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View Full Version : Utility Lineman Vs. IBEW contractor Lineman



HardWorker!
12-24-2009, 04:17 PM
Hello I just want ppl oppinions about the goods and bads about going threw an apprenticeship or being a journeyman lineman for a Utility vs. the same as a IBEW contractor. I've talked to both sides and both seem to love it. I've talk to a forman who was utility then left to go contractor and he said he liked being a contractor better because of more money(OT,DAY SUBSISTENCE,ect). I've also talked to a utility forman and he said that utilities used to have a problem keeping lineman after they topped out due to them leaving to go to IBEW contractors or even Hawaii to make more money. He stated now utilities and contractors pay scales are pretty much even and now utilities or atleast his utility keeps under-manned which makes being a utility lineman have more job security and always have work to keep busy(maintanance, power outages, ect)and IBEW contractors would be the first to get laid off if work became really slow(no new customers,contruction or projects), but IBEW contractors experience alot more situations though traveling and are in some views better apprentices/journeyman. He said also being utility you always know what area you going to be working; unlike being a IBEW contractor your temp yard can be in a location one day in the area you working then the next day you have work way on the other side of the county. I think being an apprentice or lineman period is great and dont care either way. I KNOW I will strive to be the best in either situation and I will always do more then is required of me.

topgroove
12-24-2009, 07:01 PM
2010 isn't looking too rosey for contract lineman. Most utilities won't be writing as many rebuilds as last year. new construction for comercial projects looks poor also. If you have the chance to go utility Go for it.

PA BEN
12-24-2009, 09:31 PM
But, what ever you go IBEW.

Stinger
12-25-2009, 10:33 AM
Both my brothers are right on. My personl opinion is do your apprenticeship with a utility. You will get more hands on in the trouble shooting field than you will construction. A few years in the utility make you more versitile and exposes you many aspects of a distribution system. A contractor does not get as much exposure in the different area's as a utility does. We usally come in for project size jobs. But as Ben said, either way, go union!!

Pootnaigle
12-25-2009, 06:27 PM
Having done both I also think a utility is your best bet for learning but only if you ask questions and apply yourself. Find a Journeyman that is well respected among his peers and watch him closely. Once you break out Construction becomes another option.But as has been stated before Be sure you go IBEW. There is no other training program that even comes close.
A utility hand gets more hands on experience on things like capacitors, Regulators, reclosers. Station transformers. Etc. Many utilities allow the contractors to install some of em but require a company hand to energize em or operate em.
Oh and one other thing......... Dont for a second beleive that just because you do manage to reach the journeyman level that you are done learning...... Thats a lifetime deal.

west coast hand
12-25-2009, 09:42 PM
contract side is the way to go. You will learn more about cap banks regulator sub xformers exc,but when it comes time to do some nasty triple circuit corner pole change outs and big high lines and nasty job you don't get that kind of experance at a utility because most power companys it is cheaper to contact it out.utility will make you books smart contract side if you make it through you earned it . no disrespect to utility hand but i just think the contract side is the way to go.....

topgroove
12-26-2009, 12:03 AM
Every Utility is not like the utility you contract for. Here its just the oppisite

loose neutral
12-26-2009, 03:07 AM
There are good and bad about either road you take. Some small utilities and co-ops only offer one primary voltage to work on, one type of construction, not alot of variety. Larger utilities like ours have many different voltages, different types of construction, a good variety of line equipment such as regulators, capacitors, reclosers, transformer banks, etc.. You will also get alot of trouble shooting experience. With a utility you will have more stability once you have completed your probationary period. Layoffs can happen but are much less prevelant than in contracting. I have always been with a utility since day one so I really can't speak for the contractor gang but I do know a few guys and they love it. From what I see, you will see alot more variety in construction, line equipment, materials, tools and ways to do the work. Not much trouble shooting. You will have to travel alot and could be away from home for months at a time. Basically if you are single and want to travel and see the country, go contracting. If you are married, have kids, or just don't want to travel and are looking to settle in. Go with a utility. It's really up to you. Like my brothers have already stated and I can't stress this enough, for your own good, GO UNION !!!!! Better training, better pay and bennies, MUCH MUCH SAFER !!!!!

scratchpad
12-26-2009, 12:09 PM
my experience of working at a utility and outside line ape

i worked at a utility (socaledison) where it was very difficult for them to fire even the laziest, worthless, no good apprentices. everything had to be documented so it seemed like it wasnt worth it for them. now if youre lazy on the contractor side youre probably going to be fired/laid off alot and nobody will want to work with you, teach you and you'll be lucky to make it through.

at a utility youll be in one jurisdiction learning only that area to where with the contractors you will learn, more generally, whats throughout several utilities jurisdictions during your apprenticeship.

at a utility youll have more time to be technically book smart also youll be home most nights. my family and i have been lucky to see eachother over these last few days. when i leave itll probably be a month or more before i see my kids and wife again.

depending on the utility: you may learn transmission or OH distribution or UG distribution ONLY. socaledison (local 47) hands out, which i disagree with, JL tickets to the guys who go through their transmission ONLY apprenticeship. IMO any knuckle draggin monkey can learn transmission. socaledison distribution in the area where i worked in only did mostly maintenance. probably be in good shape if you go through a distribution app. at edison.

ladwp you can only hire into UG or OH distribution now. Their senority guys get the transmission. i hear their distribution apprenticeship is top notch.

i have heard with PG&E you start with their General construction crews which sounds to me like contractors. probably have to have lots of seniority to get to a good distribution yard. i'm sure they have a good apprenticeship.

with contractors youll most likely get your hands dirty in all facets of the trade.

IMO there are also variables as to the people you are learning from and the area. fu(ked up crew = fu(ked up learning. in a congested area youll learn alot more than being stuck in a rural area. the guys already at utilities have first choice on location, when you get hired from the streets they have openings in the desert or compton.

no disrespect to any utility hands.

there is one common theme, whatever you do go IBEW.

and

"dont ask me im an apprentice":D

Edge
12-27-2009, 11:22 AM
well guess I need to chime in on this too...

Swimpy raises some damned good points...

good stuff to chew on...

but if you want to be the best lineman you can be I personally agree with West Coast Hand...
as a road whore in the IBEW... you're going to be exposed to everything... transmission, subtransmission, distribution, URD, substations, switchyards, GIS and a whole lot more.... you aint gonna get that type of skill set at ANY utlity... I garendamntee it... but getting that skill sets gonna be up to you... you can top out as a contractor just by getting your hours and book work in... and then sit in your comfort zone ... or you can take every whack job screwball thing that comes down the pike...

could be reconn' URD in the local subdivsion... could be draging out staic and puttin back fiber on a highline job 2000 miles from the house...

theres alot of work out there... especially if your willing to...

the other side of the coin is the Utlities... yeah some do a little bit of everything... but more often then not the are split up like here at Dominion into "departments" we got highliners... we got underground guys... we got substation guys... plant guys... you name it...

the ones that don't have alittle bit of everything are gonna make you a one trick pony... you'll more than likely be a distribution man... and thats it...
you'll more than likely only ever learn your system... and thats it...

AND there ain't a GD THING WRONG WITH THAT...

but if you want to be the BEST lineman... the BEST JOURNEYMAN you can be...

I'd recommend construction...

you get to know specs from places all over the US and Canada... IOU's... muni's... coop's...
work the shittest or craziest stuff in the business... cuz that's what those companys tend to give contractors...

in the end though think about what ohhh swimpy said...

there a lot there...

For what it's worth...

Edge

MI-Lineman
12-27-2009, 12:17 PM
well guess I need to chime in on this too...

