Construction laborers perform a wide range of physically demanding tasks involving building and highway construction, tunnel and shaft excavation, hazardous waste removal, environmental remediation, and demolition.
Purpose of the Apprenticeship Program
The purpose of the apprenticeship program is to develop a qualified, versatile and safe work force. A skilled work force creates profit for the worker and the contractor. Owners of projects expect contractors to produce a quality project at a competitive price. Contractors must have skilled, safe workers to be competitive. Apprenticeship will give you a combination of on the job experience and off the job training to help you become a valued construction team member and a qualified union laborer.
The Construction Craft Laborer Apprenticeship program consists of 6,000 hours of on the job experience and a minimum of 480 hours off the job related training in Washington (4,000 hours / 320 hours for Utah) before being promoted to Journeyperson. Wages begin between 60% and 80% of Journeyperson scale and may increase between 5% and 10% each 1000 hours of work completed if all of the program requirements are met.
Applying For the Program
The selection process for new apprentices is based on past education and work history. Part of the selection process is a one-week pre-construction training course. During this week your ability to physically do the work will be evaluated. This course is used to teach basic skills, safety procedures, tool and material recognition, and traffic control.
To apply you must be 18 years of age, have at least a 10th grade education and have a valid driver's license. You must also take and pass a drug test.
Applications are accepted throughout the year. Interviews are held on a regular schedule at various locations. At the time of interview, applicants are expected to have proof of all items required on the application. Apprentices are taken into the program on a year-round basis depending on the need for new people in the various areas.
To find a location near you, please click on the "Apprenticeship Contact" link for phone numbers, or contact a Laborers local union hall for an application.
Or you may contact a Laborers local union hall for an application.
Jobs of A Construction Craft Laborer
Construction laborers need good manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and balance. They also need the ability to read and comprehend all warning signs and labels on a construction site and reading skills sufficient to understand and interpret plans, drawings, and written instructions and specifications. They should be capable of working as a member of a team and have basic problem-solving and math skills. Employers want workers who are hard-working, reliable, and diligent about being on time. Additionally, construction laborers who wish to work in environmental remediation must pass a physical test that measures the ability to wear protective equipment such as respirators. Computer skills also are important as construction becomes increasingly mechanized and computerized.
Construction laborers clean and prepare construction sites to eliminate possible hazards, dig trenches, mix and place concrete, and set braces to support the sides of excavations. They load, unload, identify, and distribute building materials to the appropriate location according to project plans and specifications on building construction projects. They also tend machines; for example, they may mix concrete using a portable mixer or tend a machine that pumps concrete, grout, cement, sand, plaster, or stucco through a spray gun for application to ceilings and walls. Construction laborers often help other craft workers, including carpenters, plasterers, operating engineers, and masons.
At heavy and highway construction sites, construction laborers clear and prepare highway work zones and rights of way; install traffic barricades, cones, and markers; and control traffic passing near, in, and around work zones. They also install sewer, water, and storm drain pipes, and place concrete and asphalt on roads.
At hazardous waste removal sites, construction laborers prepare the site and safely remove asbestos, lead, radioactive waste, and other hazardous materials. They operate, read, and maintain air monitoring and other sampling devices in confined and/or hazardous environments. They also safely sample, identify, handle, pack, and transport hazardous and/or radioactive materials and clean and decontaminate equipment, buildings, and enclosed structures. Other highly specialized tasks include operating laser guidance equipment to place pipes, operating air, electric, and pneumatic drills, and transporting and setting explosives for tunnel, shaft, and road construction.
A Construction Craft Laborer takes pride in the fact that they have a hand in every structure built in this country - below ground as well as above. They are one of the first crafts on the job and the last craft to leave the job.
Construction laborers operate a variety of equipment including pavement breakers, jackhammers, earth tampers, concrete, mortar, and plaster mixers, electric and hydraulic boring machines, torches, small mechanical hoists, laser beam equipment, and surveying and measuring equipment. They may use computers and other high-tech input devices to control robotic pipe cutters and cleaners. To perform their jobs effectively, construction laborers must be familiar with the duties of other craft workers and with the materials, tools, and machinery they use. Construction laborers often work as part of a team with other skilled craft workers, jointly carrying out assigned construction tasks. At other times, construction laborers may work alone, reading and interpreting instructions, plans, and specifications with little or no supervision.
While most construction laborers tend to specialize in a type of construction, such as highway or tunnel construction, they are generalists who perform many different tasks during all stages of construction. However, construction laborers who work in underground construction (such as in tunnels) or in demolition are more likely to specialize in only those areas.
Depending on the availability of work and on local training schedules, it can take an individual from 3 to 4 years to complete the apprenticeship. A core curriculum consisting of basic construction skills such as blueprint reading, the correct use of tools and equipment, and knowledge of safety and health procedures comprises the first 200 hours. The remainder of the curriculum consists of specialized skills training in three of the largest segments of the construction industry: building construction, heavy/highway construction, and environmental remediation (cleaning up debris, landscaping, and restoring the environment to its original state).
Workers who use dangerous equipment or handle toxic chemicals usually receive specialized training in safety awareness and procedures. Apprentices must complete a minimum 144 hours of classroom work each year.What will my first class be like?
The pre-construction training course is a highly structured 40 hour course. This course is designed to teach basic tools and material recognition, traffic control and a group of common tasks that laborers perform on construction projects. You will be expected to perform these tasks correctly and timely by the end of the week.
This initial course is a physically demanding experience. In fact the whole Construction Craft Laborer field is a physically demanding job. This initial course will introduce you to some of the basics. You will continue on with further training after successfully completing this initial course.
What is a Union?
The union is a group of people that have come together for the benefit of all. As a union member you are expected to be a highly productive team worker that takes pride in your work. Pride, skill, and quality is the Laborers union creed. When employers use union laborers they know they are employing the best qualified work force. For more information on the Labor Union download "The Birth of a Union-The End of Exploitation
" or visit LIUNA