WELCOME TO RIVER DAVES PLACE

Any (blue or white collar) welders in here?

rickym20

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If you decide to get into the Ironworkers union , Don’t turn down any company to get your foot in the door. But once your in, seek out a miscellaneous metals company. They do handrails/ stairs and stuff of that nature. That work is finish type work so although it’s still production based , they are typically left alone as long as the finished product comes out right.

Depending on the type of structural welding on a multi story job, it is very production driven and competitive. Of coarse if you are great at it, you will need to ask for days off since they typically are working steady and overtime.

I have wire certs(232& 305) and stick certs but in my part of the trade , we use the light gauge certs (D1.3) .

If I were you and had the means to do so, start your business and reap the rewards of your hard work. Good luck in what ever you choose.
 

Backlash

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I'd get whatever certs you can and then start focusing on TIG welding and offroad fabrication. Become proficient in that then go to work for one of the many offroad shops in the SoCal area. Learn more while getting paid and perfecting your craft. Later, open up a shop on your own. Many have done just that and have become successful. There are also many who have failed miserably, so......
 

Nanu/Nanu

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Forget what you know about being a welder it won't be needed in this trade.


Or if you want to do the welding thing try to get on with the power company. So cal Edison, LA DWP. I don't know many others but, they all have welders and pay you really good wages will put you through an apprenticeship so if you leave you have a ticket for a union job somewhere else. And you will be well versed in all disciplines of welding. It may take sometime but a lot can be achieved by networking and calling the HR dept. Weekly just to ask if there's any openings.
 

evantwheeler

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Interesting, I would agree. Im learning a lot by listening to what everyone has to say. Yes I love welding, but the emotion isn't going to drive my decision. Its time for me to make real money.
How do you define “real money”? I don’t know any welders that got rich working hourly for wages. Sure, I know many of them that live very comfortable, and if the wife has a good career you can live well in So Cal with the nice house and all the river and sand toys. Working hourly, the only way you get rich is by saving and investing. Two welders started with our owner in the 70’s. They worked side by side for over 30 years. One lives on top of a mountain in Fallbrook in what I consider a mansion that he owns outright, the other lives in a house In Murrieta that he used to own but got foreclosed on and then had the owner of the company buy from bank so he could stay in it and has paid monthly rent to owner for years. For all intents and purposes, these guys made the same money over those 30 years.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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How do you define “real money”? I don’t know any welders that got rich working hourly for wages. Sure, I know many of them that live very comfortable, and if the wife has a good career you can live well in So Cal with the nice house and all the river and sand toys. Working hourly, the only way you get rich is by saving and investing. Two welders started with our owner in the 70’s. They worked side by side for over 30 years. One lives on top of a mountain in Fallbrook in what I consider a mansion that he owns outright, the other lives in a house In Murrieta that he used to own but got foreclosed on and then had the owner of the company buy from bank so he could stay in it and has paid monthly rent to owner for years. For all intents and purposes, these guys made the same money over those 30 years.
Hustling is a tough gig and is for a select few. I have many friends that have gone the way of working for themselves and they have made a name for themselves but that comes with a big sacrifice. None of them have much time to vacation anymore and they can not shut things off when they are.

Like @evantwheeler said you get ahead investing and saving working hourly but you can take your vacation whenever and turn your phone off and just be with the family.

If welding is your passion seek out and find a place that will teach you and certify the crap out of you and pay you well. The education and certs. Will be very handy if things get sideways and you ever have to leave.
 

WTR&PWR

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I have been an IBEW member 12 years and with LADWP for 10. Our welders do real well. You won’t be rich but if you use your money well you will be very comfortable. I work a lot of OT so that helps. Get any job with the city of LA then come over to DWP that’s usually the quickest route. I’m a Senior substation electrician and the job is awesome.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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does this mean there is a hard decision point for the OP? is UBEW or union membership exclusive of 'hustling'?
No no matter what you hustle. I was just trying to say when you're on your own the work doesn't come to you and you need to turn work out quick to make more money.

My father in law has been an independent contractor for probably 35 years now and is very well established and has gotten to a point of semi retirement set up his guys to go on there own before laying them off.

