It is official: We Went Union! The last few weeks for our family has been as much of a whirlwind as it was the first time we left out on the road as a full-timing family. If you follow our family across our social media channels then you may have seen some of the happenings but a large number of our friends and family have had private questions about the situations.
As a quick recap of what we have been up to lately, on June 29th, I reached out to a fellow “linewife” about the process her husband took to move from being a Non-Union Power Lineman to a Union Journeyman Lineman with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). We had chatted a few times before with Union families but we always had concerns since The Mister had not yet hit 5 years of experience. IBEW usually requires that you test into their apprenticeship before testing out as a Journeyman Lineman and taking that pay-cut just was not an option for our family. We knew once he reached the 5-year goal we would be staring these decisions in the face.
From there, we can skip ahead to July 1st when we went to meet with the Union representative from the local that The Mister would be attempting to sign on with. Since he was working with a Louisiana company, our friends who would be able to help us study were there, and we are legally transients (we have no legal home as we travel full-time), we chose to go with Local 995 for his testing and as our “home” local. We spent the 4th of July weekend hanging out at Southern Style Tramping’s home (remember them from Travelers Tuesday?) which was a lot of fun but also a little nerve-wrecking. The menfolk studied for the test and lit fireworks while us women tried to keep our emotions in check by talking over margaritas and watching the littles play outside.
On July 4th, they headed back up to Indiana where we hoped to meet up with them soon and we spent one last day trying to keep the anxieties from building. Finally. Finally! It was July 5th, D-day for all that we had looked forward to for over 5 years. This test would determine if The Mister could step right into The Brotherhood, if he would need to enroll as an apprentice, or if we would be heading back to the non-union side with our futures within the trade uncertain. After what seemed to be an eternity of waiting (almost 5 hours!), The Mister asked the girls and I to step into the hall as he started to finalize his paperwork. HE HAD PASSED! My amazing man was officially a Journeyman Lineman with Local 995 and had the entire Brotherhood backing him up for the rest of his career and possibly the rest of our lives. The Littles and I were indescribably proud of him!
What exactly does this mean for The Mister’s career and our travels? Well, he is now able to sign books wherever we want to go instead of being told where to go (unless he gets a call for storm and chooses to go). When we begin looking for a new place to explore, he will call the halls in that area to see if there are open calls while I am looking for campgrounds that fit our needs. If we can find both at a pay scale we can afford then off we go! Currently, we are in Indiana living a few spots down from Southern Style Tramping. I did mention that was our original goal after all. 😉 Will we always stay together? Not necessarily. For now though, it’s nice having a couple we enjoy so close by knowing they not only support our dreams and understand but they are also willing to help guide us in this crazy new world we’ve discovered.
Curious about going Union? Be on the lookout for more updates as we share about what going Union means for our family, the many benefits of joining The Brotherhood, and details about how you too can change your lives for the better.