Non-Union Contractors, was

Union Painting Contractors hiring

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, or painters union for short, is a union consisting of roughly 140, 000 members in the United States and Canada.

The painters union not only caters to painters, but also glaziers, drywall finishers and floor finishers. If you want to become a union painter, this article will lay out the pros and cons of the painters union:


No doubt, union painting pays well. For example, a journeyman painter in Chicago, in 2011, earned nearly $40 per hour after completing a 3 year apprentice program. Union painter wages vary, depending on where you live in the United States.

Good pension plan.

Good health and dental insurance.

All union paint contractors must adhere to the collective bargaining agreement and union constitution, which enforces rules meant to prevent unfair working conditions. You get a union mandated break in the morning at 9:30, 30-minute lunch at noon and a 15 minute clean-up at the end of the day.

The union provides free, but mandatory, apprentice training at their own school, where painters learn every aspect of the trade, such as taping, spraying, wood finishing, wallpaper, industrial painting and a lot more.

An apprentice begins working at a decent hourly wage.

Since apprentice wages are cheaper than journeyman wages and cost a contractor less money, an apprentice can work steadily throughout the 3 year program.


The generous insurance benefits and pension are worthless if you are not working enough throughout the year to meet the quarterly work hour requirements. If you can't find work in the winter months, or any work at all, you won't receive any benefits from the union.

Many union paint contractors lay off apprentices shortly after they complete the 3 year apprentice program, because the contractor doesn't want to pay the journeyman wage. That doesn't happen with every contractor of course, but unfortunately, it happens.

The union enforces ratios for the number of journeyman and apprentices working together on a job, but many contractors break the rules and man jobs with mostly apprentices, if not all, to reduce overhead costs on the job.

On average, a journeyman painter costs a contractor roughly $500 per day, between the hourly wage and union funding. Due to the high expense, a journeyman painter will have a hard time finding a job, or any steady work at that price in this economy, especially since most contractors are taking a hit due to the devastated construction industry.

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Popular Q&A

Where can one hire paint contractors?

There are plenty of online sites where one could browse for paint contractors to hire. These online sites include Home Advisor, Five Start Painting, and many more.

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