Swimpy raises some damned good points...

good stuff to chew on...

but if you want to be the best lineman you can be I personally agree with West Coast Hand...
as a road whore in the IBEW... you're going to be exposed to everything... transmission, subtransmission, distribution, URD, substations, switchyards, GIS and a whole lot more.... you aint gonna get that type of skill set at ANY utlity... I garendamntee it... but getting that skill sets gonna be up to you... you can top out as a contractor just by getting your hours and book work in... and then sit in your comfort zone ... or you can take every whack job screwball thing that comes down the pike...

could be reconn' URD in the local subdivsion... could be draging out staic and puttin back fiber on a highline job 2000 miles from the house...

theres alot of work out there... especially if your willing to...

the other side of the coin is the Utlities... yeah some do a little bit of everything... but more often then not the are split up like here at Dominion into "departments" we got highliners... we got underground guys... we got substation guys... plant guys... you name it...

the ones that don't have alittle bit of everything are gonna make you a one trick pony... you'll more than likely be a distribution man... and thats it...
you'll more than likely only ever learn your system... and thats it...

AND there ain't a GD THING WRONG WITH THAT...

but if you want to be the BEST lineman... the BEST JOURNEYMAN you can be...

I'd recommend construction...

you get to know specs from places all over the US and Canada... IOU's... muni's... coop's...
work the shittest or craziest stuff in the business... cuz that's what those companys tend to give contractors...

in the end though think about what ohhh swimpy said...

there a lot there...

For what it's worth...

Edge

That's exactly right! I'm at a utility and if they haven't split our work into departments then they gave it away to contractors anyway? Yeah there is a lot of trouble shootin but like Edge says it's all distribution! I personally do have a problem with that just because I feel to truly understand your job you should be involved in EVERY aspect of it! Doesn't make one man better than another just more experienced!

I started out contracting with the idea of trampin when I topped out but was offered a job at the utility. The wife and I figured I could try it for a while and if I didn't like it I was planning on trampin anyway so I could just leave. Turned out alright at first until a bunch of GREEDY f$ckers got higher up in the corporation and started suckin the power co. dry and messin sh!t up! We ended up having a son with a rare disability so now I'm forced to stay which actually was timed perfectly!

If you're young and "free" go trampin! You can always hire into a utility later if ya want!

1 Electro-man
12-27-2009, 02:28 PM
Some really good points by all. Having worked on the outside for ten years before going to the utility, I can say my troubleshooting skills developed at the utility. Scenario: 2 a.m. by yourself rain blowing sideways trying to find the source of the problem without getting in harms way.... Priceless. :) We are all Brothers. 1E-M, 40 + years IBEW

Pootnaigle
12-27-2009, 02:33 PM
I reckon I stand corrected. If the utility is fragmented into different work groups( transmission, distribution, urd etc) then You prolly are better off workin on The construction side.But the clencher is do ya wanna travel? Cause if ya dont or wont then yer settin yerself up for some serious down time.
Also I understand not every utility operates the way mine did,and I got most of my expertise before they merged with a multimillion dollar 2 bit outfit. Truthfully I cant imagine the level of training will ever approach what it was pre merger. I do know for a fact that the IBEW apprenticeship training is excellant , I am not however convinced that some of the so called Lineschools actually teach you much although they may help you get a foot in the door in some utilities.
Truth is that no matter which way you go Everything hinges on YOU.

Lineman North Florida
12-27-2009, 08:14 PM
Not all utilities are divided into seperate groups, the only contractors we have are to bury pipe in new subdivisions that are URD , no makeup, we do our own re-conductering and have for years, you may change out a triple circuit pole today and be doing URD makeup tomorrow. We get the good work and the bad work and I believe that that is the way it should be, you don't need a bunch of guys that are always depending on the contractors to do all the tough jobs, you need to be self sufficient and want to tackle the tough work if you are gonna call yourself a lineman. I will agree that you will see a lot of different things on the road at different company's that you contract for that you may not see if you spend your whole career at the same power company. We have hired several IBEW hands through the years and I have learned things from them and they will tell you that they have learned alot from some of us since coming here , there is more than one way to do just about any job in linework, some easier than others. Whatever you decide remember to be a learner, learn how to do from some and what not to do from others. Good luck.

Highplains Drifter
12-29-2009, 05:36 AM
The way I have always felt about it is the Power Company hands are trying to live a way of life by raising their family and watching their children grow up. Construction hands are living a life of a vagabond and are very very independent folks. I have seen good and shitty hands on both sides. The type of lineman you end up to be is driven from your heart. The thing I am most proud of is that a man can still raise his family from one income as a lineman and Mom can be home for their children. Good Luck on which ever direction you enter this trade and hopefully you choose the IBEW.http://www.powerlineman.com/lforum/images/icons/icon14.gif

cricket
12-30-2009, 11:16 PM
got my apprenticeship at pge in california, it was in general construction. we traveled our system and did ug, oh tranny and everything in between. Great apprenticship. I never liked the traveling part as i got older, butman when i was young and single yeehaw. I know will be moving onto a pud in washington. Two things to say, IBEW till i die, and learn as much as you can anywhere you are, you will be safer and more confident in differant situations.

rcdallas
12-31-2009, 11:35 AM
Like lots of others said just make sure it's IBEW either way... you'll be better off.

I'm with a utility and it gives me what I want... can only teach someone that wants to be taught.

scratchpad
12-31-2009, 11:38 AM
i wouldnt cop to doing trannies and everything in between:)

MI-Lineman
12-31-2009, 12:02 PM
Hello I just want ppl oppinions about the goods and bads about going threw an apprenticeship or being a journeyman lineman for a Utility vs. the same as a IBEW contractor. I've talked to both sides and both seem to love it. I've talk to a forman who was utility then left to go contractor and he said he liked being a contractor better because of more money(OT,DAY SUBSISTENCE,ect). I've also talked to a utility forman and he said that utilities used to have a problem keeping lineman after they topped out due to them leaving to go to IBEW contractors or even Hawaii to make more money. He stated now utilities and contractors pay scales are pretty much even and now utilities or atleast his utility keeps under-manned which makes being a utility lineman have more job security and always have work to keep busy(maintanance, power outages, ect)and IBEW contractors would be the first to get laid off if work became really slow(no new customers,contruction or projects), but IBEW contractors experience alot more situations though traveling and are in some views better apprentices/journeyman. He said also being utility you always know what area you going to be working; unlike being a IBEW contractor your temp yard can be in a location one day in the area you working then the next day you have work way on the other side of the county. I think being an apprentice or lineman period is great and dont care either way. I KNOW I will strive to be the best in either situation and I will always do more then is required of me.

I think the important thing is you talked to Union guys who have either contracted or are utility and they seem to like it! That means what ever ya do make sure it's with a UNION period! No matter the Union!

Not a lot of happy rat lineman? Yes I know there are some! Not a lot!

HardWorker!
12-31-2009, 08:03 PM
I believe all utilities in Cali are IBEW represented; I know SDG&E and IID are represented by the same local. The City of Riverside and SCE are the same local and LAWP and PG&E are union also. CAL-NAV is IBEW represented so I don't even think there are any rats in Cali what so ever is there? I know all the utilities in Cali I have checked have distribution and transmission seperated into different departments. I think atleast at SDG&E u have to do your whole apprenticehip in distribution then when you journeyout can bid on a transmission opening.
The one thing I like about a utility is that you can be a Troubleshooter; work from home and take a company truck home after you have learned your system well. I always enjoyed troubleshooting and the way I understand you dont do troubleshooting with contractors; just maintance or build and tear down power lines. If I'm wrong please correct me. I do want to know everything about being a lineman; not just distribution and not just transmission. I want to do everything there is to do! I want to do bare hand, hang from the side of helos, crawl on the high transmission lines like a bird with a hot suit, cable splicing, hell I even want to be a diver! I want to get my hands on everything in this trade and still get told I have alot more to learn! Honestly I would prefer to work at a utility so I could go home in my own bed or not worring about moving alot , but I know even if it doesnt happen and I start working for a contractor I will be so excited and motivated that I will not even give a chit. Hell I want to work every damn day 365 days a yr thats how motivated I hope I will be and Im sure I will be. I'm going to attend lineshool this Feb. and I have already interviewed with Calnev and waiting to get called for the pole class boot camp. I hope something will get going while I'm still in Lineschool. I'm ready with my class A license with every damn endorsment,CPR, and flaggers card is already in my pocket.

