What should I know before joining the Bricklayers' Union?

Until last week I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grow up, but then I saw a History Channel program on bricks and I found my calling; I want to be a bricklayer. I have no practical knowledge about bricklaying nor unions. Is there anything really important I should know before investing in training and joining the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers? Advice based on personal experience would be greatly appreciated, especially horror stories.


Well, if you flip over to the Discovery Channel, you’ll find some interesting materiel about the most common horror story. :wink:

(Uh, now that I think of it, this must be the most common bricklayer horror story)

Most trade apprenticeships in the US are four year programs, requiring school after work hours. Being a brickie apprentice is good hard work, so long as you don’t mind dirt and sweat, you’ll get plenty of both. The plus side is a contribution to the architecture of a city or town-you’ll drive by a place years later and point, telling your kids, “I built that.” Good luck.

You may want to wait for the hottest day of the year and then go and watch the masons as they work through it.

If it still looks like fun, go for it. If not, probably find something else.

Being in a nice, temperate climate, you probably won’t be laid off each winter like guys up here seem to be, but know that while you’re the low man on the totem pole, you’re the first to go should someone need to be laid off.