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Alberta Welding Union - Your Opinions Please

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  • jasonspoon
    replied
    Thanks to everybody who replied to this thread. However, I don't want it to turn into "these foreigners are taking our jobs." If you want to debate that topic, you'll have to start another thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • albertawelder
    replied
    I was in Lloydminster working for Boilermakers 146 3 years ago. They brought people in from Chile. I had just moved some 5000kms across the country to work there, had to pay my own plane ticket, stayed in the crappy mobile home the employer owned for $400 a month (for 1 bedroom out of 4), walked 45 mins to and from work every day. Then, these people from Chile come in and the company pays their airfare, lets them stay in the trailer next door for free and even rents a large van to drive them to and from work every day. They would actually drive past me while I was walking to work in the morning. I was actually treated worse because I was from Canada. That I could not understand.
    The foreign workers at that time were genuinely needed because of a huge labor shortage. Today the story is a little different, with layoffs becoming more common in Alberta. I know a lot of employers perfer to have the foreign workers here becuse they are more "loyal" than the people born and raised here. Meaning that because they have an employer-signed work visa they cannot go across the street to make an extra $10/hr, and have to stay with one company. Also, because their residency depends on the company, they are often more willing to "do as they are told".

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  • c wagner
    replied
    If I remember they were bringing them in from China.
    Lots of people didn't even know they were doing it until there was some type of accident, that kinda let the cat out of the bag.

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  • davedarragh
    replied
    Old Sparks

    Wow! That was interesting! Where are they bringing or allowing these immigrants from? Here in the States, we've been yelling about illegals for ever, and still are! Yes, I do advocate and agree that Labor Unions are needed more now than ever. Not only for the safety issues, but for reasons you've stated. It's interesting learning about the issues that our Canadian neighbors deal with as we do here in the U.S. Sounds like similar problems with different names and agencies to disguise the problems! Stay warm, 75 and sunny in Phoenix today!

    Leave a comment:


  • c wagner
    replied
    OldSparks that was very interesting... very disturbing but interesting, I was totally unaware that they wanted to bring more people in.

    I think it's pretty stupid to bring more people into this country to work when we have so many people in the East that need jobs, I'm sure I'm not the only one that sees it this way.

    Leave a comment:


  • OldSparks
    replied
    Maybe a little off topic but I think it needs to be said. Aside from the safety aspect we still need unions and their organizing skills as much as ever. Case in point is the temporary offshore workers that were brought in to work northern Alberta camps. These were originally allowed to fill specific manpower shortages. Now, even though the economy has changed and projects are being cancelled/delayed, what happens. The gov't wants to fast track imigration policies to let them and thousands more in permanently. Their reasoning is that we need the population growth. I see it more as meaning the larger the unemployed workforce the easier to cut wages and benefits. Who knows, maybe the gov't will set them up with low interest loans so they can buy their own rigs. Anythings possible. Hopefully by standing together we'll have some say before this gets out of hand.

    Quote from imigration.ca
    "And with the introduction of the new Canadian Experience Class, expected to take hold later this summer, Canadian authorities will have the tools to give preference to applicants who are currently working in Canada.

    Should the new rules take effect in the weeks ahead, Canada will be elevated into the category of the world's largest employment recruiter and the immigration authorities will have access to one of the worlds largest pool of qualified applicants."

    Leave a comment:


  • davedarragh
    replied
    Albertawelder

    I'm sure there are Provincial differences in Canada as there are between the States. For instance, Arizona is a "right to work State," or "open shop." That means a shop, warehouse, or any Unionized workplace can have less than 100% Union membership, based upon "non-compulsory" laws. On the other hand, when I lived and worked in Ohio (burrr), it's one of the stronger Union Labor States in the Country, (even though they're all moving to Arizona) so I can see how things can be different between Provinces. It's unfortunate that Labor Unions have taken such a bad rap over the years, some has been brought on themselves through corruption, others just "dried up." Having said that, what or who isn't corrupt? Just look at the Governments, (commenting on ours), executives of industries, so forth and so on. It still behooves those of us in Labor, that we support the labor movement. Trust me, they are needed more now than ever, to protect what few jobs we all have left available to us. If they could import skyscrapers, bridges and football stadiums, I'm sure they would. Sounds like the Boilermakers are seemingly sound and busy in Alberta. Have a very nice evening, and stay warm Dave

    Leave a comment:


  • albertawelder
    replied
    It's not that Canada is different, it's Alberta that's different. There is such fierce competiton between employers for employees that many many companies pay union rates or very close to them.

    JV Driver in Alberta is unionized through CLAC and their first year rate is $25, second year $30 and so on. Decent wages. Although I have never worked for CLAC, I have heard some bad things about them..one of the most recent being the whole Finning-OEM remanufacturing thing which I wont get into here because I could write all day. CLAC is nutorious for being the choice union of EMPLOYERS not employees.

    I am a welder with Boilermakers 146. Great union. Here in Edmonton they have a huge welding shop where you can go and weld all day for free as long as you are a member. Any process, any material, all totally free. If you want to learn what you dont already know, there are plenty of welders there to help you with whatever you need. You just have to bring your coveralls..all the tools are supplied, even welding lids.

    The best thing I have found with boilermakers 146 work is a totally different mentality when it comes to safety. If it's not safe..don't do it. If it takes 1 day to do a job taking shortcuts or 1 week to do a job safely then you take a week instead of a day. I have taken this mentality to other non-union jobsites and foremen have found it hard to believe that someone would refuse to do certain work because of safety concerns. But that is the union mentality - never fear losing your job for refusing to do work that you dont consider safe. At the end of the day I consider the safety issues to be the biggest advantage of the unions here.

