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Frequently Asked Questions

Q WHAT IS A UNION?
A A labor union is nothing more than a group of working men and women who agree to stand together for better wages, working conditions, and benefits. By standing together and bargaining collectively with employers, workers gain the power to negotiate a fair wage for their labor. A power that individual workers do not have. Through unity, workers can insist on a fair wage, health care benefits for both themselves and their families, pension benefits for security in retirement, safe job sites, and training for tomorrow's work force.

Q WHAT IS AN APPRENTICE?
A An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade by working under the guidance of skilled workers of that trade, called journeymen. It is on-the-job training. You earn while you learn, and are paid a wage from the first day you become a working apprentice. Today, many women are training as apprentices, too. As an apprentice your wages will start at 60% of the journeyman rate of pay and will increase periodically until you reach the full journeyman scale. It usually takes four years to become a journeyman. But, remember, the training costs you nothing!

Q HOW DO I PREPARE MYSELF TO QUALIFY FOR APPRENTICESHIP?
A If you are still in school, you should take courses which prepare you with the skills needed to succeed in apprenticeshipócourses such as basic mathematics, drafting and mechanical drawing, wood shop, and construction courses offered through the public education system.

Q HOW DO I JOIN?
A By filling out an application form at the Carpenter Training Center. The office is located at 652 Ridge Rd. Pittsburgh, Pa 15205, phone number 412-262-1830.

Q WILL I HAVE TO ATTEND MEETINGS?
A Members stay informed and get a voice in the affairs of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters by participating. Unless working, apprentices are expected to attend.

Q HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WAIT TO GET ON A UBC JOBSITE?
A This depends on the amount of projects in the local's area. The office will call members or Contractors may name request. 

Q CAN I MAKE MY OWN DEAL WITH THE BOSS?
A Our agreements with UBC Contractors call for certain minimum. Employers may pay more than is set out in the agreements.

Q WHO SETS MY WAGE RATE?
A Minimum rates are negotiated with the employer and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters through collective bargaining. Members have the final say when a vote is conducted to ratify the agreement.

Q DO I PAY DUES IF I AM NOT WORKING?
A Yes. Dues per month are $25 for Journeymen, $20 for Apprentices, $16 for Early Retirees, and $6 for Disabled members and Senior Retirees. These are dues that help and support Millwrights / Pile Drivers L.U. 2235.

Q WILL I HAVE SENIORITY WITH A UBC COMPANY?
A Our agreements do not have seniority provisions.

Q DO I HAVE TO REJOIN IF I MOVE TO ANOTHER TOWN OR STATE?
A As a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, you may transfer your membership from local to local anywhere in North America six months after becoming a member of the Brotherhood. Your local dues must be current to transfer.

Q WILL THE UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS HELP ME UPGRADE MY SKILLS?
A Yes. As demand grows for a particular course, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters will provide courses taught by professionals at no cost to members.

Q IS THERE A PROCESS FOR PROMOTION?
A Apprentices have a schedule for pay rate increases. Journeypersons become foremen and superintendents based on experience and ability.

Q WILL I HAVE TO STRIKE?
A Most labor disputes are concluded without strikes or lockouts.

Q WHY DO UBC PEOPLE CALL EACH OTHER BROTHERS AND SISTERS?
A The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is a family - in that members support one another and stand together on common issues.

Q MY FRIEND SAYS, UNIONS ARE A THING OF THE PAST, IS HE RIGHT?
A Through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, workers have a fair say in their wages and benefits. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters set the standard - without this - non-union bosses would set wage rates - making it impossible for workers to earn a living wage.

Q WHAT CAN THE UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS DO FOR ME?
A Office staff will assist you with employment related issues, like E.I. Appeals, Employment Standards issues, Workers Compensation claims, medical claims, etc. Remember, the U in Union is YOU - U can make a difference - organize and mobilize. Better working conditions and wages for all!

© United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 2235
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