Dozens Camp Out In Queens For Shot At Mechanic Apprenticeship

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly 200 people slept on the sidewalk in the rain for several days outside Union Local 12 in Long Island City, Queens — all for the chance to land a coveted union job.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports: Hoping To Get Set For Life

“I’ve been here since midnight on Thursday,” said Chris Felice of Patchogue, who was first in line. He’s eager to transition from insurance investor – to union mechanic.

“I was in insurance investments and everything went down with the economy,” he told CBS 2’s Jay Dow. “I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking for a career.”

Leonard LaMarco of Kearny, N.J. said “I’ve been here since eleven o’clock yesterday morning.”

Only 150 received a preliminary interview application for one of only 10 available mechanic apprenticeships.

John Thilbourg, of Williston Park, Long Island, was one of the lucky ones who got an application.  The 39-year-old man used to do demolition work and is now hoping for a job as an apprentice as a insulation mechanic on heating and cooling pipes.  It would start at $52 an hour.

john thilbourg Dozens Camp Out In Queens For Shot At Mechanic Apprenticeship

John Thilbourg (credit: CBS 2)

Thilbourg, who now is only able to pick up part time work,  is married and the  father of three children  betwen the ages of 12 and 17.

“I got a lot of pressure on me now,” he told CBS 2’s John Slattery. “It would take a lot off to have a job like this.  I want to get up and work every day. I don’t want to stay at home.”

The apprenticeship is also the first step to getting a coveted union card.

“That union card gives you the opportunity to work on union jobs in New York City and on Long Island, and more important, once you’re a mechanic, you can travel anywhere in the U.S. and Canada and work on those jobs also,” said Dave Soika, apprenticeship coordinator.

They’ll learn the ins and outs of heat and frost insulation in a building’s mechanical system, which includes pipes, ducts and boilers.

“You have to be able to sacrifice. We’re here, days in advance, camping out. And we understand what’s on the line. And we’re willing to grind it out in order to get there,” said Drew Rivera.

Cynthia Carire of Brooklyn spent two nights outside to get her spot in the mid 70s.

“It was hailing, like raining like crazy. Tents were like getting wet on the inside,” she recounted.

“It’s a four-year process. And there’s a lot of work involved,” Soika said.

After taking a look at the size of the crowd outside, Soika decided to increase the number of applications he’s handing out.

Waiting for days in the rain for a chance at a job… sign of the times, or too much? Leave a comment below…

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Ricky the P says:

    I have been a union insulator for 25 years and I have raised my children and put my son through college and I have the union to thank for that. I work every day in all conditions to make sure the job is done well and finished with pride. In all of my years the union has been the cornerstone of my life. If you put your head down and go to work everyday you can overcome any personal or financial issues that come your way. It used to be an honor to work in the trades … to be a union craftsman… now people are trying to blame the woes of the country on the working men and women who have built it. I am proud of what I do and I am honored to be a member of Local 12. Making a fair wage for an honest days work is a great thing and I am happy these young people are willing to wait for days for an opportunity to have a career in my trade. God bless you all.

  2. Sandy says:

    The Local 3 workers have right a livable income. It’s the capitalist system that responsible for this “breadline”. It has made has made a few bankers and CEOs super-rich and almost everyone else needy and getting needier. We need a democratic socialist economy run by and for the working class. The billionaires have to give up their wealth, and people have to reject the Democrats and Republicans alike who are hair willing servants. Of course, the unions will not be a part of this fight. Unions are about concessions and surrender all down the line. If local 3 workers are going to defend what they have, they have, they will find, along with everyone else, that they will need new organizations to do so.

    That’s what this line is all about.

    1. Sandy says:

      Correction: Local 12

  3. ross says:

    52 an hour is the whole package rate…this includes medical,pension,annuity etc…its the whole benefit package…im a local 3 electrician and our package is around 90 after 5 years but thats 50 p hour on a 35 hour week. almost all union jobs run a 35 hour work week too..insulator still good job though,great guys

  4. Keith says:

    I was there, I was number 129 out of 150. The man with the goatee, was right in front of me in line.

  5. j says:

    8,000,000 people. 1 mechanic job. Sounds like the toilet paper line in Russia. 1 roll per family per month. Free market competition does not exist in the union business. It’s who you know and who you blow.

  6. joker says:

    thats true penny you said it right.

  7. John says:

    Not sure if anyone knows, $52/hr is equivalent to $100k/yr based on 40hr work week and 52wk/yr. $52 to start, not counting overtime and all the crazy benefits that go along with it. That’s unbelievable salary. No wonder they say union jobs are golden eggs. I wonder why our sales taxes and property taxes keep going up in NY.

    1. Michael H. says:

      These aren’t public union jobs. It has nothing to do with sales or property taxes.

  8. Barry says:

    Like it or not the only reliable friend we have in the middle east is Israel. And it to has it’s problems. We paid Egypt billions of dollars Iraq billions we are fighting a was for what. As the Arabs say Give us your money and go away. As for democracy are you kidding? Not when you have the right to kill your wife for the honor of the family. And killing innocent people is a blessing. Yes were in trouble but Israel is the least of our problems.

  9. robert says:

    $52 an hour to START ! You got to be kidding me. If so then no wonder jobs are going OVERSEAS. Blame it on the unions

  10. jake says:

    hire people that are gonna work,,, not actors and losers for a pension… hahahahaa ; thats all its about, and sex from low life women…

  11. penny says:

    I agree. I know people of Local 3 that only have postions because of people they know. The good people get nothing the big mouths get everything

    1. Keith says:

      I know quite a few people in Union 12 and yet I was waiting in line along with everyone else in the ice cold rain, so don’t be so quick to bash people.

  12. Average Joe says:

    U.S. taxpayers give Billion$ and Billion$ to Israel….more than any other country….while unemployment and homeless are at record high.

    1. DanTe says:

      I agree. We should send these “Average Joe”s over too. Time to improve America before improving other countries. Make it a condition for these countries to take our useless junks if they take our cash.

      1. HARLEM GOING HAM says:

        WE SHOULD ALWAYS TAKE CARE OURSELVES FIRST. AS AN AMERICAN TAX PAYING CITIZEN, I DONT WANT TO SUPPORT ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT DOESNT OFFER ANY BENEFITS FOR THE SUPPORT WE RENDER. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO SUPPORT A COUNTRY THAT SENDS US DOPE ( AFGHAN POPPY GROWERS) IN FACT THE AFGHANS JUSTIFY THAT DOPE TRADE CAUSE IT HARMS AMERICANS. ISRAEL IS A SOURCE FOR E PILLS. NUMEROUS CASES OF BUSTING THEM TRYING BRING THERE DOPE TO THE USA. AND THEN WE TAKE TAX PAYERS $ AND GIVE IT TO THEM, WHILE I SEE VETS HOMELESS IN MANHATTAN SLEEPING IN THE STREETS AND BEGGING FOR MONEY. SOMETHNG IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE.

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