BookII
01-01-2010, 01:28 PM
There are pro's and con's to both sides. But if you want to be at home every night? Go utility.

But if you're a young person, you'd be crazy not work construction for a while. Go try your ticket, and see some of the country that we live in. And make a name for yourself.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with a utility. But it's the same thing day in and day out. And a lot of politics involved too.

At least with construction, you have choices. So keep your dues paid up, a new set of tires on your truck, and a tramp guide in hand! :D

electric squirrel
01-01-2010, 04:48 PM
Everybody always argues over which is better!! Like Union vs. RAT, the debate will never end....

My opinion is IBEW Outside. But you make your own decisions.

One thing that nobody ever talks about is that if you decide on Utility, and after a few years you don't like it or you get fired or laid off and you decide to go "outside" the best you can do is get a book 2 status unless you take a test.

Let's say we go tramping HW, after you top out of a utility.We need to pack our shit and hit the road to ,say Iowa, or Montana,wherever it don't matter!We sign the books at the hall, I show them my "A"(outside) ticket which puts me on book 2 since it's NOT my HOME local, YOU show them your "B"(utility) ticket that puts you on book 3, since it's NOT your HOME local.

Work picks up and we head home after a year,back to our HOME local,we sign the books, and I get to sign book 1 , you get to sign book 2 ! Now don't that seem ****ed up? We both LIVE in this local ! But as far as the IBEW OUTSIDE hall see's it is a UTILITY ticket is a second class ticket ,because you know just that utility's system and learned ONLY that when you came up,I on the other hand learned all kinds of shit because I learned more than one utility ,because I had to travel for my apprenticeship!

Ask around and if you don't understand what I'm saying find someone else that can explain it better, it's just something you better think about. E.S.

Joe Guy
01-11-2010, 11:38 AM
if you lived in canada there are many alternative unions in the line industry. The best being the Power Workers Union (PWU), the next is CUPE, and then CUSW (Canadian Union of Skilled Workers). IBEW has tried to raid the PWU and CUSW with no success. PWU is more regional areas looking after Hydro One, the province of ONtario. CUSW looks after the transmission field (which I am a member of), and doesnt limit you in just your local, because lets face it. You will be traveling all around and your local might not have any work meanwhile another local will be swamped. We used to be IBEW (before my time) but we created our own union which was CUSW

lewy
01-11-2010, 06:30 PM
Joe you are correct in that the power workers represent Hydro One , but I believe that IBEW represents most of the local utillities. You are entitled to your opinion on who is the best.

Pootnaigle
01-11-2010, 08:21 PM
As far as working utility and going to construction and being assigned to book 2.......... My feeling is either you are a journeyman or you aint . Knowledge is knowledge regardless of where ya got it. A test should not impose any difficulty for a true journeyman. Ya know it or ya dont and ya kin do it er ya kaint.

Joe Guy
01-11-2010, 09:30 PM
Joe you are correct in that the power workers represent Hydro One , but I believe that IBEW represents most of the local utillities. You are entitled to your opinion on who is the best.
They may represent some, and that might work for some local utilities, but it doesnt work for transmission linemen.

hunter02
01-12-2010, 10:27 PM
no matter what you choose there will be good and bad ! you just have to be able to take the good with the bad . i started out contracting 20 years ago , did that for 2 1/2 years and did not like moving around but mert alot of good people along w some a holes . then came to work for a utility and have been here for 18 years . i would not change a thing . i have done everyrthing from urd to distribution to transmission rebuilds and new build . i know where i will be working everyday and there is plenty of money to be made from carpole accidents to storms and traveling everywhere to work major storms . i work for first energy in ohio and if you are looking for someplace to settle into check us out ! no matter what you choose , keep an open mind and make the best of what you choose . it would be very judgemental for anyone to say who would be a better lineman , a contractor or a utility man . good luck and be safe

Trbl639
01-13-2010, 07:01 PM
Just gonna throw my 2 cents in..................either way you go, go IBEW........and learn all you can...........and remember this...........

THE ONLY DUMB QUESTION, IS THE ONE YOU DON'T ASK!!!!!


I've been retired for right at a year now, am a 2nd generation lineman/troubleman, and had just over 38 years when I hung up my hooks, tne last 21 of those years as a Tman, the work, hours, all that was catching up to me and I wanted to be able to enjoy myself in retirement, and I am!!!!

Don't miss the work that much, but sure miss my Brothers still working!

I did some contract/construction linework, before I went to a Utility, and was fortunate enough to work with some of the Best in the Trade.......just keep an open mind, learn what ya can and be the best you can and it'll all work out for you!!!!

Be Safe out there too!!

PS.............another reason I retired, besides the Buck Squeeze, was the company didn't have Leadership with a concept of Reality, and didn't take to being told how to do my job, by a 28 year old college educated pencil pusher.................and oh yeah, I still got my 'A' ticket!!!!!!!!!

knotskeart
01-24-2010, 11:26 AM
for what it's worth, i would go with outside construction. i've worked both and you get good and bad where ever you go but having an A ticket will give you opportunities for the rest of your life that you just don't have with a utility ticket. also, at least in the northeast, JATC apprenticeship requires you to learn all aspects of linework (distribution, transmission, substation, etc.) in 4 years where the utility apprenticeship gives you 4 years and its all distribution. you will get a better, more thorough understanding of the job if you understand all aspects of the job. plus contracting they will bust your balls alot more and make sure you want to be there. utilities baby their apes and hold your hand the whole way. not really a good way to weed out the weak links.

bigsoupy
01-25-2010, 10:38 PM
did my app. with a utility in canada (manitoba hydro). they did all there own work and I did travel. I got first rate training and realized it after I got my ticket and moved to the US to work contractor. You don't know what kind of training you have until you work other states, utilities and contractors.
I was young when I started so I liked moving around. I left the utility because I didn't like how structured it was, wanted time off when "I wanted it". I've worked all over the US from Detroit, to California. Not to mention a few storms. Went back to utility and now I'm back contracting and that's were I'm staying. Here's a few things I've found to be true about utilities and contractors.
@ utility, depending on which one you work for you are stuck with the same guys for mouths or more at a time. That could be a problem even if your a guy that gets along with everyone.
@ contractor, when you top out if you don't get along with someone and trust me you won't, you just drag and go to the hall. But if your a good hand they probably would just move you to a different crew.

@ utility, at least the ones I've come across. You learn the utility way of doing things and no other. I've found most utility guys have only seen one or two ways of doing something.
@ contracting, I've seen at least ten different ways of doing something. Most of them ****ed up but you can take something from all of them and find the best and most efficient way.

@ utility, you get paid holidays. A week or two to start. You have to ask for them and they can say no. They can also force you to work storm. (SCE).
@ contractor, you can take up to three weeks at a time before losing your job. You can take as much time as you want off a year. So if you chase storms you can work half the year and take the rest off. their not payed but I like to take time off when I want it. They ask you if you want to work storm.

@ utility, you won't have to travel. Which means you'll see the same guys day in and day out. Only learning from them. Better hope there smart guys. Some utilities transfer guys like Man. Hydro. Every six months you go to different areas(construction, 3 man comp crews or district)
@ contractors, you travel but not to far. Depends were you want to live. I have lived in so cal for 8 years and only have gone 2-1/2 hours from home.
I started a family and don't like going to far from now but absence makes the heart grow fonder.

