ApprenticesJan 25th, 2013 | By Editorial Staff | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog
As you may know, I come from a “right-to-work” state, which means you need not join a union to get a job. But that’s not to say that I’m anti-union, especially unions that maintain training programs both on the job and in the classroom. Take the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for example. A first-year apprentice gets a percentage of journeyman’s wages as he/she climbs the education ladder, a trip that usually takes four years. Along the way, the apprentice is intentionally exposed to most (if not all) phases of electrical work, which obviously leads to both competence and consistency.
Having said that, I am aware that at least one training group in T & R already classifies its students, which allows the beginner to start at the bottom and work toward the top. I know that within the corps, they take great pride in their individual classifications, but I wonder if the Tow Bosses pay enough attention to that, as it would keep them from trying to put square pegs in round holes.
For as long as I can remember, T & R has complained about the lack of trained operators. On the other side of the coin, a guy or gal can often make more money flipping burgers at Mickey D’s than driving a tow truck — so there is something wrong with this picture. What with the advent of more sophisticated T & R equipment, it’s time we reward superior skills with higher pay. And following in the footsteps of our European Brethren, let’s make driver training and certification mandatory. To just drive the truck requires training and certification, but that alone does not qualify the driver to operate a wrecker. Let’s see, to fly a plane, captain a ship or operate a crane requires specialized training and certification. Operating a wrecker, especially HD recovery, is no less challenging, and if we train to and reward that skill level — everybody wins.