Education Corner
Craft Workers, Pioneers Of Modern Skilled Trades

Craft unions were the earliest American unions. They unified workers with certain skills in a craft, or trade, for which it sometimes took years to become proficient. Shoemakers, shipbuilders and carpenters were among those early skilled-trades workers who belonged to craft unions. Craft unions were organized under the umbrella of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) while industrial unions, which organized all workers in a particular industry, came under the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). These two organizations merged in 1955 to become the AFL-CIO.

Not so different from hundreds of years ago, modern-day apprentices spend four years of on-the-job training with an experienced journeyman, learning their craft in the workplace. He or she must also meet educational requirements in the classroom before becoming a journeyman. The UAW has stringent standards that must be met before the union issues a UAW journeyman card to an apprentice. The guidelines are agreed to between the union and the company in their collective bargaining agreement (contract).

The Region 8 Skilled Trades Council oversees each of the UAW state apprenticeship committees that review the program, training and education of each journeyman application, making sure all requirements are met and fall under the guidelines of the UAW Skilled Trades Department. At the Region 8 Skilled Trades Conference in August in Myrtle Beach, S.C., new officers were elected for these important and busy positions in the Region 8 Skilled Trades Council. They are: Lind Farley, chairman; Ken Hastings, vice chair;Harold Wise, recording secretary; and Danny Cross, ISTAC representative.

Don Cordell is our Region 8 skilled trades representative.

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