To close, in my opinion contracting is the best way to go for me. It might be different for you. If you want the best training find a utility that does their own work and doesn't split up the different areas of linework (trans, dist, UG). Good luck with that. If you want to learn good work ethic and work experience go contractor. It's well known that most utility lineman are lazy. I know first hand. In my opinion the new lineman coming out of the utilities that don't do all of their own work should have a "utility maintenance lineman" ticket not a journeyman lineman ticket.(SCE) Sorry if I hurt anyones feelings. I like the freedom of contracting, I feel like a little ****ing rat in a little ****ing cage when working utility. Last, always go union.

NMSA122-G
01-27-2010, 08:40 PM
That's pretty cool soup, Pretty cool.:cool:

Bout sums it up too.:D "Contractor, or Utility worker". Canada or America, or anywhere else.

Just depends on the type of man you are, and what YOU want in life and Linework.

It's "All good", either way.

"LINEWORK".....:cool: BEST Trade in the World.:cool:

This is perhaps the nicest and the coolest thing I have ever seen you post here...

rcdallas
01-27-2010, 10:43 PM
Bigsoupy excellent post.

Utilities lazy? Naw, just 1 hour plus lunches, dealing with people that bitch because it's wednesday and it's time to take it easy the rest of the week... instead of spending the time to fuel up trucks, stock material, clean trailers when you get back 30 minutes early, let's just shoot the shit and do it tomorrow. Hell should break loose if you get creosote on your starched up shirt :D

Damn you hit the nail on the head with a sledge hammer.

slimdalineman
01-28-2010, 01:11 PM
that's a cool thing to say about a union brother. it's kinda like saying most contractors work unsafely. or most rats cross pickets. i think you know more than your share of lazy lineman on the outside. or lineman who are eager to do the work when it's not all that difficult or gets by on name. "maintenance lineman", can't say i disagree with that because that is how most utilities are choosing to use thier work force. i wish our utility did it all and didn't represent the need to contract, but they do contract and at least here your union brothers believe it necessary to assure all contractors working on our facilities be union and keep it in our contract. just my opinion, probably in the minor. have a good day and work safe.

Oklineman
01-28-2010, 01:54 PM
First of all GO IBEW (L.U.1002)

I started in linework as a lowly operaters grunt for Hinkles and McCoy. I was a step child in the IBEW as we did phone work. At that time the union didnt give me much of a good impression.

As i went on i attended NLC in Idaho and they talked up the union. After school i went to work contracting for some (multiple) contractors most nonunion and i never stayed with any for more than a few months and one a year.

I was working in Burbank Ca, when i joined the Union again and a steward talked to me about getting into the apprentice ship full time. I blew him off thought that i could do it with out the union lol DUMB.

I wound up working for Red Simpson (Dead-Simpson) after less than 6 months on the job they had me working as a lineman on AEP property in Tulsa, OK. As my brothers have said Bad Crew Bad knowledge! i went phase to phase with a mack on a 4kv junction pole 4 spans from the sub! Wow eye opener.

After my flash i started applying for a inhouse job with AEP PSO and got a 4th year app. position due to my previous exp. and the fact i had been through 2-3 different nonunion non-DOL certified app. courses. I went one year in the App. program for AEP with IBEW approved course. The level of knowledge and safety and learning was uncomparable to my previous experiances. If i had it all over again i would have joined into the JATC in the begenning and could have saved myself many many many close calls and possable deaths that i saw ouside the protection of knowledgeable IBEW linemen.

Im now a inhouse (DOL) IBEW card holding Lineman and love it but if i didnt have a wife and kids I'd be contracting. Once you get travel in the blood it will never leave and you will long for the freedom of drag and go!! Love life and go union it is the only way to stay safe and learn what you need to be the best lineman you can.

Good LUCK

Lineman North Florida
01-28-2010, 03:10 PM
that's a cool thing to say about a union brother. it's kinda like saying most contractors work unsafely. or most rats cross pickets. i think you know more than your share of lazy lineman on the outside. or lineman who are eager to do the work when it's not all that difficult or gets by on name. "maintenance lineman", can't say i disagree with that because that is how most utilities are choosing to use thier work force. i wish our utility did it all and didn't represent the need to contract, but they do contract and at least here your union brothers believe it necessary to assure all contractors working on our facilities be union and keep it in our contract. just my opinion, probably in the minor. have a good day and work safe. You hit the nail on the head there are some duds on all sides, there's some smoke blowing going on.:D

stumpy1
01-28-2010, 03:51 PM
I Guess Lineman Are Not Just Lineman Anymore! Why Does It Matter If Your This Or That! We Are All Brothers!

scratchpad
01-28-2010, 04:19 PM
I'm new to this so bear with me. I'm an ape too.

So who's to blame for dumbing down the trade with only Transmission Lineman or only whatever lineman....and giving journeyman lineman tickets to them?? I know how i would feel, STUPID, if i had a journeyman lineman ticket from a utility went to work on the outside and got shine status because i didn't know how to hook up a service. Talk about crawling in a hole. I suppose it's all what you want. Shouldnt journeyman lineman be versed in all aspects of the trade?

I despise the guy who stands with a shovel bsin while others are digging. That same guy is more than willing to give up that shovel if asked. I like to wrestle for a shovel if need be and like the guy who doesnt give up his shovel. I saw a lot of shovel giving up when i worked at a utility. Havnt seen that on the outside yet. I'm sure there's some though.

bigsoupy
01-29-2010, 02:43 PM
that's a cool thing to say about a union brother. it's kinda like saying most contractors work unsafely. or most rats cross pickets. i think you know more than your share of lazy lineman on the outside. or lineman who are eager to do the work when it's not all that difficult or gets by on name. "maintenance lineman", can't say i disagree with that because that is how most utilities are choosing to use thier work force. i wish our utility did it all and didn't represent the need to contract, but they do contract and at least here your union brothers believe it necessary to assure all contractors working on our facilities be union and keep it in our contract. just my opinion, probably in the minor. have a good day and work safe.

I'm really not trying to disrespect my union brothers but the kid asked a question and lets call a spade a spade. In my experience utility lineman are getting the shaft because they don't get the work they need. It's hard for anyone to be a go getter when your not working bid jobs and the older lineman are telling you to "so down we have all day". Don't get me wrong there are a few guys out there that still like to work hard but when everyone else is sitting on their ass making you look like the asshole because your working, eventually you will follow suit. In construction, sure there are lazy guys but those guys are usually the ones that are getting laid off or fired and moving from contractor to contractor. But the majority of guys are hard working because they have to be. Most jobs are bid jobs and time is money. It's only going to be getting harder because company's are bidding jobs tighter every year. To make a name for yourself you have to work hard. It's the only way.
About the unsafe thing. Yah, a lot of guys work unsafe on the outside, that could be a true statement. I also thought that for a long time. You have to be careful and stand up and say something if it's unsafe. Even if it means losing your job (better then your life). I've seen some crazy shit and i am not proud to have been apart of some of it, but when I went back to the utility, I've never seen more safety rules broken day in and day out then I did there. I know not every utility is the same, I'm just saying you get it on both sides. At least on the outside if a guys working unsafe or doesn't know what he's doing he can get fired or the union can step in. Utility it's too hard to get rid of guys and the guys know it, so you can be stuck with a bunch of unsafe broke dicks.
sorry if I offended anyone.

knotskeart
01-29-2010, 07:24 PM
gotta agree with big soup, i've done union construction (7 years) non-union utility (6 years) and now union utility (8 years) and i've not seen more accidents than in my years with this utility i work for now. everybody for the most part are lazy, bored with their job, and their attitudes show in the work they do. don't get me wrong, i've seen accidents everywhere i've worked and you will too. but at this place we supposedly have safety preached everyday, plenty of time to do the work and all the tools you could imagine.why all the accidents? don't know but my guess is that apathy and lazyness cause workers to take their minds off their task at hand. doing construction, soup is right, you have to work hard so the company makes money, non-union you have to work hard or you'll be laid-off or fired cause you can't hide behind a union ticket. some of the best hands i worked with doing construction are now some of the laziest guys i've known since they went to this utility. never thought i'd see the day.

