Union membership

Well I know this is a bit of a basic question but i’m a little lost on the subject. Basically I am confused about joining a union etc and how it works.

from what i understand the point of joining is you get a certain standard of pay, safety, and benefits that you otherwise would not be guranteed? I was just reading the SIU website and just got more confused than anything. This is where I stand at the moment:

I have my MMC, STCW, and TWIC. I was in the navy as a machinest mate but never worked on a ship, only in a shore based operation refurbishing equipment. I have spent the past two + years working in a Marina where I am running small boats, anywhere from 12ft - 50ft, doing everything from running from one side to the other of the hudson. I also work on a 70 foot racing yacht. I think I am considered an ordinary seaman but I may have enough time to get AB, but I have no idea. I am assuming i’m not.

my question is do I now just join a union, do i need something more, or what. I am in NYC, i am looking for an entry level job in a tug company idealy. I would like to get in on the ground floor of a solid big company more than anything else. any advice or links would be great! Thanks!

Jobs are really hard to get right now in NY harbor.

You can register with (not join) the UMD Local 333 for a small fee.
There are about 100 names on the list, yours would go on the bottom.

well jobs may be hard to find, but i just need to find one solid one, and till then i have a solid steady job i love. The ONLY reason I am leaving is theres no upward mobility, I manage the whole operation. Its just a very small business. so what do i do just show up and get on the list? and is that for jobs?

also can i look for Non union jobs while waiting for union jobs? i have a few good leads and one possible interview coming up.

Seadog wasn’t trying to be discouraging, he was be realistic and honest. Your further comment about, “solid” is a significant hurdle. Union companies are going to be more solid for the employee, without any guarantee, but may be harder to attain. With non-union the company may be solid, but the employment may not be stable.

In NYC the summer is typically slower (no movement of east coast heating oil). Then given the economy and issues in the Gulf, employers can pick and choose right now. Which would make me wary of solid and stable unless you’re putting a lot on the table, which doesn’t sound like the case (in comparison to AB’s with 2 to 3 years tug experience).

Your timing sucks. I’m not saying give up, but it may be more prudent to hold on to what you have for the time being. If you decide to proceed, just be VERY careful. You may be exchanging solid for unemployed in short order.

IMHO, do not leave your present job until you find a new one.

Register at the 333 Union hall on Staten Island. It is a minimal cost. There ARE a whole lot of guys on the list ahead of you. But you have one advantage. You have a mechanical repair, and Navy training history to ‘advertise’ to prospective employers.

Your questions about joining a Union need further clarification. I have been a member of: SIU, 333, and 25. Only SIU acts like a proper Union, providing an actual ‘hiring hall’ and Union benefits, pension, medical plan, and schedule. The other two (among others) only provide a hiring agency approach, no medical, no training, and no outside benefits. BUT, they DO provide a Union wage, and better (IMHO) working conditions.

Most any Union you join by signing up for a 30 to 90 day temporary registration. If during this time you find employment at ANY job covered by them you then have a certain amount of time to fully join and pay up for full membership. However the jobs are ‘found’ differently at different Union Halls. Most (if not all) NY harbor companies you can call directly (provided you have registered with 333) Then if you get hired you must join the Union. At SIU you will get the jobs directly through the Union Hall. Again there are a few companies that you can call to ‘bypass’ the hall. But that would be very few.

As others have said, The choice (or preference) to join a Union company will affect your job opportunities. You may decide to go specifically non Union, and look that way.

BUT… This is a terrible time to be looking for jobs. A couple years ago you would have been begged to come to work on boats. Now you almost have to camp out on the doorstep of the companies to even get noticed!