Labor Disputes

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dicklaxt

Senior Member
Does this kind of stuff still go on?

Many years ago(about 40) there was a dispute over who was going to install the conduit for a lighting system in a control room because the then Webster's definition(maybe still does)described a conduit as a conveyance for water or something to that effect and the pipefitters said that meant it was a pipe and it belonged to them.The pipe fitters stood thier ground and installed it using standard pipe and fittings,the electricians dismantled it and reinstalled it with conduit and proper fitting/hangers.A few years later on another project there was another incident involving who was to do the Cadweld shots on underground pipe for a Cathodic Protection System.The decision was made for the pipefitters to do the actual labor with the electricians supervising and then the electriciams installed bonding pipe to pipe and leads back to ground loop and on to the rectifiers.In both cases both trades walked away smiling.:)

This is just a couple of disagreements between trades that I actually witnessed.

Dick
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
The union trades have a 'green book' that addresses which trade does which job. The book is used often as there are many tasks the trades do which overlap. The book is an agreement between the unions and is revised from time to time.

Take welding for instance. Electricians are permitted to weld their own supports, for example.

Use of the book has done well to eliminate virtually all the bickering between trades as to who gets to do what tasks.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
In many areas local licensing requirements determine which trade does what work.

That said we do not allow union vs non-union bickering at this forum so please keep that in mind when posting.
 

K2500

Senior Member
Location
Texas
The union trades have a 'green book' that addresses which trade does which job. The book is used often as there are many tasks the trades do which overlap. The book is an agreement between the unions and is revised from time to time.

Is the book available on the web?
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
Is the book available on the web?

A quick search was fruitless. I will keep looking.

I would also like to add another example. As per said book, electricians can build their own scaffolds up to 10 feet high, any higher than that, the carpenters must do it.

That just makes sense to me as we are not trained to build tall scaffolds safely and to all the current regs.

'Green Book' is obviously a slang term. If I knew the actual name of the book I would be better suited to locate a copy.

I actually own a copy, but it's somewhere amongst the hundreds of electrical books I have and have not sorted through yet.

Addendum:

Here is the official name: "Business Managers Construction Jurisdictional Handbook"

So far, I haven't been able to find an online copy or even a place to purchase a hard copy online.

It may be that they are only distributed through union halls. I get that feeling because the term 'Business Manager' is kind of a union thing. Each local has to have one, no matter what the trade is.

I will keep looking....
 
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iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I would also like to add another example. As per said book, electricians can build their own scaffolds up to 10 feet high, any higher than that, the carpenters must do it.

That just makes sense to me as we are not trained to build tall scaffolds safely and to all the current regs.

OTH if electricians are properly trained OSHA would not have any problem with electricians erecting scaffolding of any height. :)
 

K8MHZ

Senior Member
Location
Michigan. It's a beautiful peninsula, I've looked
Occupation
Electrician
OTH if electricians are properly trained OSHA would not have any problem with electricians erecting scaffolding of any height. :)

Indeed, but the issue being discussed pertains to trade to trade conflicts, not worker to OSHA conflicts.

In any site of respectable size, there should be at least a 'Cliff Note' version of which trade will do which overlapping tasks outlined by the general contractor. That should be part of the print package that the subs are bidding on.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
In any site of respectable size, there should be at least a 'Cliff Note' version of which trade will do which overlapping tasks outlined by the general contractor. That should be part of the print package that the subs are bidding on.

I cannot see how that is true in all locations, where I am the GC cannot determine what trade can do what task, that choice is made by the state. The GC can say the carpenters have to provide their own temporary service as part of the contract but the state would require the carpenters to hire licensed electricians to do the work. Or say the GC gives us electricians a contract that requires we provide our own scaffolding, at that point it will be our choice to get our own guys properly trained or sub the work out.

My point is there will be no one answer fits all on a national level. :)
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I was in a power plant one time in NYS.

Someone had set a pressure switch wrong, and it needed to be corrected.

Me being a naive young engineer, I figured I would mention it to the instrument tech and he would just go give it a tweak and that would be the end of it. The setting was not critical, it was just to tell if a pump was running or not. Anything from 5 to 50 psi would have worked.

The tech takes me out to the equipment and he looks at the switch and points out that there are 120V wires hooked up to it. He says, he is not allowed to work on 120V wires so he will have to call for an electrician.