slimdalineman
01-30-2010, 12:07 AM
soup maybe ya didn't mean to disrespect your "union brothers" but you do when you generalize that "most utility lineman are lazy", and you do it again with your spade is a spade comment. i am proud of the utility i work for. i have never been told to slow down or made to feel like an asshole for working hard. maybe it's just the utility i am at but i very rarely see or hear of unsafe acts here. i also was not saying most contractors are unsafe. i was making an example generalization that many utility guys would make and i don't think that's an appropriate way of making a point. fact: both utility and outside have hard workers and slackers. fact: both have positive and negative sides. fact: both have guys who push the safety boundary. fact: the best way to enter "our" great profession is through the union. have a great day and work safe.
knot, sounds like you work for a pretty shitty utility, with shitty co-workers and the "best hands" you worked with previously weren't who you thought they were. i'd probably look to get out if people worked that unsafe all the time because bury a co-worker and friend sucks.
scratchpad: being an ape you shouldn't be wrestling for a shovel from anyone, it should be in your hand first!

whiskeygitters36
01-30-2010, 01:50 AM
I worked contractor for my first 3yrs. Seein the country, workin tranny and distr. When your young and "free" there ain't nothin better. You learn so much from so many differant people. Those first years learnin the trade, the more you see the better.

Been workin with the utility for 10 yrs now. We don't split up the work. Tranny, Dist, UG, OH, Subs, and service work our Lineman do it all. Got married 5 yrs ago, now I got 2 little boys. I get to see my little "apprentices" every night. That means the world to me, but I can say that once in a while I see the contractors workin the high steel and I get the itch to drag up and hit the road. So I guess what I'm tryin to say is there are pros and cons to both, it dosen't matter which direction you go, there aren't that many that can do what we do, learn as much as you can and be proud that your a LINEMAN.

Hyper63
01-30-2010, 12:29 PM
Union or nonunion...It doesn't matter. safe or not has to do with the individual worker...some drive too fast for the situation, some don't, doesn't matter Ford, chevy, car, or truck, etc. the car isn't the problem. Also if one person does it different that doesn't mean their unsafe.

heelwinch
01-30-2010, 01:22 PM
I worked contractor for my first 3yrs. Seein the country, workin tranny and distr. When your young and "free" there ain't nothin better. You learn so much from so many differant people. Those first years learnin the trade, the more you see the better.

Been workin with the utility for 10 yrs now. We don't split up the work. Tranny, Dist, UG, OH, Subs, and service work our Lineman do it all. Got married 5 yrs ago, now I got 2 little boys. I get to see my little "apprentices" every night. That means the world to me, but I can say that once in a while I see the contractors workin the high steel and I get the itch to drag up and hit the road. So I guess what I'm tryin to say is there are pros and cons to both, it dosen't matter which direction you go, there aren't that many that can do what we do, learn as much as you can and be proud that your a LINEMAN.


Heh, nice handle. Haven't heard that term in awhile.

Course by some on here you'd be considered a phony for not using your real name. I still like ya.

Stephen James, Retired local 1249

AEPline
01-31-2010, 10:45 AM
I've done both and can only say it is up to you on what you want. I could not stand living out of a suitcase and not knowing where the next job would be.
Some of the previous post about hard workers and laziness are fairly accurate based on my experience. But that all depends on where you work. Most guys at my building that are not only good workers but very productive and safe.

west coast hand
01-31-2010, 12:48 PM
It all depends on the person some are good hand some are lazy and i also think safety is thought if you come up with a bunch of unsafe hands you will be to.thats why i hate pike because thats what they teach......when i was down in texas on ike i watched a pike crew hang a pot in hot 12kv with a setting chain and no cover on the phases who thought that guy that somebody...thats why they KILL PEOPLE??? I don't hate the hands just the company.When i see them on storms i will talk to them and tell them about the ibew rather then drive by blow the air horn and flip them off like some guys i know,and don't act like ever guy thats not a hard worker on the non union side is layoff or fired there are worthless hands everywhere

Pootnaigle
01-31-2010, 03:23 PM
Prolly the laziest guys are found at a utility............. Been my experience that everbody on the construction side unnerstands that when a layoff comes it all boils down to " who can I best do without?". I've seen that same thang happen at a utility but no one forsaw it coming. And this is no way a bashing for the utility guys..... I have lottsa respect for some of em to stay put and put up with the BS that goes with workin inna same place everday with the same people jockying for one more rung on the ladder. Trust me that aint pleasant. And the level of suckassing on the construction side also exists it dont begin to match that of a utility.

lewy
01-31-2010, 07:02 PM
Just some questions from a utility lineman in Canada. How is it determined on who gets the contractor jobs, is it based on seniority or ability & work ethic & the same when it comes time to layoff. I wont deny that up here if we had layoffs it would strictly be on seniority, nothing to do with who are the better workers.

knotskeart
02-01-2010, 07:32 PM
contractors in USA get put out to work through the union hall by where you are on the books (a running list of who is looking for work determined by when you sign in. book 1 is for local hands, book 2 traveling lineman) local guys go out first. at layoff time very much depends on your work ethic or who's ass you kiss. it's to the contractors benefit to keep hardest workers, they make the money. travelers are normally let go before local guys or see above reference.

west coast hand
02-03-2010, 12:52 AM
That was depressing, just readin it.....:(

Not as bad as hearing you talk about pike

LINEHAND
02-03-2010, 01:24 AM
Um what exactly is depressing TO YOU about that SR?

LINEHAND
02-03-2010, 01:53 PM
Oh gotcha! But as Im sure you know its like that for most construction linehands union or non! I know we have layed of 70-75% of our contract crews (all non union) who are sitting without a job! Same with most utilities around here(mostly non union contactors). It has nothing to do with being union or not it has to do with the economy and the nature of construction linework in general (feast or famine). No work contractors go first!


Not to start a pissing match but does it surprise you that people have personal convictions strong enough to do whats right for themselves, the trade, their brother and the greater good for all?


Personally what is depressing to me is the pour souls who subject themselves to substandard wages, substandard benifits, substandard training and the whims of whatever the swingdick boss tells them to do(safe or not). Lots of times not knowing there is a better way for themselves. That truely is sad!

Edge
02-03-2010, 09:25 PM
I don't know man. Just the thought of havin to "sit" without a job till one becomes available, just because you've decided to belong to the Union.

I've never been out of a job, 1 Day of my working life. But, Like I said, I've always been a Utility, muni, co-op type of mentality. Never like the insecurity of "contracts" with expiration dates.

any lineman worth his ****ing tools will be workin when he wants to work Swimpy... and my tools had put alot of bread on my family's table....

never collected unemployment... was always back to work the next Monday...

you do your work and let it speak for its self...

if it talks loud 'nuff you'll be working...

or you won't...

you can make a name for yourself by running your ****in mouth....
or you can let you work do it for you...

I let my work do it...

and I've always had plenty more work to talk for me...

for what it's worth...

Edge

LINEHAND
02-03-2010, 11:06 PM
"Gottcha" huh. That what it's about to you?:rolleyes:


Ummmmmmm. . . . . . . . . yeah pretty much. I asked a question about a comment I didnt understand your thought process on. . . . . . . . . and you awnsered me. Pretty simple!!!!!!!!:rolleyes:

Edge
02-03-2010, 11:20 PM
That's why I've never missed DAY of work either man.:cool:

I just don't like the "sign the book" thing. It's just my personality. I ain't a "Brother" type of dude....

Brotherhood to me, is ANYBODY in the Great Trade of Linework man. Fu$kin period.

