If You can not decide whether to join or not an electrician union after completing the electrician training, below are stated some advantages and disadvantages of being an union electrician.
Few advantages of being a part of an union are that it will work on Your behalf to negotiate the best remuneration possible. This is useful, because when negotiating, one person has less leverage than a group. Another benefit of being in a Union is the increased benefits, for instance, more paid leave time for vacations and possibly a better health care benefits. Union electricians should be exposed to all types of work, but usually are working on larger commercial and industrial projects. This is because it is difficult competing for residential work with higher union pay rates.
Among disadvantages for being in a union one must mention that some electrical contractors are none union shops and thus will not hire union members. Reasoning for such action is that not all small electrical businesses (for instance, with less than 10 employees) would have enough risk tolerance towards possible employee strikes organized by the union (all union members have to take part in such protests if the majority votes for it). This means a job completion is put under risk, which consequently affects businesses ability to pay electrical employees all the high salaries and other benefits. From the employee point of view, strikes mean no paychecks for a limited period of time.
Many electricians who go the union route, don’t even bother getting licensed simply because they don not perform work independently, and therefore don’t need the license.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is perhaps the largest electrical union with over 750 000 members in the U.S. & Canada. Its members are involved in a wide range of fields, including construction, utilities, broadcasting, telecommunications, railroads, manufacturing and government.