There are many ways you can become a Boilermaker: you can start as an apprentice, join an existing union, or even organize your workplace and form your own.
Organize Your Workplace
If you work at a factory, shop, plant or other facility where there is no union, you can begin the process of forming a union and negotiating with your employer for a contract that spells out your working conditions, wages and benefits, and other requirements.
A Boilermaker organizer will lead you through the process, which typically involves forming a worksite committee, signing union cards and conducting a union election under the control of the National Labor Relations Board. You and your fellow workers will be assisted by the organizer and sometimes by other union Boilermakers in building support and winning the election.
Become a Construction Boilermaker
If you’re skilled and experienced in the construction trades (welding, machining, rigging, etc.), you may qualify to begin work on jobsites where union field construction Boilermakers are employed. A Boilermaker recruiter can help guide you in affiliating with a local lodge, usually one in the geographic area where you live.
If you are new to construction but have the aptitude, you may be eligible to begin work as a Helper and learn the trade as you go. You may also have an opportunity to enter the Boilermakers’ four-year apprenticeship program and become a journeyman in field construction.
Case Study: Steel Fab
When workers at a fabrication shop in Virginia wanted to form a union, they contacted the Boilermakers for help. Here’s how these workers defeated a union-busting firm hired by their employer, won their union election, and secured their first collective bargaining agreement.