"for what it's worth".:cool:


I've read that a few times...

interesting hypocrisy...

Edge

LINEHAND
02-04-2010, 01:57 AM
Oh, I'm sorry....was this your "question"?
"Not to start a pissing match but does it surprise you that people have personal convictions strong enough to do whats right for themselves, the trade, their brother and the greater good for all?"

Only thing I saw with a "?" on it.

If THAT's your "question", No, doesen't supprise me a bit. Non union people have "Convictions" too. Or are we just benieth your dignity....:rolleyes:

Dude. If you can't understand my "simple" speak, then ASK me. "WTF" SR!! What did you mean by this?"
I don't do "Mind" retorical shit.

Quite obviously, you haven't listened to the first song in my signature....:rolleyes:

I'm just a "Simple MR'er" man. I Talk it like I walk it.:cool:

And you can take that to the bank.


Ok nevermind. . . . . . . . . you are lost as usual!

west coast hand
02-04-2010, 10:37 PM
Once again SR going on and on and still saying nothing and you said you have never been out of work 1 day unless you worked for a utility you must have swallowed alot of you know what??? It's like linehand said why would you work for less and then bash union hands for signing the books that's why it's called a brotherhood you sign and what you turn sorry were not like you and just call billy bob at burn"em down daily electric and get another job for a low wages and shitty bennes...

whiskeygitters36
02-05-2010, 10:14 PM
WOW, I think this forum was started by a young guy asking about the trade. I'm pretty sure he quit Lineschool after reading all this stuff.

HardWorker!
02-05-2010, 10:24 PM
Naw I havent quick lineschool nor will! This thread has started 2 become something other then what the topic was;hahaha! I wanted to know the pros n cons btw "IBEW" represented lineman working 4 a Utility and "IBEW" represented lineman working 4 signatory contractors!!! I didn't want no feedback 4rm non-union "rats"!

whiskeygitters36
02-05-2010, 10:43 PM
hey Hardworker,
1 thing I didn't mention but others have. There is a ton of political BS at the utility. We're puttin up with it right now. But like I said before, if u want to be home at night I think it's the way to go.

whiskeygitters36
02-05-2010, 10:47 PM
Swamprat
what's the work forcast in Florida? We may have a bunch of hard workin young guys lookin for some.

west coast hand
02-06-2010, 02:52 AM
Here you go again talking politics blah blah blah... Some old s&@t again and again and by the way what does left coast mean I guess it doesn't really matter coming from a floridiot like you??? A right to work state they should call them the right to get f@&ked state low wages and no bennies hot as hell and bugs everywhere sound like a great place...

whiskeygitters36
02-07-2010, 12:11 PM
Your profile is sorta like that. "Non existant". Ya at least could put the state ya live in man......:rolleyes:

I'm new to this stuff, still tryin to figure out how it all works. Till u said somethin I didn't even know I had a "profile"

BookII
02-07-2010, 01:39 PM
Naw I havent quick lineschool nor will! This thread has started 2 become something other then what the topic was;hahaha! I wanted to know the pros n cons btw "IBEW" represented lineman working 4 a Utility and "IBEW" represented lineman working 4 signatory contractors!!! I didn't want no feedback 4rm non-union "rats"!

Not to get off-topic, or start the union vs. non-union war...but WE'RE ALL brothers in this trade. Regardless of who we are! And I respect everyone that is in this trade. Union or not.

I've been a member of the IBEW for over twenty years now. And I have a lot of good friends that came from the non-union side that are union now. And I have a few friends that work for a non-union REA.

But for me...I like where I'm at.

And just because a contractor is signatory with the IBEW, does'nt mean that they're pure as the driven snow!

knotskeart
02-07-2010, 02:40 PM
gotta agree there

HardWorker!
02-16-2010, 10:27 PM
So is getting your card(ticket) 4rm a utility just as valuable and powerful as getting it 4rm the IBEW JATC 4 the purpose of relocating and moving around?

electric squirrel
02-16-2010, 10:36 PM
NO,,,, if you go thru a JATC you have an "A" ticket,which means you can go anywhere anytime, going thru a Utility gives you a "B" ticket,what that means is your a JL but you only have seen one power company's system,even though you still carry a JL ticket,you have limited experience,vs a JATC, you moved from one power company territory to another getting lots more exposure to different types of systems and construction.E.S.:cool:

wtdoor67
02-17-2010, 12:37 PM
where I've worked the difference between a BA ticket and an A ticket wasn't much.

An A ticket meant a larger part of your dues went to the International in order to help fund your retirement etc. A BA ticket was lower in dues because most of your retirement was funded by the power co. However this varies somewhat as I've seen some BA ticket dues about as high as A ticket dues.

As far as abilities. It's a mish mash. The ones I've seen were all over the map with abilities. I've seen utility co. hands who were pretty versatile and vice-versa.

I've seen guys with all kinds of back grounds who weren't worth a crap and some with similar backgrounds who were cracker jacks. Can't ever tell how they're gonna be till you work with them.

Generally the A ticket guys who'd worked from apprentice to Jman were more familiar with transmission stuff and not so familiar with distribution. Most had spent most of their apprenticeship in transmission because they could work lots of OT. Most locals required a certain amount of distribution hours before you topped out.

When I got into the trade REC people got a bad rap. For years all they did was REC maintenance and construction and only worked on 12470 Wye. One trick pony. However most just as any person,would pick up on new stuff right away if they were good hands.

I've seen guys quit or get fired and simply go to the hall, convert their BA ticket to an A ticket and sign the books and be off on const. for awhile. Maybe it's different in other places but that's my experience. I've worked in about 1/2 dozen locals I guess.

Stinger
02-21-2010, 12:18 PM
In the IBEW program, an AP does about 1500 hrs in transmission, then once he makes hot apprentice he has to go to distro till he tops out. I advise these guys once they top out, they need to go differrent jobs, distro, subs, underground, urd, trans, etc. The more experience and knowledge of the trade they get the better off they are down the road. There is a lot of OT in transmission, the OT plus annuity hours. They can build a nice egg nest, for the future and for slow times when the $300. unemployment check does not quite cover all expenses. But I also tell them they need to swap out every couple years to keep up to date on things and changes. Going union was one the best decisions I ever made for myself and family. It is a strong brotherhood. One of the things that I see in the outside construction is the dedication of the hands to getting the job done safely, per specs, and on time cause that reflects on us as union hands and our local in the outside branch. BE SAFE, BE UNION!!!

HardWorker!
04-26-2010, 04:28 PM
If some1 was an utility apprentice decided he/she wanted 2go outside and applied at the IBEW JATC would he/she get accepted as the same step or would the ibew even allow it? Also vice versa if a outside ape applied 2a utility..

Pootnaigle
04-26-2010, 07:17 PM
Often A young construction Journeyman will hire on at a utility as less than a journeyman for a short period of time until he proves himself, conversely an apprentice from a utility would pretty much hafta start anew with a construction local.The United States Government is involved with an outside apprenticeship while it isnt with a utility. I spoze it depends on the utility and the lineman in question. I have also seen a utility apprentice that has not quite reached Journeyman status get out as a Journeyman thru the local....... depends on the local and the apprentice. The thing to remember is you aint no better than yer last day and your reputation usually preceeds you from one job to another.If its bad your gonna spend lottsa time waitin for a call.And when ya get one ya better take care of it

rcdallas
04-26-2010, 11:23 PM
I've bounced that around with my international rep before, from what I understand some utilities have their program setup so that if one does go outside their journeyman ticket will follow... I *think* CPS energy is one of them.

I've been butting heads to get my local to step in and do the same for our utility... I get a good overall experience where I'm at with underground and overhead, from #2 to 1000MCM from #4 - 795, but there's still some things that get contracted out that I don't agree with.

It'd be nice if they'd cross train us with our transmission guys...

