Q. How do I join?
A. By completing application forms either at the nearest Local office or online.
Q. Do I have to hold a trades qualification certificate (ticket) to join?
A. No. You only have to show that you have been earning a living doing carpentry. It is our goal to help you get your ticket in the trade. We offer financial support for schooling. There are also excellent opportunities to start apprenticeships for those who have an interest in the trade.
Q. What does it cost to join the Union?
A. There is currently no initiation fee to join the Union.
Q. If I join, can I work for a non-union company?
A. Yes. However, consider that we can best protect the standards and gains in wages we have made as a union by resisting work with employers who are non-union and don’t subscribe to union standards and wages. The Union may also have policies or have passed motions to prohibit members from working for unfair or rat-union employers such as Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC).
Q. Will I have to attend Union meetings?
A. Members stay informed and have a voice in the affairs of the Union when they participate at meetings. Attendance is encouraged but not required.
Q. What tools will I need?
A. You will only need hand tools. The employer supplies all the power tools at the site.
Q. How much will I get paid?
A. The wage rate depends on the terms of the agreement you are working under and your qualifications. There are different agreements covering different sectors of the industry.
Q. Can I make my own deal with the boss?
A. Our agreements call for certain minimums; however, the employer may pay more than the agreed rates.
Q. Can I work piecework or sub contract?
A. Our agreements allow for piecework on certain projects in the drywall sector.
Q. Who sets my wage rate?
A. Conditions and wage rates in the agreement are negotiated with the employers and the Union negotiating committee. Members have the final say when a vote to ratify the agreement is concluded.
Q. What happens if I turn down a job when the dispatcher calls me?
A. Each Local has a dispatch system that shows who is available for work. If a member is not available or declines the job, the dispatcher simply moves to the next member available.
Q. Do I pay dues if I am not working?
A. Yes. Monthly dues are required to maintain your membership in the Union.
Q. Will I have seniority with a Union company?
A. Most construction agreements do not have seniority provisions.
Q. Do I have to rejoin if I move?
A. United Brotherhood of Carpenters members may transfer their membership from Local to Local anywhere in North America six months after becoming a member of the Brotherhood.
Q. Will the Union help me upgrade my skills?
A. Yes. As demand grows for a particular course, the Union will provide courses taught by professionals.
Q. Is there a promotion process?
A. Apprentices have a schedule for pay increases. Journeypersons can become foremen and superintendents based on experience and ability.
Q. Will I have to go on strike?
A. Most labour disputes are concluded without strikes or lockouts. The last lockout was in 1986.
Q. Why do Union members call each other brothers or sisters?
A. A Union is a family in that members support one another and stand together on common issues.
Q. What are ‘rat’ unions?
A. ‘Rat’ unions are employer-dominated organizations established to prevent bonafide unions from representing workers and getting better wages and conditions.
Q. Is there still a need for unions?
A. Yes. Through a union workers have a fair say in their wages, benefits, and conditions. Unions set the standard in the industry. Without unions, non-union bosses would continue to drive down wages and conditions, making it more difficult for workers to earn a living wage.
Q. What can the Union do for me?
A. Unions provide opportunity, training, benefits, better wages and working conditions, assistance in WorkSafeBC and employment insurance issues, and representation in the workplace. The Union provides the way for a better life for you and your family.