Apprenticeship Guide – Local 79

A Guidebook for Local #79’s Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship is a multi-tiered partnership between the apprentice, the Mason Tenders Training Fund, Local 79, the employer, and the State of NY.

While each partner fulfills a different role, they all share a common goal. They all have an interest in apprenticeship being successful. The apprentice wants a rewarding and well paying career, the Mason Tenders Training Fund wants to train members to be skilled and safe on the job, the employer has a need for a well-trained workforce for many years to come, the Union wants a hard working, proud, and loyal membership, and the State of NY wants its residents gainfully employed in good paying jobs.

The Local 79 Apprenticeship Program is governed by a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC). The JATC is a 14-member panel comprised of representatives from employers and the union. The JATC appoints an Apprenticeship Coordinator to handle the day-to-day operation of the program

Now that we have an idea of how the program is run and who the participants are, the rest of this guidebook will list in no particular order some of the most common questions.

Number 1 rule of The Apprenticeship Program

Keep your pay stubs!!!

a) They are the only way of keeping track of your hours for a raise. It is mandated by the N.Y.S.D.O.L.
b) They are in a way a receipt for your medical coverage and for your pension.
c) You should have them for unemployment insurance as well.

When laid off

a) You should first come to MTTF with all current pay stubs in order by date
b) If eligible and you choose, you should call the out of work list (O.W.L.) and have your name placed on it.
c) You may choose to take time off to take classes, please see if classes you need are available.

A company requested you

a) Does the hiring hall have it in writing? ARE YOU SURE?
b) If it is not in writing and not received by the hiring hall, the hours will not count towards training (meaning no raise). The company may be grieved for each hour you worked (meaning that company will have to pay someone else).
c) The same rules apply if they request you to go from one site to the next.

We encourage the apprentice to seek stability with a company and we try to make it easy on all parties. You may have your Foreman contact us, we have form letters to make this process easier.


a) All classes will begin at the scheduled time. If you are one minute late you will not be admitted in. Do not bother to ask!!!
b) If an instructor or staff member of the MTTF feels your behavior has been inappropriate and asks you to leave the premises, you should leave immediately!!! You may speak to us later. Staying to discuss the issue generally leads to further problems.
c) There are no make up classes, if you miss one portion of the class you will be required to take the entire course over from the beginning.

Scheduling for classes

We traditionally will not schedule an apprentice for classes until they have reached 2nd year status. We strongly encourage you to try to take classes ahead of time. To do this you should contact the Apprentice Co-Coordinator and see if openings are available in the class you want to take. When calling please know the dates of the class you wish to take. We also recommend that when laid off you look at the calendar before placing yourself on the O.W.L. to see if you can take a class between jobs. Our most successful apprentices have followed this pattern and found it worked for them.

Classes vs. Work

You are required to come to class first! This also means you must turn down overtime. When you are scheduled for a class, you will have a letter from the training fund. You should give that letter to your Foreman and Shop Steward as soon as you receive this letter. If for any reason, you feel you cannot take the class, it must be in writing and delivered in person to the MTTF at least 48 hours prior to that class beginning. We understand that some Foremen might find this as an inconvenience. We highly suggest you do not get into any confrontation over this and please respectfully direct the Foreman to contact the apprenticeship department. If an employer can express a significant disruption to the site you are on you may be given a one-time postponement for the duration of your apprenticeship. Other reasons for a postponement may be taken into consideration provided you are current on all classes and can express in writing a significant hardship.

Suspensions/ Termination

Three types of suspensions are
a) Hiring Hall suspension – walking off a job or quitting, automatic 14-day suspension from the O.W.L.
b) Union suspension – not paying dues for two months and one day, automatic suspension and you may be removed from the job site or the O.W.L.
c) J.A.T.C. suspension – failure to comply with J.A.T.C. standards. This includes, but is not limited to poor job performance or missing classes. Generally, you will get a 14-day suspension and your next suspension is probably a 30-day suspension. Most likely, after two suspensions and another violation you will be terminated. If you have over 500 hours of on the job training (O.J.T.) you are entitled to a termination hearing.

