Specialty Crafts

Cabinetmaker and Millworker

Cabinetmakers and Millworkers will cut, shape and assemble wood products, including moldings, panels and furniture. They also fabricate store fixtures, which includes the use of metal, plastics and glass. Many work on exhibits and display cases. Cabinetmakers and Millworkers operate a number of machines, including power saws, planers, joiners and shapers. They create the woodwork, cabinetry and décor commonly found in shopping malls, banks, hotels and office buildings.

Certified Energy Analyst (CEA)

Certified Building Envelope Specialists fix a home’s existing problems and Certified Air-Sealing Installers are trained to seal up the leaking areas in the home using industry-accepted materials. We train these Certified Energy Analysts (CEAs) to go into homes and conduct energy audits to inform homeowners where they are wasting energy and losing money by having an energy-inefficient home. They are capable of making the building envelope tighter so that the energy used by homeowners to heat and cool their homes doesn’t escape. A properly sealed, energy-efficient home makes for a comfortable home…and a comforted wallet.

Form Carpenter (Concrete)

A Form Carpenter handles all the materials necessary to prepare and dismantle forms for pouring concrete in residential and commercial construction. A Form Carpenter must have the skills to cut, drill, modify, clamp, glue, weld, burn, staple, hang, wire, nail, join, screw, fasten, assemble, hook up, sling and signal all the varied materials used to form concrete. Form Carpenters also frame, mold, shape, brace, erect, align, plumb, level, grade, elevate, raise, underpin, lay out, shore and stake many elements of a construction project, including the bulk headings, expansion joints, scaffolding, footings, piers, walls, columns, beams, decks, roofs, stairs, floors, slabs and planter boxes. Once the concrete is poured, Form Carpenters also strip and dismantle the forms.

Drywall Installer

There is more to being a drywaller than just putting up sheets of drywall. They are responsible for laying out the site and even putting up metal studs that the drywall attaches to. Drywall Installers are also involved in soundproofing a room, but more importantly they make sure that all the work they do meets fire safety requirements.

Flooring Installer

A flooring installer does the installation of carpeting, hardwood flooring, soft tile and linoleum-type products made of vinyl, rubber or cork. Synthetic sport floors, turf-type material and many other resilient products are also the work of a flooring installer. A flooring installer must be trained in preparation of the subfloor and the proper choice of many different materials to ensure a smooth and level floor. Flooring installers must work from the specifications of architects and interior designers and must be proficient in geometrical inlaid designs in residential, commercial and institutional applications such as hospitals and schools. Proper maintenance and cleaning is also a big part of their work.

Exhibit and Display Installer

Exhibit and Display Installers erect and dismantle trade shows, like those at McCormick Place, the Rosemont Convention Center and Navy Pier. From flooring to framing to millwright work, they do it all. They uncrate exhibits and display materials, plus they install and take down the cabinets, fixtures, shelving units, and furniture. Exhibit and Display Installers lay floor tile and carpets, hang and install structural signs, and re-crate exhibits and machinery. They also install and dismantle scaffolding, bleachers and gang chairs.

General Carpenter and Joiner

Carpenters and joiners work with many tools and materials to build houses, erect skyscrapers, and construct bridges, tunnels and highways. Just about every building in a community is at least partially built by skilled carpenters. The term “joiner” refers to the craft that cuts and fits joints in wood and in various other materials. To be a carpenter is to be a member of one of the oldest and most respected trades.

Heavy and Highway Carpenter

Heavy and Highway Carpenters build much of the infrastructure involving transportation. They build the bridges and retaining walls on roads and highways. They frame the concrete for deep tunnel projects and pump stations. In airports Heavy and Highway Carpenters frame bridges, walls and pump stations. On the lakefront they frame sea walls and erosion control projects. They also work on railroads building bridges and stations. Bridges and their related retaining walls provide the majority of heavy and highway work.

Insulation Installer

They install fiberglass, rock wool, cellulose open-cell foam and closed-cell foam insulation in the walls and ceilings of new houses, offices, high-rise buildings, strip mall stores and remodeled homes. Insulation Installers put in fire-stopping materials whenever buildings require them. Most of the insulators work for either a residential insulation company or a commercial company.

Interior Systems Carpenter

This is an expanding field of work, which offers challenges to many people entering the construction trades. It involves the installation of a variety of factory-produced systems and construction materials in commercial buildings and public structures. Specialized skills are brought into play as they assemble complex interior systems from floors to ceilings using technical data supplied by manufacturers.


Lathing is an ancient trade that goes back to the days when buildings were built with stone and plaster. The lather applies the basic framework for the plasterer. At one time lathers worked with wooden strips called lath; now lathers work mostly with wire and metal or plastic mesh to create the structures and various shapes that help create the wonders of ornate ceilings, dome ceilings and the walls of many buildings. In order to achieve the sometimes spectacular creations, lathers use tie wire, screws, nails, clips and staples to fasten metal studs, metal lath and drywall. They also work with various gypsum products, E.I.F.S. and any product where the framework built by lathers is eventually covered by plaster, drywall materials or other finished surfaces. Although lathers work indoors much of the time, their duties also involve working on the outside of buildings and other structures in situations often requiring the use of scaffolding. Lathers work with a variety of hand and portable power tools, and frequently cut, join, weld and fasten metal.


Millwrights are an elite group who work primarily in metal and with machinery and equipment requiring precision. They install giant generators and both electrical and wind turbines. Millwrights install and perform maintenance on machinery in factories, as well as much of the precision work in nuclear power plants. They are also skilled construction mechanics that study and interpret blueprints, and then put their knowledge and expertise to work drilling, welding, bolting and doing whatever else is necessary to assure that the cogs of industry are in perfect working order.

Pile Driver and Commercial Diver

These are the people who work with pile-driving rigs. Usually the first workers at the construction site, they drive metal sheet piling to hold back dirt during excavations. They drive concrete and metal piling as part of the foundation system upon which skyscrapers are built, and they drive wood and concrete piling to hold up docks, wharves and bridges. In some cases they work on offshore oilrigs and as commercial divers involved in underwater construction. Pile drivers are also required to install heavy timbers and work with a variety of hand and portable power tools, and frequently cut, join and fasten metal construction materials using welding equipment and oxy-acetylene torches.

Residential Carpenter

Residential carpenters primarily work on new homes, additions, renovations, apartments and condominiums, starting with the foundations all the way to the roofing. They assemble and erect the frameworks of residences, build the partitions, install the drywall, windows, garage doors, flooring, and insulation. They also do the finish work like cabinets, trim and hardware. Residential carpenters are on a job from the start to the completion and have experience in nearly every aspect of the construction.

Roofing Mechanic

Roofing mechanics install shingles and other materials needed to protect the interior of homes, buildings, churches, and schools. Carpenter Roofers install and maintain steep sloped roofs being covered with asphalt or other shingling materials that encompass a very broad spectrum of shingle types and styles.

Scaffold Builders

The vast majority of carpenters are skilled in the erecting and dismantling of numerous types of scaffolding like welded frame scaffolds, mobile tower scaffolds, tube and coupler scaffolds, systems scaffolds and suspended scaffolds.

Siding Installer

Siders measure, saw, level, and install all types of siding and soffit materials on the exteriors of houses, churches, and many other types of buildings. Where the roof hangs down past the walls this is called soffit and fascia, which can be made out of cedar, vinyl, aluminum, or fiber cement.

Union Health & Retirement Benefits Apprentice & Training Programs Political Action Built to Last Television Union Merch