Labor unions provide an opportunity for workers to bargain collectively for wages, rather than competing against one another. The State of Florida has a number of labor unions, ranging from the service industry to construction and manufacturing. For those interested in union employment or apprenticeships in the state, knowing what your options are is the first step.
Ironworkers work on large-scale construction projects such as skyscrapers and highways. They create the steel skeletons of these structures as well as prepare areas for filling with concrete. Most ironworkers learn the trade in an apprenticeship lasting between three and four years. Florida has two Ironworker locals in the state, including Local 402 in West Palm Beach and Local 808 in Orlando. Growth in the field is projected at 12 percent in the years between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Ironworkers Local 808 200 East Landstreet Road Orlando, FL 32824 407-859-9366 ironworkers808.com
Machinists work manufacturing precision parts and tools with machine tools such as lathes and milling machines. Many machinists in the 21st century work with computer numerical control systems, programming computer-operated machines to do work traditionally done manually. Florida has a large number of machinist union locals scattered throughout the state in such disparate locations as Milton, Jupiter and Jacksonville. Machinist jobs are projected to decline by 5 percent between 2008 and 2018, although the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects good job prospects for well-trained machinists.
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers 277 Tallulah Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32208 904-765-5004
The service industry enjoys union representation from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). This union has five locals in the state, and one of these locals (Florida Public Service Union) organizes at different locations in the state. The SEIU organizes Florida employees vertically (that is, everyone on a specific job site) rather than horizontally (by trade), although the union finds its membership strength through public-sector employees and healthcare workers.
Service Employees International Union, Health Care Florida Local 14645 NW 77th Ave, Suite 201 Miami Lakes, FL 33014 305-623-3000 seiufhu.org
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers represents electricians in Florida. The union has many locals in the state covering trades such as outside line workers, telecommunications workers and electrical construction workers. Locals exist in places such as Reddick and Tampa. The electrician field is expected to grow by 12 percent between the years 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 915 5621 Harney Road Tampa, Florida 33610 813-621-6451 ibew915.org
Operating engineers work with large-scale construction equipment such as cranes, backhoes and bulldozers. Operating engineers in Florida are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 487. The local offers an apprenticeship program that begins at 50 percent of journeyman wage, increasing every six months. The field of operating engineers is expected to grow 12 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 487 1425 NW 36th Street Miami, FL 33142 305-634-3419 iuoe487.org