Union Membership

You must become a member of Local 79 in conjunction with all applicable collective bargaining agreements. You will need to bring a pay stub and identification with you. Please contact the Local prior to joining to schedule a time. The fee is currently $700 and the first month dues which are $29.00

Until you complete the program, you are considered a conditional member. A conditional member is a member based on the conditions of apprenticeship. Your rights as a member are similar but vary in a few areas. You do not have the right to hold or seek any elected or appointed position such as Shop Steward or any other appointed union office. You do not have the right to transfer. You may transfer under very specific guidelines that vary from one area to another.

Minimum hours of each sub-craft

You must work at least 500 hours in each of our craft jurisdictions. That does not mean when you have you will not have to work in that sub-craft again. What it does mean is that you will not complete the program until you have worked the minimum in each.

Types of work

a) Mason Tending, assisting bricklayers in all aspects of brick work.
b) Demolition, dismantling an existing office space or an entire building.
c) General Construction, assisting the general contractor in whatever is required to complete the project.
d) Plaster Tending/Fireproofing.

Short Term Demo Jobs

Demolition is a large part of Local #79’s work. Therefore it is important that all Apprentices learn how to do demolition work. However many of these jobs are on short notice and for very short lengths of time. Two hour jobs are not uncommon. Therefore the J.A.T.C. has ruled that once an apprentice has successfully completed 10 of these jobs they may request for permission to be excused from this work in the future.


Raises are given when an apprentice reaches 1,000 hours and at each 1,000-hour interval after. Providing that this apprentice has taken enough related instruction.

First year 0-1,000 hours
Initial training On the Job Learning (O.J.L.)
Second year 1,000 – 1,999 hours O.J.L.
Nothing further required (but suggested)
Third year 2,000 – 2,999 O.J.L.
144 Related Instruction (R.I.)
Fourth year 3,000 – 3,999 O.J.L.
200 hours
Approximately 400 hours of training Plus required hours in all sub-crafts

Union Representation

Your union represents you on the job site the same as any other laborer therefore the chain of command would be from you to the Shop Steward and then to a Business Agent.
The apprentice program does have a field coordinator, but this position is to evaluate the apprentice’s progress, not to handle claims or grievances. However, you may always call someone from the apprentice program for guidance or clarification.

Keeping a job

• Show up on time.
• Show up on time every day.
• Be ready to work hard and safe.
• Be ready to learn.
• Be respectful to your employer and co-workers.
• Maintain a professional and positive attitude.
• Do not make excuses (being late).
• Do not blame others (even if it is their fault).
• Know that the Foreman and other laborers probably know more than you do.
• Do not turn down overtime (it suggests you don’t want to work hard).
• Do not make faces or complain if you don’t like your assignment, provided it is safe (it’s unprofessional and immature).
• Don’t guess, ASK!!! (on the job or with apprentice issues).
• Don’t badmouth (unprofessional and you don’t know who is friends with who).
• Do not go home if you are having a problem finding the job. Call the local, the area Business Agent, the Apprentice Field Coordinator or the MTTF.
• Do not blame others for your mistakes (taking responsibility shows class).
• Show respect and gratitude, don’t kiss butt (there is a big difference).
• Do seek guidance from more experienced laborers i.e.: Shop Steward, Foreman.
• Find something to do. Do not wait to be asked.
• Always have a tool in your hand.
• Always care for the tools as if they were yours (return them when you are done, because they are not yours).
• Don’t burn bridges (construction is a small world).
• Do be respectful when being laid off (Foremen tend not to rehire laborers who cry or complain).
• Keep your filters turned on (don’t let someone who is upset and yelling get to you, just listen to the real message, filter the rest out).
• Look at yourself before you leave the house. Loose fitting clothes are unsafe.
• Sexual Harassment is not accepted (you are there to work and so is everyone else).
• Do get the Foreman or Shop Steward’s number and call if you can’t get to work.
• Drugs and Alcohol are not accepted (this means if you are suffering from after effects as well).

We hope this helps to answer most of your questions and provides you with some helpful tips. As always, you may contact the Apprentice Department at the Mason Tenders District Council Training Fund for further questions.

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