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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Somerset, NJ
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    743

    Default Union framing crews

    Has anyone hired a union framing crew for residential remodels? What are the pros and cons? I assume all footings would have to be dug and poured by me. How far out of the "framing" zone will the crew move to do their job? Also, is it worth the cost?

    Jay
    "American political opportunities are heavily loaded against those who are simultaneously intelligent and honest" --Richard Dawkins

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Never done it myself, but I've known many union and ex-union carps working in residential and some of them were really good. If you're not a contractor who's signatory to a union agreement I don't know if you can hire thru the union anyway. If that's what you're thinking of doing then I'd call the business agent and see what can be done. Is there not a residential crew you can sub to? Might be a lot less complicated.
    Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
    Website - Facebook

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Martinez, California
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Jay:

    Do you mean to hire union carpenters to work for you and have them do your framing? If so you have to sign a union contract and hire all union carpenters (they really don't care much if you hire other non-union subcontractors, although they are suppose to). Or do you mean to hire a framing contractor who is union to do your framing?
    “It is not an endlessly expanding list of rights —the “right” to an education; the “right” to health care; the “right” to food and housing. That is not freedom. That is dependency. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cortez, Co
    Posts
    312

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Dick, I looked into that years ago and there are many other trades under the carpenter umbrella. You say they may not care, but what if they do? Are you setting yourself up for trouble? Maybe the two gate job, which always seemed pretty hypocritical to me.

    Side note: Last time I was in the hall there was a tool for sale on the bulletin board: I quote " Radio Alarm Saw". Make your own interpretation.

  5. #5
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    Jun 2004
    Location
    Martinez, California
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    John:

    Around here the carpenters' union's business agents never checked other trades, even on larger jobs it took the Building Trades association to show up and complain to the carpenters union that carpenters were working alongside non-union plumbers or whatever. If one trade picketed the job, then the carpenters wouldn't cross the lines, but even with that we set up dual gates to get around it and our laws only allowed them to picket one gate. Of course these rules are local and vary, but that's the way it was around here prior to going right to work.
    “It is not an endlessly expanding list of rights —the “right” to an education; the “right” to health care; the “right” to food and housing. That is not freedom. That is dependency. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    3,287

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Where do plan on finding union carpenters in NJ to do framing? Most of them don't work with anything other than metal studs and pre-fab forms.

  7. #7
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    May 2007
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    right around the corner
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    1,609

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Kovacs View Post
    Where do plan on finding union carpenters in NJ to do framing? Most of them don't work with anything other than metal studs and pre-fab forms.
    THAT IS NOT FUNNY,



    that is ironic which makes it even FUNNIER!

    BTW I still hold a card
    JASON

    "The measure of success is how high you bounce after you hit bottom"

    George S. Patton

    www.jmsbuildersandremodelers.com
    (shameless plug for the google bots)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    5,888

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    The UBC will set up a residential agreement for you if you wish. I would never sign a contract with the UBC to supply labor for a residential project unless I was sure it was something I was willing to live with for the rest of my career. It's easy to get them into your life but once you're signed it's very difficult to get them out. The simple solution would be to find a contractor who uses union labor to price the work for you. If you contact them they may be able to give you some names. Laborers international also represents residential carpenters and framers so you may want to contact them. Don't sign anything though or agree to let one of their organizers have access to your employees or even give them your company name without good legal advise

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    2,196

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    I'm sitting here pondering why anyone would consider hiring a union crew.

    And don't think for a minute you wouldn't get bullied for not taking on other union workers for the other phases of the project.

  10. #10
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    Sep 2004
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryJR View Post

    And don't think for a minute you wouldn't get bullied for not taking on other union workers for the other phases of the project.
    In my experience that's not the way it works at all. Construction workers fight for jurisdiction over claimed work and try to exclude other unions. I've sent letters in to be read in court stating that I've used union carpenters to place concrete and unload millwork when laborers international claimed that work from another contractor claimed that work. I don't have an agreement with the laborers. I use carpenter apprentices and day laborers as jobsite laborers and to do demolition when I gut stores. In some malls the laborers raise a stink and I have to bring in a signed sub (who in my case is also my electrician so it's not a big deal). Never have I been under pressure to sign with the laborers. If I did sign with another union that's where the trouble begins. They 2 unions then start fighting over who does what work. You spend a lot more time and resources on these jurisdictional disputes which are a drain on your organization and personal energy.

    If I asked the average union carpenter to say install ductwork 9 out of 10 would give it a shot rather than give the job to another union. The idealogical mindset that unions are conspiring and working together to take over the industry exists in a very small minority of union workers. It's their individual market share first then fraternity between unions a distant second.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2004
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    Holly Springs, GA
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Dave-

    I think what Gary was referring to was, once the carpenter's union is on the site, you'll suddenly be visited by the BA from the electricians, the plumbers, etc. He wasn't referring to internal squabbling over what work is who's between trades.

    Jay-

    I guess the big question would be- why? Even if the local hall could supply you with guys capable of doing the work in a timely fashion (doubtful), do you really want to sign an agreement and end up using union carpenters on all your work? Do you realize the difference in cost, benefits, working hours, foreman/journeyman ratios, etc?

  12. #12
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    Sep 2004
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Kovacs View Post
    Dave-

    I think what Gary was referring to was, once the carpenter's union is on the site, you'll suddenly be visited by the BA from the electricians, the plumbers, etc. He wasn't referring to internal squabbling over what work is who's between trades.
    This is what I am referring to as well. My experience is that the carpenter's BA will protect you from other BA's rather than spread word around that you are ripe for the picking. There's a little bit of gamesmanship going on now days. The UBC wants their contractors to be competitive and hire carpenters. If their contractors are signatory to other union contracts they are less competitive and won't be competitive in winning jobs for their membership. This hasn't always been the case and may not be the case in every local but the UBC has realized that their health depends on the health of their contractors. Even 10 years ago the BA's used to talk and co-operate but as the old guard dies out the leadership is being replaced with more realistic more business like leadership. There's also a major threat from company unions like CLAC who represent all the trades on a jobsite for the companies they sign.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Upstream
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryJR View Post

    And don't think for a minute you wouldn't get bullied for not taking on other union workers for the other phases of the project.
    Yup, just like they did in 'The Sopranos'. ;)
    Richie Poor

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    2,196

    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Dave K,

    The unions are bullies and I know it first hand. They can not keep up with non-union workers and they know it and it exposes there inefficiency.

    I'm getting steamed up right now thinking of all the experiences I've had and all they are are money sucking bullies who think they have the right to everything under the sun.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    midwestish
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    Default Re: Union framing crews

    Gary, you could just go out and hire some Pinkerton's to send a free enterprise kinda message....
    “I find the curiosity of our men with respect to this animal is pretty much satisfied.”
    ~ Meriwether Lewis

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