“Where are all the carpenters gone?” asks Reuters. Are carpenters’ salaries to blame? In 2012, they were indeed lower than the national average but wages are now rising with the help of unions who are fighting the major disadvantages connected to this vocation – namely its seasonality and insecurity.
Here we explore what surety bonds’ unions do to fulfill their promises to their members. We also take a look at carpenters’ union wages across different states and industries.
Career Advancement and Wages
Carpenters in the US enjoy lucrative advantages. Various factors come into play when it comes to carpenters’ wages. In general, seniority is key when it concerns a salary review. Apprentices receive between 30 and 50 percent of a journeyman’s wages. Even during their apprenticeship, carpenters enjoy an annual wages’ growth of 11% on average.
This trend continues once training is completed but then other factors emerge, such as those specialties that require different skills. Installer Carpenter is an excellent specialty that provides attractive remuneration ranging between $35,000 and $50,000. However, Bridge Carpenter is currently the best paid carpenter specialty in the US, requiring a minimum of two years’ experience as a carpenter, but now providing an average salary of $51,000 according to Indeed.
In order to maximize wages, unions come into play. They negotiate the highest possible pay for their members. Some consider this to be the best aspect to unions. But what else is there? Unions provide their members with other benefits – comprehensive medical, dental, life and disability insurance benefits. Unions’ negotiations result in higher quality insurance services. Some unions even provide not only employees but also their families with such benefits. Welfare Bonds, or Union Bonds, fight payroll frauds and guarantee the fulfillment of these conditions. They cover both payment of welfare and wages.
Retirement is also more beneficial for union members; it is much more secure than for those outside of union protection. Retirement is insured for disability as well and retirement plans are supported by pension funds that also cover a wider range of medicines.
Carpenter Union Wages and Employment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 901,200 carpenters were employed in the US alone in 2012. The job outlook is also much better than the national average in terms of overall prospects, with unions constantly striving to provide attractive conditions. Back in 2012, the median annual wage was $39,940, but union carpenters currently earn an average of $51,000.
California, the state with the most carpenters employed – 57,470 – had a higher than average carpenter wage as well $55,780 – ranking it fifth nationwide. This average salary doesn’t even come close to the highest in the US, however. With a $66,800 average mean wage, Hawaii takes top spot, providing employment for 4,360 carpenters in 2012. New York comes third with a $56,290 average mean wage, drawing the attention of building finishing and residential building construction contractors. In states like Boston, unions are pushing to establish area standards, and set a minimum standard, in order to protect the most vulnerable from unfair wages.
Some industries such as Residential Building Construction and Nonresidential Building Construction provide especially high employment rates, but are notably low paid, not making it to the top five industries where carpenters are best paid. Industries like Motion Picture and Video and Investigation and Security, particularly well-developed in Las Vegas and California, stand at the top when it comes to salaries.