The most significant reason is also the simplest, because you will receive the best benefits of your career as a union member:

  • Top pay regardless of age, sex or ethnicity
  • Outstanding healthcare, welfare and retirement benefits
  • Representation and protection on the job and within your company
  • Collective bargaining power – making everything above possible!

Over 120 years of finishing traditions and techniques fused into our state-of-the-art training facilities, on-site mentorships and rewarded safety/skills training throughout your career enable us to set the bar for finishing in Chicagoland!



If they’re a union contractor, they are! One of the foundational elements of any union is the representative body of elected officials who bargain on your behalf to leverage your best career opportunities:

  • Competitive Wages - Equal Pay Always!

  • Insurance Coverage

  • FREE Skills Training throughout your career:

    • Starting with apprenticeship training programs

    • Journeyperson skill and safety upgrades

  • Retirement Pension

  • Welfare and Disability

  • Jobsite Safety

The union is responsible for creating the 40-hour work week we enjoy today, being paid overtime, safer work environments and proper benefits to cover your health and welfare. Many of these things are overlooked in the name of individual profit by non-union employers. Have you ever completed the same workload, or a larger one, as a co-worker who out earns you? It’s demoralizing. The union pay scale is equal across the board regardless of race, gender, age, or any other discriminatory class. Equal pay has always been the way. These safeguards of your best interests are enforced by your union membership.


Don’t believe the non-union hype about “overwhelming dues.”  While the amount varies slightly according to your particular finishing trade, they are rarely represented for what they actually provide. The average non-union tradesperson will spend more on their annual insurance than your annual dues. You have to factor in all the elements listed on this page because your dues ensure you are a member in good standing earning the protection and representation of your union. Who is the co-pilot always having your back in the non-union career?

  to discuss the details of union dues!


At its inception the union recognized the need for a pay scale which represented an equal amount of pay for an equal amount of work. Sounds so cutting edge, right? Why should a person earn less or more than you because of an uncontrollable aspect like their age, gender or race? 

June 1st, 2024 to May 31st, 2025

Current Painting Contract Rate
Hourly Wage $53.05
Hourly Benefits Package (Welfare, Pension, Training, etc.) $34.74
Total Hourly Rate $87.79
Current Drywall Contract Rate
Hourly Wage $53.05
Hourly Benefits Package (Welfare, Pension, Training, etc.) $34.51
Total Hourly Rate $87.56
Current Glazing Contract Rate
Hourly Wage $51.55
Hourly Benefits Package (Welfare, Pension, Training, etc.) $44.29
Total Hourly Rate $95.84



DC 14 Apprenticeship Program DC14 Apprenticeship Training facility  |  Berkeley, IL  |  (708) 449-5282
Dan Penski, Jr, Director of Apprenticeship and Training

  • PAINTERS: 3-year program
    Painting apprentices spend (1) day a week in the classroom under the guidance of instructors who have proven their skillset on the job throughout their careers. Some days will be spent at an active charity project jobsite accumulating the required (960) hours of education. The other (4) days a week you’re in the field with your contractor (employer) gaining hands-on experience and mentorship from experienced journeypersons.
  • DRYWALL FINISHERS: 2-year program
    Drywall apprentices are required to build up (472) hours of classroom instruction attending school (1) day each of their (59) weeks. The remaining (4) days a week are spent in the field with your contractor/company. You’ll learn the essentials of surface preparation to provide a smooth unbroken facade on walls and ceilings. This part of the finishing process cannot be undersold, as a properly set surface is essential to the success of any further coatings.

    Visit Their Website


Glaziers Local 27 DC14 Glaziers Training facility  |  Lyons, IL  |  (708) 443-9000
Kenneth O'Donnell, Apprentice Coordinator/Instructor

  • GLAZIERS: 3-year program
    Glazing apprentices spend a (1) day every other week in the classroom learning from the industry’s best. Our facility has live mock-ups to simulate almost everything you’ll find in the field but in a controlled academic environment. The remaining time is accumulated on the job with your contractor (employer) gaining invaluable insight and experience from your peers.

    Visit Their Website



Maintaining and upgrading your skills is often left to the individual to source and fund, meaning it is most often ignored! The union believes we all benefit from providing Chicagoland with the most highly skilled workforce available…it’s our reputation. The fact our continuing skills classes are FREE to the entire active membership is surely a perk! However, to further incentivize this effort, the Safety Training Awards Recognition (STAR) program was created. For each class you enroll in during a STAR program calendar year you receive a credit to be redeemed for a raffle ticket at the annual STAR Banquette. A maximum of (2) tickets can be earned per year. Only those with earned raffle tickets are eligible to receive one of the prizes, so your odds are great!

Some of the prizes have been:

  • A Brand-New Car or Truck (Awarded every year)
  • $5,000 Cash
  • 75”and 65” Samsung Smart TVs
  • Laptops
  • Speaker Systems
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Various Gift Cards

Given the incentives and unbeatably FREE skills upgrades, it’s no wonder we have the most highly trained workforce in our industry!

Learn More About STAR


Many member’s careers start and end with field work, the backbone of our trade. The benefits of bargained pay, health coverage and retirement benefits enable you to earn a good living for you and your family. The overall goal of the union has always been to strengthen America’s middle class.