RDawgs
05-01-2010, 04:25 PM
When I started in 1984 for a Utility we had 8 large construction crews that traveled the state consisting of up to 14 guys depending on the Job. We did transmision/distribution/underground/substations everything. Pretty much what the contracters do Know! We also had and still do have what we call a District Lineman witch I am now since 1990, I got off the road. We are the 24 hour on call troubleshooters so to speak and buy day new rebuilds and new customer work along with maintaining the Lines. In emergencies we still Do Transmision or Transmision jobs on a smaller scale. All in All when you came from this utility you were and some of us still around a well round Journeyman Lineman. But times have changed Guys that been around as long or longer then me have seen how things Change. Work Safe and go home the way you left for work or better.....

Highplains Drifter
05-01-2010, 06:36 PM
When I started in 1984 for a Utility we had 8 large construction crews that traveled the state consisting of up to 14 guys depending on the Job. We did transmision/distribution/underground/substations everything. Pretty much what the contracters do Know! We also had and still do have what we call a District Lineman witch I am now since 1990, I got off the road. We are the 24 hour on call troubleshooters so to speak and buy day new rebuilds and new customer work along with maintaining the Lines. In emergencies we still Do Transmision or Transmision jobs on a smaller scale. All in All when you came from this utility you were and some of us still around a well round Journeyman Lineman. But times have changed Guys that been around as long or longer then me have seen how things Change. Work Safe and go home the way you left for work or better.....

sounds like you would be will rounded on Your system..

Special ED
05-01-2010, 10:08 PM
sounds like you would be will rounded on Your system..

Exactly! Not every system is alike.. Yeah they all have transmission and distribution. But various voltages as well as various standards.. A well rounded lineman has dipped his toes into sytems all over the place. Not just at home.

RDawgs
05-06-2010, 01:48 PM
Exactly! Not every system is alike.. Yeah they all have transmission and distribution. But various voltages as well as various standards.. A well rounded lineman has dipped his toes into sytems all over the place. Not just at home.

I never said I was Just at Home, we still help other utilitys every where if in need as called upon. I know I said I'm at home and not traveling, AS MUCH. still work for and help out other utilities/contracters/rea's.....Darn near weekly if not daily. be strong STAY UNION!!!!!:D

Froths
07-27-2010, 09:07 PM
The big difference between being a lineman for a utility and an outside lineman is TRAINING you get and the RESOURCES you have! Outside lineman are trained for PRODUCTION! meaning they aim to get the job done as fast as possible and cut corners (mostly safely) to get the jobs their contractors bidded on done on time. Outside lineman are bread to build not troubleshoot and maintain. Outside lineman do make alot of money but there is no paid holidays and if times gets slow you could be without a job for months so you have to learn how to save your money. An as far as equipment, lets say a outside crew gets some new equipment they most likely will have to read the directions or have their foreman explain how to put it together, use it,ect which might not be 100% correct! As for a Utility linemans when they get new equipment,ect the UTILITY has the company that makes the equipment come and explain EXACTLY how to use it,put it together,ect the way it was MEANT to done. Outside lineman will say a utility lineman is slow, less of a lineman,ect. A utility linemans job isnt production! The utility isnt paying their lineman for that they pay and train their lineman be their incase of outages, trouble, to make sure if an outage occurs their lineman will be there as soon as possible and fix it as soon as possible. So utility lineman are well better at troubleshooting and knowing the exact RIGHT way to build, fix their system as the UTILITY wants it to be. So yes a lutility linecrew could take acouple of weeks to build 4 spans as a outside crew could take a couple of days, but I tell you that the utility s crew will look better, have no corners cut and done exactly the way the Utility wanted it done! Conclusion if u want to be taught to be a speed demon go outside, but if u want to be taught how to troubleshoot, be proficient and do linework correctly and the EXACT way it was meant to be done by the Utilities and the company the made them go utility.

rcdallas
07-27-2010, 10:41 PM
The big difference between being a lineman for a utility and an outside lineman is TRAINING you get and the RESOURCES you have! Outside lineman are trained for PRODUCTION! meaning they aim to get the job done as fast as possible and cut corners (mostly safely) to get the jobs their contractors bidded on done on time. Outside lineman are bread to build not troubleshoot and maintain. Outside lineman do make alot of money but there is no paid holidays and if times gets slow you could be without a job for months so you have to learn how to save your money. An as far as equipment, lets say a outside crew gets some new equipment they most likely will have to read the directions or have their foreman explain how to put it together, use it,ect which might not be 100% correct! As for a Utility linemans when they get new equipment,ect the UTILITY has the company that makes the equipment come and explain EXACTLY how to use it,put it together,ect the way it was MEANT to done. Outside lineman will say a utility lineman is slow, less of a lineman,ect. A utility linemans job isnt production! The utility isnt paying their lineman for that they pay and train their lineman be their incase of outages, trouble, to make sure if an outage occurs their lineman will be there as soon as possible and fix it as soon as possible. So utility lineman are well better at troubleshooting and knowing the exact RIGHT way to build, fix their system as the UTILITY wants it to be. So yes a lutility linecrew could take acouple of weeks to build 4 spans as a outside crew could take a couple of days, but I tell you that the utility s crew will look better, have no corners cut and done exactly the way the Utility wanted it done! Conclusion if u want to be taught to be a speed demon go outside, but if u want to be taught how to troubleshoot, be proficient and do linework correctly and the EXACT way it was meant to be done by the Utilities and the company the made them go utility.

I'll buy that. IBEW LOCAL 69.

Line_Man.
07-27-2010, 11:07 PM
Point takin froth

MI-Lineman
07-28-2010, 11:22 AM
Well you're all off!!! Now at the utilities "production" is BIG!! We're constantly pushed to lower our "Caddie"(I don't even know how they spell it?) minutes! Basically our outage minutes and ALL of our construction jobs are wrote up with how many man hours it should take!! Problem is it's some idiot behind a desk who couldn't run one crew let alone the whole service center and that's all they're concerned with is gettin the job done QUICKLY and they do TRY to get us to cut corners which isn't gonna happen anymore!!!:mad:

As far as "Outside" lineman's work lookin worse than inside that may be where you're at but not here!! Our contractors do a great job makin sh!t look the way our company wants it and these home grown idiots can't even figure out how a transformer bank works let alone hang it!! When I was at 17 the spec books were damn near worn out from guys pullin them out and usin them and here some of the fellow former 876 and 17 contractors now utility hands are the ones who know the specs and usually have to show the home growns what page it's on!!:cool:

Trbl639
07-28-2010, 02:15 PM
Don't know where ya came up with the Utility hands just doing maintainence........When I retired, less and less money was being spent on maint. the companies idea of maint was to fix it when it hit the ground.........crews spent most of their time building new line to customers or re-conductor jobs---or working trouble/lights out.........

Like MI said the wheels are worried too much about the 'numbers',,SAIDI/SAIFI/CAIDI.............Saidi is duration of outage.....Saifi is frequency of outage...can't remember what Caidi was.......

The econmy is down, most utility companies are short handed and trying not to use contractors as much or at all...going back to the days when they did it all.......but most times the big jobs get drug out, cause there's not enough hands on the payroll to do it all...like it was in the old days....

rcdallas
07-28-2010, 06:43 PM
Customer Interuption Average Duration Index...

Some other stuff like DART where it's lost time injuries at least at my utility.

rcdallas
07-28-2010, 06:44 PM
Customer Average Interuption Duration Index...

Some other stuff like DART where it's lost time injuries at least at my utility.

