New York, NY – Steamfitters Local 638’s crafts are Welding, HVAC-R, and Sprinkler Fitting.  The work they do is essential, ranging from fire protection systems to plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, to making the products used in pipelines to power plants, and so much more.

They maintain jurisdiction over all general pipe fitting in the five boroughs of NYC, and all of Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Apprentice Christine Job is grateful for being part of this important Union.

Born in Nassau County, 44-year-old Christine Job radiates a positive and “get-it-done” attitude. Entering the Apprentice Program took some doing, not least of which, she tells LaborPress, was how she got into the program in the first place: “I heard from a friend that my Local was giving applications out and I decided to jump at the opportunity, but it did not come without a few days of sacrifice. I camped out in Queens on a line from Friday until Monday. Luckily I was able to get an application and thankfully was accepted into the Apprenticeship!”     

She continues, “I entered the program in 2019. I am currently in my 5th year and am graduating this December.”

Job is enthusiastic about all she has learned so far: “During my Apprenticeship I have learned many skills and have built a great foundation for my future in the field. We attend classes to learn Hydronics, Steam, Sprinklers and more. It was refreshing to have classes that I actually found interesting and classes that I know have a real world application. Along with in-class learning, we have shop class where we learn many skills, such as Brazing, Soldering, and Welding.”

She tells LaborPress that although she came into a new world, her inner character was able to face the challenges head on.  “I was inexperienced in the field but I made up for that with determination and motivation. I did not even know the basics, like what channel locks are! It’s amazing to think how far I have come in the last 4.5 years. Some aspects of training have been challenging and some have come easier to me. Welding in particular was challenging for me. I took advantage of night welding at school and I have grown a lot since I first picked up a stinger. Having improved upon something that I initially found challenging made the improvement only more fulfilling for me. This program has shown me what I am capable of doing when I put in the time and energy.”

Her future plans? “Moving forward I would love to grow into a well-rounded Fitter. I am continually blown away when I walk onto a site and see a project go from beginning stages to completion. Learning the trade allowed me to understand all of the hard work that goes into things like AC and heat. Before joining the Apprenticeship program I took all of those things for granted and didn’t appreciate what hard work and skill goes into those accomplishments. It’s so impressive to see 30-inch pipe hanging in the air! I hope to continue to find inspiration in all of the projects I am a part of. I hope to simply learn and grow as a Fitter for the rest of my career, and strive for competency and craftsmanship.”

Currently, she is working at 270 Park in NYC and says, “I have learned a lot on the job. I have been exposed to working with black pipe, copper, and pex tubing. I worked on radiant heat for the first time at this site which was a great learning experience. My first job in the Apprenticeship was the East Side Access Project. The first time riding the train into Grand Central after the project was completed was awesome. A coworker once said to me, ‘people pay to see views like this.’ That could not be more accurate. In my life I have never had the opportunity to see Manhattan from this vantage point, and I love the views from where I now stand.”

She also says, “I love the comradery in the union,” When asked about her experience as a woman in a male-dominated field, she says that it has been good, adding, “I have worked with male coworkers who are amazing at their trade and who want to share their knowledge with me to help me be the best Fitter I can be.”

Job believes that she was chosen for the LaborPress 2024 Apprentice Award because “I have always tried to come to work and class with a good attitude, ready to learn and to do the hard work it takes to advance my skills. It is not always easy work and was definitely physically and mentally challenging at times, however I tried to remain motivated and hoped that my positive attitude would speak for itself. I am proud of myself and am infinitely grateful for all of my instructors and coworkers who helped me hone my skills.”

Christine Job


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