Like any career there are other opportunities to pursue:

  • Foreman
    Those journeypersons displaying greater abilities of organization and leadership can assume roles “running work,” or becoming the foreman on a project(s). Often tasked with overseeing the progress of multiple jobs this position is not for everyone.
  • Instructor
    With proven skills in the field, you could become an instructor at one of the apprenticeship training facilities. These individuals not only enjoy guaranteed regular hours, but as experts in their chosen field they give back daily by training the next generation of finishing tradespeople.
  • Business Agent
    Working directly for the district council is an end goal for many members, though like any coveted position there are a limited number of them. The business agents cover all aspects of maintaining and growing the union according to their designation assigned by the Business Manager/ Secretary-Treasurer. Some of the more recognizable aspects they provide for their membership are:
    • Orchestrating the essential political partnerships
    • Maintaining Finances
    • Organizing non-union jobs/contractors
    • Coordinating communications for the membership and the public
  • Contractor/Owner-Operator
    Always dreamed of owning your own business, most of the union contractor/owners started as apprentices. Soak up the process of field work, invest time in the inner workings of running jobs and estimating and parlay that experience into opening your own shop. We can never have enough union contractors performing quality work for Chicagoland! Contractors have an association dedicated to their success and growth in the Finishing Contractors Association of Chicago. In fact, you can continue to be a union member receiving benefits as an owner! Contractors have an association dedicated to their success and growth in the Finishing Contractors Association of Chicago.
    Finishing Contractors Association of Chicago
    Visit Their Website
  • Become the President!
    Well, the Business Manager/ Secretary-Treasurer is the title of District council 14’s “president.” Some would say the pinnacle of our union’s available labor positions is to represent membership as its leading voice. As with any top position the responsibilities are too many to list here but know the elected position rests with someone well versed in the workings, needs and struggles of our trade.

Your pension is painlessly accumulated while you work and live off the fruits of your labor, and after approximately 30 years in the field it can provide a comfortable retirement for the average couple. Everyone should have the opportunity to step back, relax and enjoy their elder years with family and friends.

Gone are the days of many Americans knowing they have a pension waiting for them in retirement. The fact is many non-union people will have to continue working in their senior years to provide for their families. However, the union has the precursor to the private sectors 401k program, the pension. The original “pay it forward vehicle,” our pension encourages a cooperative effort to educate and enhance the viability of our labor force because the work performed on jobsites today helps provide for those who have toiled before us.

Health care is such a hotly debated topic these days: who’s responsibility is it to provide, how much is enough, how does one manage the escalating costs? One of the benefits of a collectively bargained agreement by your union representatives is the requirement every union contractor provide the same quality insurance benefit. A union contractor/employer cannot forego any portion of insurance or disability benefits to reduce a bid and win a job, a method many non-union contractors employ on a regular basis.

Contact a Business Agent to discuss the details of health care and disability.

Our union gives back to our communities in many ways: we participate in numerous charity drives throughout Chicagoland, and we also orchestrate many of our own charitable projects by donating labor and materials to those in need. Some charity finishing projects are completed by our apprentices for hands-on field experience, while others are fulfilled by members volunteering their time on weekends for larger projects. The focus of everything we do is aimed at supporting our members and the local communities they live in throughout Chicagoland.


  • We understand your top priority is your livelihood and ability to provide for yourself and/or your family – it’s why becoming a union laborer is in your best interest. Many employers resist unions because they are sadly misinformed as to the benefits their company would receive. You don’t have to convince your employer to become union because you have a couple options:
  1. You can apply to join the union on your own and translate your existing experience into a flourishing career in our trade – we’re always looking to add highly skilled workers!
  2. We will take on the process of bringing your employer into the union. It’s often a case of outlining the myriad of ways their business benefits from becoming part of the union and dispelling the myths. 
  • Our union tradesmen and tradeswomen have set a high standard of skill and safety in the industry. So, provisions in place allow for practical experience to be applied towards portions of apprenticeship, it is addressed on a case-by-case basis. Our apprenticeship program prepares even experienced non-union workers for the rigorous production schedules and safety measures required by our union contractors.
  • Use the link below to email the apprenticeship program and provide:
    • Your full name
    • Your Trade
    • Your phone number
    • Your email
    • Your preferred method of contact
    • List any applicable and current certifications:
      • OSHA 10 or 30
      • Scaffolding
      • CASS/CSS
      • Etc.
  • Any trade certifications deemed necessary by our union would have to be met.
  • For consideration
    Contact DC14 Apprenticeship to provide your experience.
  • Like most professions, the more versatile your skillset the more in demand you will be. The smartest laborers take advantage of the free training throughout their career to stay at the top of the industry. Generally speaking, if you are a hard worker and well-rounded in your abilities, you’ll have reliable work throughout your career. 
  • Yes! Like any starting position your opportunities increase as your education and familiarity with your trade evolves. Apprentices do handle some of the “grunt” work as one would expect. But we understand the best experience is hands-on, so your apprenticeship will have many opportunities to perform the work you’ll be doing throughout your career!

  • The key elements which make a successful apprentice are to show up, be on-time, continually upgrade your skills and work hard!

Next Steps

  to discuss the your career with the Union!