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October 2011
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The Steel Erector
1) Organize an apprenticeship advisory committee consisting of a production manager, personnel manager, supervisor, foreman and workers. What is required are three members to represent the employer and three members representing labor.

2) Once the representatives are chosen, a committee Chair and Secretary are elected from each group of representatives.

3) The employer creates their own Standards of Apprenticeship training program, designed in the same fashion as what is currently approved and enacted by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

4) The employer then submits their application to become a training agent. The request for new standards is submitted to the Washington State Apprenticeship & Training Council. The application must be submitted 45 days prior to the quarterly council meeting.

5) Upon approval by the committee, the agreement will then be registered with the Apprenticeship Section of the Specialty Compliance Services Division.
There are about 60 steel erectors in the State of Washington. Currently no open shop steel erectors participate in the Apprenticeship Program.

Erectors that are open shop simply do not bid prevailing wage jobs. In order for them to be competitive with union erectors, adaptation of the apprenticeship program is necessary to be competitive. This creates a union preference for projects requiring prevailing wage, thus preventing opportunities and growth for non-union steel erectors.

The Apprenticeship Act Chapter 49.04 is intended to allow for non-union employers to either join an existing program without becoming signatory to the unions, and creates an opportunity to adopt their own apprenticeship program under the requirements of the Apprenticeship Rules Chapter 296-05-WAC.

The Standards of Apprenticeship as created by the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers and Employers Local #86, can be adopted by any steel erector that signs an agreement with them regarding apprenticeship training. There are no dues or fees to join. This does not mean that the employer or their employees are signing on with any collective bargaining agreements, nor are they joining the union.

The financial commitment that the employer does make is to pay the annual training fee for each apprentice. The approximate cost is $2,900.00 for the 144 hours of training that takes place in January of each year. Once signed on, the employer will continue to pay this amount for each apprentice for as long as they continue the apprenticeship program.

Classes are progressive and run for four years. Year four classes are offered in January 2012. Year one training offered in January 2013. Classes may be taken out of order. It is not required that the employer pays the salary of the apprentice during the time they are attending these classes.

If an employer chooses, they may organize their own apprenticeship committee and write their own apprenticeship standards. The process is supported by The Department of Labor and Industries and the apprenticeship consultant is there to help you with that process.
Contacts for information on the Apprenticeship Program in Washington
More news on The Apprenticeship Program
Current coordinator of the Pacific Northwest Ironworkers Committee is Robert Black, who can be reached at 1-206-244-2993.

Don't forget that the committed meets on the third Thursday of October! If you choose to attend, contact Michael Thurman or Robert Black to find out where and at what time this meeting will be held.
Contact Michael Thurman, Apprentice Consultant with the Department of Labor and Industries - 1-360-902-5324
or email by clicking on the link below:
Establish your own Apprenticeship Committee!