How to Join

If you think being a carpenter is the career path for you, then union is the way to go. Carpentry is an excellent career choice and a very self-rewarding job. Union carpenters earn higher wages, work in safer conditions and have access to great benefits including medical, dental, vision, pension and annuity programs.

For more information, please contact the local union in the area where you currently reside or one of our Apprentice Training Centers. We look forward to working with you.

Why become a member?

Being a union carpenter means good jobs and wages for working men and women. More importantly it gives them the resources to provide for their families, secure a successful career in life and allows them the means to retire with dignity and respect. The benefits of being a union member are countless, but here are some basics.

Numerous, Diverse Career Paths

“Carpenter” is a blanket term used to define the numerous skills performed by tradespeople in our union. Throughout its history, the Carpenters union has developed many specialty trades. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters offers apprenticeships in each and offers every member continuing and developmental training in all of these specialties. Many have become proficient in numerous trades.

Members of the Carpenters union include:

  • Cabinetmaker and Millworker
  • Form Carpenter (Concrete)
  • Drywaller
  • Flooring Installer
  • Exhibit and Display Installer
  • General Carpenter and Joiner
  • Heavy and Highway Carpenter
  • Insulation Installer
  • Interior Systems Carpenter
  • Lather
  • Millwright
  • Pile Driver and Commercial Diver
  • Residential Carpenter
  • Roofing Mechanic
  • Scaffold Builders
  • Siding Installer

Apprentices Earn and Learn

An apprentice is someone who is learning a trade while working under the guidance of skilled workers called journeymen. Apprenticeship is on-the-job training. As a carpenter apprentice you earn while you learn. You start at 40 percent of a skilled journeyman’s rate of pay and wages are increased at periodic intervals until they are 80 percent of a journeyman’s wages. Please access the section “Educational Programs” to learn more.

Great Benefits

As a member of the Carpenters union you will be working under the protection of a union contract and your family will enjoy a long list of benefits. Compare these benefits to what you have now. The benefits of being a union worker are countless, but here are some basics:

Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA or contract): A CBA spells out the hours of work, and the terms and conditions of employment. It provides for a grievance and arbitration procedure and so much more.

Wages: The most obvious advantage of belonging to a union is higher wages. A contract establishes wage rates for the term (length) of the Agreement as well as for the different types of work preformed. Some higher skilled jobs deserve higher pay. This and other types of considerations are all spelled out in the contract. We fight hard to get the best wages and benefits possible for our members.

Health Care: The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Welfare Fund Active Plan of Benefits provides eligible participants with comprehensive medical, dental, vision, hearing, prescription drug, disability and life insurance benefits to carpenters and their families. In order to help you and your dependents stay healthy the Active Plan of Benefits covers preventive care for the entire family, from complete medical evaluations, wellness checkups for kids, immunizations, annual routine vision exams, oral checkups and cleanings, to much more. Check out what is available to you now and in your retirement years by accessing the Union Benefits & Pensions website.

Retirement: The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters’ Pension and Millmen Pension Plans provide you with financial security should you become disabled or retire. For construction participants, the Supplemental Annuity Plan, a participant directed investment, completes your Pension Plan benefit so that you can enjoy your retirement years to the fullest. Visit the Benefits & Pensions site to learn more.

Training: Not only does the union provide an initial pre-apprentice training, which covers construction math, blueprint reading, safety training and other basic work practices, it also provides a four-year comprehensive Federally approved training curriculum that will enable you to become the highly skilled Journeyman that today’s designs and technology demand. Once you have completed your apprenticeship and become a Journeyman, the training doesn’t stop there. The union (and our signatory employers) provide for continuing education. Please access Educational Programs to learn more.

Placement: As a union member you will have access to a union-provided referral service for employment. If you get laid off, you’re local and your servicing business representative will assist you in finding another job. Unlike many labor unions the carpenters union has no restrictions on its members finding their own work, so there is no waiting on a list until your name comes up.

Transfer to Another State: If you decide to move to another state or area you won’t have to worry about looking for another job because as long as the state has a carpenters union you will be able to work in that state as a union carpenter. But the wage rates do vary in different states and areas.

Vacation and Holidays: Many people don’t realize it, but if it were not for unions we probably would not have vacations or holidays. Your Collective Bargaining Agreement establishes vacation time and holiday accrual and their guidelines.

Being a union carpenter means good jobs and wages for working men and women. More importantly it gives a carpenter the resources to provide for his or her children, secure for them a successful start in life and a promising future, and allow him or her the means to retire with dignity and respect.

To join the Carpenters union or to obtain more information, click here to find a local union in your area.

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