Daddyof2
07-29-2010, 08:30 PM
As far as "Outside" lineman's work lookin worse than inside that may be where you're at but not here!! Our contractors do a great job makin sh!t look the way our company wants it and these home grown idiots can't even figure out how a transformer bank works let alone hang it!! When I was at 17 the spec books were damn near worn out from guys pullin them out and usin them and here some of the fellow former 876 and 17 contractors now utility hands are the ones who know the specs and usually have to show the home growns what page it's on!!:cool:[/QUOTE]



I have to agree with you here. I am an "outside" lineman out of 84. Most of our work is done for Georgia Power. We are held to a lot higher standards than their guys are. Not just blowing our own horn because I used to work for GP and I know this for fact. If its not built exactly to spec you re-do it no questions asked{Like it should be if you take pride in your work.} We work side by side with company employees at times and not taking away from them but you can tell the difference.

TresAmigos
07-29-2010, 09:56 PM
I just topped out at a utility. Our district gets both alot of simple oh work as well as a fair share of the tough ones. As far as ug, we keep most of that, yeah just like the oh, we do lose a bit to the contractors. Do to the load and pop. density, our yard does alot of ug back bone re conductoring 1000mcm copper and the small wire. I think you learn the most on trouble jobs, since they are all different. As an ape you are shown differernt ways to do stuff, use what way you like, tweak it so it works for you. I think the training is more in depth at a utility. When we bid groundman, you can take transmission if there is a spot, otherwise you go to a district. Take PRIDE in your work. Just cuz a lid covers it doesn't make it ok for it to look like shit, same with the oh. No offense to outside construction, but alot of our work is fixing the work of hack contractors. Both sides have good and bad lineman, lazy worthless piles. I wish we did worked side by side with contractors at times. Their pace is alot more efficent. Whatever you do, go Union.

koca
07-29-2010, 10:54 PM
There's really no way to know. Their two different worlds with good & bad on both sides. Utility lineman do troubleshoot more and are more familiar with their sytem especially within their division. On the other hand most contractors travel seeing and learning different systems & ways to do things gaining more practical knowledge. I do think contractors are held to a higher stanard than company hands often having their work inspected several times. It's a personal choice what's best and up to the individual to make the most of their apprenticeship, work safe, and take pride in their work.

bones
07-31-2010, 12:24 AM
Who going to run more scared, a contractor going into a utility or a utility man wondering into the contractor world?

That alone answers the whole "who's the best" question in it's entirety:rolleyes:

Discuss:D

CPOPE
07-31-2010, 01:57 AM
Who going to run more scared, a contractor going into a utility or a utility man wondering into the contractor world?
That alone answers the whole "who's the best" question in it's entirety:
Discuss:D

Been in both ends, The second one 4 sure. contractor going into a utility = Easy Downshift Utility man wondering into the contractor world = Backwards and in for a ride

Lineman North Florida
07-31-2010, 12:27 PM
I've worked both and if your a hardworker and a good hand you won't have any trouble, you will find some good hands on both sides, don't let them scare you.:D

wtdoor67
08-01-2010, 08:23 PM
I've worked around both and most const. hands are sorta girlie bucket hands and most utility hands are studly and macho and would rather climb everything.

AEE/linehand
08-01-2010, 09:03 PM
The truth is you got good hands and sh*t heads where ever you work. If you got good work ethics you don't let the dopes bring you down you just carry your load and if you have to you double your efforts and carry the load of others. not to impress, but because you got good work ethics. If your jumping ship to look for a better hard charging outfit, then why not just try to build up the outfit that your with.

MI-Lineman
08-01-2010, 09:09 PM
The truth is you got good hands and sh*t heads where ever you work. If you got good work ethics you don't let the dopes bring you down you just carry your load and if you have to you double your efforts and carry the load of others. not to impress, but because you got good work ethics. If your jumping ship to look for a better hard charging outfit, then why not just try to build up the outfit that your with.

Nice post man!:cool:

darrell kuhn
08-04-2010, 07:49 PM
I have been both places too- what makes ya's think you need to talk to the foremen?? Most cases the hands are who ya's want to talk at- foreman just like any thing else seem to tell ya's what you want to hear.. I've been at this game for a shot 33 years and am proud to say all's i ever wanted was to be at the top....... That is not where you'll find the wormey skins- take care of your back--:cool:

Trbl639
08-04-2010, 09:42 PM
HEY!!!
I RESEMBLE THAT!!!

For years Westar stole just about every hand going through the Joint Southwestern Program. With contract crews on their property since the late 1960's and hands working together in construction and on the dock it is a close knit bunch, that knows everything there is to know about one another. We have Bar-BQ's together joint safety meeting, and have a beer summit ever once in a while.

How close. The head of the trouble men was my apprentice, the a lineman for me in the 1970s. Another trouble shooter was apprentice and lineman for me in early 1980s. My local trouble shooter was an apprentice for me in the mid 1980's The head safety man was a white ticket lineman for me in 1974, My GF in 1981, Went to the power company and took a buy-out in 2001 and came back to PAR a General Foremen and now retired and we drank iced tea together 2 Saturdays ago.

Our only problem here in KS is Westar stopped promoting from the ranks and are now hiring managers instead of bringing bright lineman up. You know the college boys with no clue. But as long as their stock rises and the dividends keep coming in I won't bitch to much.

I wouldn't want to call anyone of these hands bucket, babies due to the fact that every one of them served a year or more humping 345 H-structures with me. Not even as a joke. Trouble is they still can and I can't.:mad:

Entergy is doing the same thing...quit promoting good lineman into the foreman jobs..........they even did away with a Foreman job classification.........and changed to an Operations co-ordinator (OC), who was a glorified scheduler, who in his job description says he doesn't supervise lineman...............most of them guys weren't JLQ'd (J lineman) some came from the gas side of the business, even had a few women who had been clerks...but ya knew how they got the OC job:D, even had 1 boss who was a 28 yr old Dbl E...but knew his place, and was a good boss!

Until sometime in the late 80's, early 90's to supervise lineman, you had to be JLQ'd.then it was 80/20, and now, anybody can!!! On the transmission side, ya still got to be JLQ'd to be a supv!! go figure.........

Edge
08-05-2010, 09:34 PM
No, I wouldn't say..."Non Union is Fine".
I'd say, in ALOT of Utilities...Union in un-necesary.

alot of utilities??? nice way to blanket your ass... most places that are non union tend to be your beloved muni's and recs... their men work like dogs and get treated like such...

yeah their might be a few that love their linemen small few hundred towns and such but most get shit down their necks and local handy men make more... lemme guess your gonna play the safety is government run Osha and shit... well your against that socalist shit and to are those companys... not good enuff? oh time to play the bennies package? yeah it usually is shit and they gotta pay half or more... some of them have to provide their own tools if they want anything to ****ing worth with thats worth a ****... hell I know several lineman that work at coops around here that go on their wives insurance cuz it's better than the bullshit that their company offers them...

What I really think is "Interesting", is how Union Linemen, seem to think being "Rounded" in all aspects of the trade....is the most important thing.

yeah it is... but more than that bub... a union lineman... is trained to be the best he is at what the **** ever he is doing... yeah being a company puke usually ****s that up cuz ya fall into a zone

That might be GREAT for Tramp linemen...who go Anywhere for any job...but, that's not really the "Reality" of Linework nowdays.

Just What the **** is the reality of linework nowadays?

new safety measures that we all hate a cuss... or just your inablity to perform outside you "sweet spot"....

The "Truth" of the matter is....If you're a Distribution Lineman...which is the "Blood and Guts" of Linework, and work at a Utility...You can, and Do.. fix your own Transmission shit. Construction? Naw. Bring in a contractor.

the blood a guts of linework... I swear Swimpstick your funny as **** all...

yeah I'm callin bullshit on your whole ****in post...

And yes. "Non Union" is....Fine. As long as you are happy with your work conditions, and your lifestyle.

unless your forced into your lifestyle because of your work conditions... or in some cases the other way around...

the blood a guts of linework... I swear Swimpstick your funny as **** all...

yeah I'm call bullshit on your whole **** post...

for what it's worth...

Edge