New York, NY – Apprentice Peter Gancitano, Carpenters Local 926, 24, grew up in Marine Park, in Brooklyn, New York, where he still lives today.

He started his training program in April 2021, and is in the fourth year of his four-year apprenticeship.

The program consists of 10,000 hours, after which you become a certified journeyman. The hours per week depend on the company. Gancitano says he works about 40 hours a week, plus any overtime hours.

He’s learned many skills, as he tells LaborPress:

“I have learned a tremendous amount of skills that I use in my everyday job. I have learned how to read and understand blueprints and understand what each blueprint entails. I have learned how to lay out a floor, frame and sheetrock. I have learned many techniques such as cutting rafters for roofs, learning how to layout and install acoustical drop ceilings. I have gained experience and many skills with doors and hardware including how to install door bucks, making sure they are plum level and square, installing different types of hardware such as exit devices, mortise locks and closers. I have worked with welding machines, impact guns, chipping guns, grinders, circular saws, jigsaws, panel max, dye grinders and so many more. I am also in a nighttime welding class in our training center working on getting my AWS (American Welding Society) license which allows me to work across the United States.”

He explains how the learning process was for him:

“My experience learning these skills was tough at first, but nothing short of interesting and exciting. At first, it is confusing with all of the different tools and skills to learn and understanding when to use each one. With time and experience with these skills, it has become secondhand to me. I have worked with many of these tools in the past, but it is very different when you are working with expensive equipment and materials.  For example, I work for a door company and a lot of the doors are expensive which requires me to take extra time and caution to make sure nothing gets damaged or ruined. With the help of colleagues and friends, I have learned how to collaborate with other carpenters and gain an immense amount of knowledge from them. I have the experience of learning from skilled and well-developed carpenters in different fields.”

He currently works for Long Island Fire Door and expands on the on-the-job process: “I work on many different job sites on a day-to-day basis. This company isn’t a typical company where workers will stay on one job site for a few years, but rather, we move around almost every day. One day, I may be doing repair work which involves welding and the next day I may be installing doors and hardware. This gives me experience to excel and master different skills at different work sites. I work 40 hours a week and every week I feel like I am either learning something new or becoming better at what I already know. I specialize in doors and hardware and have been doing this type of work since I have started working in the union. I have not only learned carpentry skills but also patience. I have worked with people with different personalities and experience.” 

Gancitano says he chose this career path for a number of different reasons: “I have chosen this career as a carpenter because every day is something new. I love working with my hands and seeing how small parts can come together to create an amazing finished product. Not only is this job something I love doing, this union also offers great benefits for my family and myself.”

He has also been influenced to go in this direction by family members, some of whom are in unions.

“My grandfather, my mother and my fiance who are my biggest role models and supporters have influenced me greatly. My grandfather, who is now retired, spent his life as a Port Authority police officer. He has always instilled in me the love of being in a union and the skills he has learned for a lifetime. My mother and fiance are in the teachers’ union and influence me every day to be the best I can be and strive for success.”

Being in a union offers Gancitano many for things he appreciates. He says, “Local 926 offers different events such as family days, golf outings and events to give away scholarship money. We attend parades to support veterans such as Labor Day parades and family picnics. My Local is based out of Brooklyn, NY and mostly everyone resides in Brooklyn. Our 1,600 members work out of all five boroughs and work with different skills. In our union, we have general foremen, shop stewards, journeymen and apprentices. Without any one of these people, our union wouldn’t be complete.”

For the future, he adds, “I would like to continue to learn and perfect doors and hardware. I feel like I have a solid understanding of different components of doors and hardware and I want to continue to perfect this skill.”

Gancitano’s dedication to learning the skills and being in the union was in evidence when, “I waited in line from Friday night to Monday morning to get a lottery ticket. After some time, I was then called to join the union.”

His involvement with the union is evident. He devotes time and energy to several ventures, and feels a real connection to his career, and more than that, to helping the union. As he told LaborPress, “Since I have been in the union, I have made it my mission to get my name spread out and be known to a wide variety of people. I volunteer whenever necessary and try my best to participate in as many events I can with my Local. I currently sit on the executive board of my local as conductor in my fourth year of my apprenticeship. I have made it my goal to help the union and be the best I can be. I never give up and strive for success, not only for me, but most importantly my union. I preserve and have developed great skills to be the best I can be. To me being in the union and being a carpenter is more than just a job, it’s a brotherhood.”

Peter Gancitano


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