The electrician and his apprentice come sauntering by half an hour later. The electrician looks at it and agrees to disconnect the wires, but he brought no tools with him, so he had to send his apprentice to get his tools.

45 minutes or so pass by, and the apprentice returns pushing a large toolbox on wheels. The electrician opens up one of the drawers, removes a tool pouch, fastens it around his waist, removes a screwdriver from his pouch and proceeds to disconnect the 120V wires from the switch and tape up the ends.

I am thinking we are making progress. Instrument technician then says that he can't reset the switch except back in his lab so it has to be removed from the piping and brought back to his lab. I point out that the actual setting is not that important, but he says their procedures require it. I figure no big deal. he will borrow a crescent wrench from the electrician and remove the thing from the pipe and off we will go.

Well, as you might guess by now, it was not that simple. The instrument tech, the electrician, and the electrician apprentice start talking. They decide that a pipe fitter must be called in because the switch is installed in a piece of pipe. So they send the apprentice off to find a pipe fitter.

The pipe fitter and the apprentice return in time for them to decide to all go to lunch.

After lunch, the four of them are having another chat. They announce that the pipe is attached to a pressure vessel and that they have to have a steamfitter. So off goes someone to find a steam fitter.

Steam fitter gets there. The five of them have another chat. They announce that because there are five of them present and no supervision present, that they need a union steward to come and act as safety monitor.

So someone goes off to find a union steward. Eventually he gets there. The six of them finally manage to get the switch out. It gets brought back to the instrument lab, the switch is set to an appropriate setting and we go back to the equipment. The switch is reinstalled. Time elapsed from when the union steward gets there till the thing being installed and working is no more than 30 minutes, but it took the whole day to get to that point.
 
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petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
I'm glad to see they got your thinking straightened out. :cool:

The plant superintendent later told me it was fortunate that the switch weighed less than five pounds. It was stipulated in their contracts that anything electrical that weighed 5 lbs or less could be worked on by an instrument tech or electrician on their own, but if it weighed more than 5 pounds, a millwright had to be present. The plant only had one millwright and he was on vacation that week so they would have had to bring one in from a contractor.
 

big john

Senior Member
Location
Portland, ME
A buddy of mine is an iron-worker in NYC. He's told me stories of standing for days and watching concrete-pours because if a piece of tie-wire pokes up through the cement the masons aren't allowed to push it back down. You have to be an iron-worker to touch it.

Petersonra, if I had to do work in an environment like that, I wouldn't. I think I would've grabbed a screwdriver in the first 5 minutes and changed the setting on that switch, and then I would've given my notice. How would anything get done in that environment??

-John
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
A buddy of mine is an iron-worker in NYC. He's told me stories of standing for days and watching concrete-pours because if a piece of tie-wire pokes up through the cement the masons aren't allowed to push it back down. You have to be an iron-worker to touch it.
It's pretty obvious that only iron workers are truly qualified to do that kind of work.

Petersonra, if I had to do work in an environment like that, I wouldn't. I think I would've grabbed a screwdriver in the first 5 minutes and changed the setting on that switch, and then I would've given my notice. How would anything get done in that environment??
This was back in the mid 80s. I have noted a pretty dramatic increase in common sense over the years in most plants as far as this kind of thing goes. Even in heavily unionized plants they recognize that their jobs now depend on being competitive. The primary places where the most serious deliberate featherbedding goes on now seem to be associated with government in some form or another.

Your quip about a screwdriver reminded me of another thing about the place. When I first got to the plant I had a small screwdriver in my shirt pocket. The cheap kind that electrical distributors give out as promo items. The guard noticed it and told me I should put it away as it was not permitted for non-union members to have any tools inside the plant. I put it in my brief case and left it there for the duration of my visit.
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
Regarding Bobs post on the pressure switch calibration, the International Society of Automation about ten years ago set up a certification called Control System Technician (CST) To be a CST required knowledge of electrical, instruments and plumbing. The CST was set up to avoid the issues bob described, and many companies require CST certification.

At a local refinery, the instrument techs can do electrical work that they feel qualified to do, the union agreed to this.
Many paper mills require you to be two trades and a working knowledge of a third.
 
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