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Union vs Non-union

Rich W
Rich W Member Posts: 175
I'm confused. I worked 20 years (union) for a gas utility. At 18, I attacked the job of repairing mains. Most, not all, of my co-workers attacked me and told me to slow down "you're not going anywhere- I have more seniority ". Two years of this then I went to meter reading- same story for five years. July of 1986 and four out of over 200 employees at our station encouraged me to take a service job. They said my knack for electronics would be a perfect fit. We had a truly great instructor and lab for hands-on-training. I worked my butt off, ignoring the same old complainers. I was determined my kids would go to college. Before that first winter was over, I was the "go-to guy". All repeat/ intermittent calls ended up with me. I invented a 9 input data logger for catching intermittent problems. Since this could be left behind without union employees watching the lights twinkle- and being paid to watch- they hated it. I made it because it was frustrating when I could not solve a problem that was not there the same time I was. I made a few other things and took many classes they considered threatening. I also did service training. By 1999, I couldn't take it anymore. I believed the story that a smart, hard worker could make more money non-union. I took a few months to decide on a company that promised the moon. Six months after hiring in, the service manager turned into Mr. Hyde. He's diabetic and liked to go for a Coke, Twinkies and Snickers everyday at 10. I had a ton of good customer comments. NEVER late since I was 18. The owner gave me nice bonuses and raises and asked me to stay. Two years of this and I left. Three more left after me. Six months later, I was told the manager was fired. The last four years have been weird. This owner expects everyone to be an expert at everything. He was never in the field except to help his dad set toilets for one summer. A normal day: clean a plugged sewer drain, install a water heater, diagnose rooftop control problem, give estimate and sales pitch for A/C and Furnace. I was told I would be in-charge of the HVAC service dept. when I hired in. I was the service dept. until my conversion to jack-of-all-trades. The 401K/retirement fund did not exist and my "free insurance" costs me $55 per week. The office consists of his wife and mother. Don't you dare complain about wrong phone/street numbers- their job is very difficult...SO, I THINK BOTH SIDES HAVE ISSUES. In 1987, I made $44K union; I barely made that last year non-union. For all I'm expected to know I think I deserve a lot more. The owner does not promote the business and we have many of "those" customers. Yes, you know the ones who call and complain about the price. He cuts a chunk off the bill and they tell their friends, friends, friends...Sorry Rich, there's no money for a raise...

I am strongly in favor of education...BUT, are there ANY good companies?
I'm 46 and would like to find a place to work HVAC service for the next 20yrs at least. How do you screen the employer???
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