage agreed upon. A union worker cannot agree to work for less than the current union scale. This is to prevent workers from "undercutting" their co-workers wages so as to obtain special favors, such as more work hours or steady employment.Both the union member and contractor are obligated to the terms of their contract. Union members and/or contractors who violate the union contract are subject to penalties, or other forms of disciplinary action. Contract violations are taken seriously by both union members and their representatives.By contrast, non-union wage rates are often arbitrarily established and negotiated on an individual basis with each employee. Some non-union contractors pay their workers by the "piece work" method. For example, a drywall applicator might be paid a set price for each 4'x8' sheet that he installs, in lieu of an hourly wage.
  • FRINGE BENEFITS: Here again union workers are usually far ahead of their non-union counterparts in terms of health, welfare and other fringe benefits.
Many union contracts provide:
  • Health Insurance
  • Extended health insurance during periods of unemployment
  • Tax deferred, employer funded retirement plans
  • TRAINING: Many craft unions maintain their own training facilities whereby any union member can upgrade his skills and keep abreast of the latest technologies in the trade.
The value of union membership cannot be overstated. Due to the cyclical and temporary nature of the industry, a craftworker may work for many different contractors throughout the course of his working career. The surest way to protect one's wages, health insurance and retirement plan is through union membership.


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