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Hundreds Vie For Job As Ironworker In Queens, Only Handful To Be Selected

(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of job seekers camped out in Queens, some for more than a week, for a chance to be hired for one of 50 jobs available with the Ironworkers Local Union 46.

“Packed up the cooler, the grill, the camping bag, the tent, I was out the door,” said Queens resident Densmore Doman. “Came down in the pouring rain.”

Fabian Guzman was eighth in line. He came with some friends, but after a few days, he was the last man standing.

“If you can’t deal with the weather now, how do you expect to deal with it when it’s time to work,” he said.

The Ironworkers Local Union 46 has 50 openings for an apprenticeship which pays $18 hour, but graduates from the grueling program typically earn anywhere from $70,000 to $150,00 a year.

“We believe in meeting the prospective clients and seeing if they really want to be a part of this organization,” said Kevin Kelly of the Metallic Lathers & Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46. “Naturally, we had hoped they wouldn’t be lining up a week early just to get an application.”

The union handed out exactly 500 applications Monday for the apprenticeship jobs, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports.

The first 500 people in line were given bracelets guaranteeing them an application but nothing more. All the bracelets were handed out by last Wednesday, but many lingered at the end of the line hoping someone in front of them might not make it to the end.

“You had a lot of guys leave but I’m glad I stuck it out, I got my application,” applicant Jose Alicea said.

Those fortunate enough to get an application will be called back for interviews based on a lottery system and even though there are only 50 jobs now, their paperwork stays on file for two years.

To land a job with the union, applicants must have a high school degree, pass a drug test and be physically able to perform the work.

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