He has scored some big jobs just on his reputation of being fast and having great quality even when he bid higher to deter the customer. On vacations he's had to preplan and spend a couple hours on the phone each day getting things lined out. He has said he envies me sometimes because I have a job where I can make good money working overtime but I get to shut er' down when I go home or on vacation.
 

evantwheeler

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does this mean there is a hard decision point for the OP? is UBEW or union membership exclusive of 'hustling'?
I would say "hustling" is being an entrepreneur and taking risks, working 16-20hr days building a business, and working weekends until your hair is grey and you have established yourself in an industry. A young kid (27) on one of my jobs in New York has his own business operating two brand new welding trucks and a shop during the day, and works night shifts at union gigs to maintain health insurance and benefits. He's a hustler. There's a difference between hard work and hustling in my opinion. I work hard, but I'm not a hustler.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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I would say "hustling" is being an entrepreneur and taking risks, working 16-20hr days building a business, and working weekends until your hair is grey and you have established yourself in an industry. A young kid (27) on one of my jobs in New York has his own business operating two brand new welding trucks and a shop during the day, and works night shifts at union gigs to maintain health insurance and benefits. He's a hustler. There's a difference between hard work and hustling in my opinion. I work hard, but I'm not a hustler.
Yes this is what I was trying to say. 100% agree
 

Waffles

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New jobs are posted on Fridays and the ultra rare (1 time in 2 years) Tuesday. Welder was posted a little over a year ago so it might be about another year, cement finisher was posted a month ago. I think carpenter will be posted in the next 12 months as well. The easiest way into the city is finisher worker and maintenance and construction helper.


You can set up an alert for when a particular job is going to open here

I would actually suggest looking everyday. Ive seen quite a few job listings (which im assuming are very sought out) get posted for only 24hrs.
Even those that have an extended filing deadlines but have "Open till filled" or "This announcement has an application limit of XXX applications and will close to the receipt of applications once this limit has been reached." usually fills up within a day or two. Its been like this for the last 3 years or so now.
 
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ltbaney1

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i have a stack of paperwork saying im certified for various process and material. worked underhood for a couple years, couldnt wait to get out from underneath it. 8-10 hours under a hood doing structural iron. i still keep everything current and still work out of my garage for side cash. let me know if you have any questions. i went through the whole program at OCC.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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thanks. so a man can actually do both - be a union memebr AND also side hustle? there's no union clauses that stand in the way of hustling? that would be darn good news for everyone.
As far as I know conflict of interest is one thing but yeah I work on dirt bikes and atvs as a side hustle from time to time. And work about 60 hours a week as an hourly wage journeyman lineman and Im very comfortable and have been blessed to have what I got.
 

evantwheeler

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thanks. so a man can actually do both - be a union memebr AND also side hustle? there's no union clauses that stand in the way of hustling? that would be darn good news for everyone.
the rules vary by trade/union/location in my experience. For example, I’ve been told by some crane operators that have worked for me in the past that if they retired out of the union and then went and operated a crane non-union, they would have their pension pulled if the union found out.

There are so many variables I don’t think one can make a blanket statement saying yes or no. I would say if your side hustle was outside of your trade, they would have no grounds to object.
 

Bobby V

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the rules vary by trade/union/location in my experience. For example, I’ve been told by some crane operators that have worked for me in the past that if they retired out of the union and then went and operated a crane non-union, they would have their pension pulled if the union found out.
Same in my union.
 

BHC Vic

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Same in my union. I can use my cwi after I retire and inspect. That isn’t carpenter scope per se.
 

CarolynandBob

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I ran a structural steel shop for many years, We did misc. metal and large structural. As others have said you are only going to get rich by working a ton of hours and investing. You can make decent money and live ok. We would hire a mobile welder to fill in when needed. He was an outstanding welder. I think we paid him 300 a day and he would guarantee his welds. If one failed ultrasound he would air arc it out and redo on his dime. He also had to use his own supplies.
 