    The call-out for 146 gets pretty short for shop work in Jan-March, but if you want to go to fort mac or keephills there is lots of field work and they will let you weld pretty much anything you can handle.

    Live Better-Work Union

    I should listen to my own advice as right now I'm at a non-union job.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Wolf
    replied
    Thank you very much Dave for the information and your insight.

    If I ever get involved with a union, I hope my experiences are as positive as yours.

    Have a Good Day.

    Leave a comment:


  • davedarragh
    replied
    Good Luck Jason!

    Jason: Your work ethics and sound principles speaks volumes of your character. Many have "opinions" or say they've had a "bad experience" with Labor Unions. I've worked Union primarily all my life, and the couple of times I had to take non-union work (in between jobs, etc), what a difference! Many who cast aspersion against Labor Unions have also openly stated "they've never been a member." Unions are there to negotiate Collective Bargaining agreements with employers and provide the "safety net" of job protection through said agreement. In the 35+ years of Union membership, I can count the number of grievances I've filed on one hand. They were all viable, and were all settled by the 2nd step. Unions are NOT there to start or promote trouble, OR keep unsatisfactory workers employed. Granted, your social structure in Canada differs from that of our's here in the States, so I can not comment on how health & welfare language impacts your well being. Trade Union's Apprenticeship Programs are among the best in the free world. Local 469 Pipefitters here in Phoenix has an excellent program, and the Operarting Engineers World Training Center is located between Phoenix and Tucson. When I was an Executive Board member for the OCAW in Ohio, I wasn't popular with the "gold-brickers." They'd come to me crying about every little hang nail, and I'd tell 'em, "you don't want to work here, go find another job then." Jason, I hope this gives you the needed insight about the true purpose of the Skilled Trade and Labor Unions. Good Luck pal, and stay warm up there! Today: 75 and sunny in Phoenix

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  • jasonspoon
    replied
    Thanks for all the replies. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for the easy way out. My last shop job I was at, I was Foreman and a first year welder, I was made many promises that never were fulfilled. I don't want to go from job to job working for a bunch of greedy *******s. I'm looking for an employer who appreciates my loyalty, and work ethic. I don't have to be the highest paid, but I do expect to get a good wage.
    I've been hearing that the unions have the best pay when it comes to working for the man. I know I could make better money with my own rig, but I really don't want to be away from home all the time.(and I already ran a photography business for 8 years, so I'd like someone else to worry about the bills for a while) Once in a while is okay, but I have a wife and young kids. I'd rather give them my time than my money. That's why I think the union may be the best way to go. Good money, flexibility.

    Once again, thanks for all the replies.

    Leave a comment:


  • dmk welding
    replied
    I'm not too sure which union in northern Alberta is the best or the busiest at the moment. A buddy of mine works union up in Ft. Mac and I can ask him some questions for you about what's going on up there. I do hear rumors of MAJOR layoffs up there right now.

    I have also considered union lately, in Saskatchewan though. There is a pipefitters out of Regina and all the mines here are union run. I believe the top wages in Sask are with the unions by far, compared with shop jobs. But by being your own, independent contractor like myself and many others a guy can make anywheres from 10 K to 30 K a month and no union on this planet pays a journeyman welder that rate. So until the work dies out for rig welders I'm staying away from the union, although it would be nice to be closer to home and make decent money with good benefits, etc...i guess we'll see what happens.

    Anyways, all the best to you and I hope that you find what you're looking for and I will talk with my buddy and get back to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Wolf
    replied
    Okay, I am Going WAY OFF TOPIC Here !!!

    Yes Mr Bigs... Canada is VERY different than the US in respect to Unions.

    You, obviously are a great supporter of them, and that is fine. Me, I have never even HEARD of a Welding Union in Alberta. Other trades - Yes. Welding - No

    I acknowledge the place in the workplace that Unions used to have, but I do not see them as being particularly neccessary in today's day and age.

    I like the current set up. The ones willing to do the nasty work, in the severe conditions, make the most money. I do not expect (with my job) to make the same as a Pipeliner freezing his nads off on the line in -40 weather - Nor should I.... But by the same token, my job and my skill set is worth A LOT more than some trigger puller working in a factory in Edmonton or Calgary.

    If everything was dead even across the board, what would be the point of excelling, and setting yourself apart from the rest? Everyone would be scrambling for the easiest jobs where they could collect the Big Bucks for doing little or no work.

    Sorry, NOT how I was raised.

    Up here we give the boss and Honest Day's Work for an Honest Day's Wage.

    My work speaks for itself.

    My Blood, Sweat and Tears keep me employed AND Well Paid......Not a Union.

    No Offense intended. Just my Opinion.
    Last edited by Black Wolf; 12-01-2008, 07:03 PM.

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  • beaudoin66
    replied
    I'm a welder for the 359 boilermakers here in BC, and have just got off a job for the 146 local up at Suncor with lockerbie and hole. lots of inconel and chrome welding both tig and stick. i'd go for the boilermakers, but i hear good things about 488 aswell. I don't think you could go wrong picking either one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr Bigs
    replied
    Originally posted by c wagner View Post
    I don't think Canada is as Union orientated as the United States is.
    In lots of cases it can be a toss up, I have talked to lots of guys on both sides of the fence and most have had good AND bad experiences with unions.

    I would agree that in one point and time unions became a necessity and now because of unions MOST non union jobs have decent pay and benefits, sometimes better than unions.
    I don't have any particular experience with the unions you mentioned so I can't comment directly on that.
    Canada must be different because the only way a non union worker makes more money than his union counterpart is if he's related to the owner or gets money off the books. Union is needed now more than ever,if the union collapses things will get bad for everybody real quick because no-one will fight for you. Labor laws and prevailing wage standards and weekends were created because of unions.
    Last edited by Mr Bigs; 12-01-2008, 03:59 PM.

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