It wasn't a Rolling Stones concert that drew 800 men and women to camp out for five days in Queens, N.Y., it was the chance at landing a coveted union job opening.
The New York Times reported a union elevator mechanic job prompted nearly 1,000 young workers to haul out tents and mattresses and weather the great outdoors of Long Island City at the chance to be considered.
The Times interviewed 25-year-old Andres Loaiza:
‘I want to get to that point where I would troubleshoot and not kill my back anymore,’ said Mr. Loaiza, who currently does nonunion electrical and mechanical elevator work. And the union, he added, looking years down the road, would provide college funding for his son, who is now 4.
Every 18 to 20 months, the union accepts 750 applications for the 150 to 200 spots in its four-year apprenticeship program, distributing them from the second-floor office of its elevator division on 36th Street. Those who pass a test and are accepted start out making $17 an hour. If they complete the program, which includes college-level classes, they become journey workers, making $35 to $40 an hour with pensions and full medical benefits.