BHC Vic

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Ok so everyone keeps saying you won’t get rich... I disagree. Our two old welding instructors curt and mike and our old coordinator tom opened their own shop. http://www.ctmwelding.org/
They are doing very very well. I guess it depends on to it definition of rich but I’d call them white collar welders who do extremely well. All CWI’s and I call them white collar because all though they are bad ass welders they make their money teaching, consulting, and writing procedures. They aren’t really welding to make money.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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I guess I was hoping the welder guys would answer specifically if the OP was at a rock/hard place in this regard. BHC Vic seem to be the closest to that possible answer.
Doesn't sound like the OP is between a rock and a hard place at all. Sounds to me like he is trying to get advice on if he should work for himself or work for someone. I think he has been given decent options. I will advise going the way of a union apprenticeship as your wages will be fair and you will more than likely learn more than one discipline. what you do when you get your journeyman ticket is up to you but you're benefits will be decent wages fair and education top notch and you will be a well rounded welder.
 

boatnam2

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I ran a structural steel shop for many years, We did misc. metal and large structural. As others have said you are only going to get rich by working a ton of hours and investing. You can make decent money and live ok. We would hire a mobile welder to fill in when needed. He was an outstanding welder. I think we paid him 300 a day and he would guarantee his welds. If one failed ultrasound he would air arc it out and redo on his dime. He also had to use his own supplies.
So that is $1500 a week, with no bad welds, after he pays for his truck, fuel and supplies what do you think he was netting a week?
 

Icky

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150k is pretty easy to hit these days in the trades if you're good at what you do and working OT /DT. Then again their are guys just barely scraping by.
 

Christopher Lucero

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opened their own shop
that's great. is everyone there a union member? do they specifically require AFL-CIO adherence? or is it a mix of non and member?
please do not seem to feel that I am slamming the union...the debate is long running and the risks and returns are as variable as the people who do the work.
generally, I agree that a hard worker will do well either way. so to me it comes down to a choice between a big brother that will watch and care for you or being an independent who does not prefer the stricture of big brother caring.
I am asking these things because my personal union experience (not welding, a SEIU job) is that you specifically cannot work nonunion and take a wage so the moment you join, you sign up for that limitation, and you are bound for 2 - 7 yrs until you get your hours in.
the OP @LBsuperJET should be entirely aware in order to make a fully informed life decision.
There is this guys synopsis (of pipeline welder union) on YT
there is good debate about pros and cons there as well
 

BHC Vic

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that's great. is everyone there a union member? do they specifically require AFL-CIO adherence? or is it a mix of non and member?
please do not seem to feel that I am slamming the union...the debate is long running and the risks and returns are as variable as the people who do the work.
generally, I agree that a hard worker will do well either way. so to me it comes down to a choice between a big brother that will watch and care for you or being an independent who does not prefer the stricture of big brother caring.
I am asking these things because my personal union experience (not welding, a SEIU job) is that you specifically cannot work nonunion and take a wage so the moment you join, you sign up for that limitation, and you are bound for 2 - 7 yrs until you get your hours in.
the OP @LBsuperJET should be entirely aware in order to make a fully informed life decision.
There is this guys synopsis (of pipeline welder union) on YT
there is good debate about pros and cons there as well
Carpenters union works a little different. As far as I know curt and mike collect their union pension and run their shop while being retired. In my experience and I have worked both union and non union the benefit and pay doesn’t even come close. I’m pretty open about my life, so I make over 150k a year with full medical, dental, a pension, an annuity, and 401k. I don’t know anyone in the non union that receives that. Part of my fringe benefits is my vacation check. Yes my contractor pays into it every hour I work, but that’s an extra 6g every 6 months I get. Most members don’t get sick pay, but I’m a little luckier and I do. But that’s kind of how the vacation check works. Safety is pretty huge if anyone cares about that. The real main difference between union and non union is training. I’m an instructor so I feel pretty strongly about that. So the simple answer is the only way I could come close working non union is being the company owner. But then what risk am I taking on? What kind of hours is it going to take. (I work too much anyways). It’s something I’ve gone over a lot. At this point in the game I’m really happy where I’m at. If things went south, and nobody ever knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, I absolutely would try to open my own shop. But I wouldn’t have been able to go that route without the training and experience I received from the union. Both the a apprenticeship and international training centers, as well as year of running big jobs and gaining that experience. Guardians of the Galaxy was a lot of fun but no doubt took years off my life. I was just the general foreman, not even the company owner.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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It's all good I can not speak for other union experiences but as for the IBEW there is no issues with receiving non union wages. I've known plenty of lineman that have moved over to the non union side of a utility (management) and still pay dues to keep their IBEW A member status in case they decide to go back into their tools. Obviously when said individuals are in management although they are in good standing with the local they cannot attend meetings or vote on contractual things.

