Elevator Union Draws Crowd Hoping to Move Up

NEW YORK—More than a thousand people hoping to become apprentices in the elevator industry lined up outside a local union office in Long Island City Monday. There is a minimum of 75 openings available; 150–200 applicants are accepted every 18 months.

Elevator Industry Local Union 3 began to distribute the 750 applications for apprenticeships at 9 a.m. By 11 a.m., all of the applications were distributed and more than 400 people were left empty-handed, according to Nick LaGuardia, director of the Elevator Industry Local Union 3.

Each of the 750 applicants will have to take a test and be interviewed. Then the union reviews and rates the applicants to make the final selections.

Those who make the cut will be enrolled in a four-year program. Apprentices work full time for 1 of 40 elevator companies affiliated with the union. Meanwhile, apprentices take courses required for state certification.

The initial salary is $17,000 and grows by $2,000 every year as applicants pass the required courses. Upon graduating the apprenticeship program, the technicians receive a certificate from New York State Department of Labor and can expect a salary of $29,000 a year.

People who are accepted as apprentices become union members as soon as they are hired for apprenticeship.

Those who were not lucky enough on May 20 will have another chance on June 3, when Local 1 of the International Union Of Elevator Constructors will also distribute applications.

A union representative said that the applications will be distributed at 47-24 27th St., in Long Island City, Queens, “to everyone who shows up.” The union did not provide an estimate for how many people will be accepted.

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