So that's why in my original post I suggested trying to get on with a power company. wages are good benefits are great and training is top notch. The IBEW is a great union to be a part of.
 

HBCraig

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@LBsuperJET
Which demo outfit does your wife work for? Just curious as I sold a tin of equipment to demo outfits.
Hustle and try to get into the construction equient Dealers and contractors. Those guys always need buckets and teeth welded. Moreover, the demo guys like to run a bead of "hard facing" on the leading edge of the bucket. They also put hard facing on their breakers
 

LBsuperJET

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@LBsuperJET
Which demo outfit does your wife work for? Just curious as I sold a tin of equipment to demo outfits.
Hustle and try to get into the construction equient Dealers and contractors. Those guys always need buckets and teeth welded. Moreover, the demo guys like to run a bead of "hard facing" on the leading edge of the bucket. They also put hard facing on their breakers
Great idea actually. She works for Northstar demolition. They are as busy as they can be right now.
 

LBsuperJET

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Or just even someone in the business. A close friend from the church we go to is a higher-up at ESAB. He travels the world showing shops and crews how to use their newest products. He does VERY WELL.
 

BHC Vic

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Or just even someone in the business. A close friend from the church we go to is a higher-up at ESAB. He travels the world showing shops and crews how to use their newest products. He does VERY WELL.
I have a couple ESAB tig welders. Bad ass
 

CarolynandBob

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So that is $1500 a week, with no bad welds, after he pays for his truck, fuel and supplies what do you think he was netting a week?
I am guessing a 1000-1200. Not great money for sure.

"opened their own shop " Yes if you own the shop then great, you will do better. Then you have the risk and cost to open up the business. Not saying that is bad, that is the route I would go if I was a welder.
 

Nanu/Nanu

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So I just pulled out my contract middle number is what journeyman welders make hourly at my power company. In Arizona I'm sure wages are higher in California.
KIMG0328.JPG
 

Nanu/Nanu

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That's your base pay. When you're done setting up your benefits i.e health insurance retirement and then union dues and obviously state and fed taxes come off that.
 

rickym20

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That's your base pay. When you're done setting up your benefits i.e health insurance retirement and then union dues and obviously state and fed taxes come off that.
Had me ready to pack my bags and leave my California wages haha.
 

LBsuperJET

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That's your base pay. When you're done setting up your benefits i.e health insurance retirement and then union dues and obviously state and fed taxes come off that.
Gotcha. That number looks fantastic. So that would be the total pay before benefits etc pulled out?
 

CarolynandBob

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So I just pulled out my contract middle number is what journeyman welders make hourly at my power company. In Arizona I'm sure wages are higher in California. View attachment 1001900
So 50 and hour x 2080 work hrs per year = 104K minus. Maybe ok money in AZ, but CA no, especially to sweat under a hood all day. We paid our guys close to that. Non-union and they worked a bunch of OT, but in Southern CA they were still just doing ok. I am not knocking welders. It could/should be a good career. I am just saying it is tough in Southern CA to live off of that pay.
 

BHC Vic

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California journeyman carpenters your total package is about 65 bucks an hour base. (Welders and foreman get more) I work over 2400 hours a year we are renegotiating our contract right now. July we take another dollar to your annuity and I don’t know what we are getting in the new contract I’ll find out next week at the delegates meeting
 

Nanu/Nanu

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I think it would be tough to live in southern California off any kind of pay.

I don't know what Cali wages are but they are higher than Arizona. As stated it's an option for the OP to explore if he would like.
 

Hoodoo

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When the boat business crashed in 2008, this boat builder was out of business. The story goes, he was sitting on his dock drinking beer and decided he’d fab up a stand up drink holder. His neighbor liked it and wanted one. So he decided to make a few decorative pieces out of left over T top tubing. Demand exploded locally and he’s still building them today. I think they look silly but he sells a ton of them.
 

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