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Contract Lineman Jobs vs Union Coop Jobs [2024]

Different types of lineman jobs have different types of perks and benefits. When thinking about your career path as a lineman it is important to understand the relative pay scale that is competitive in your area as well as what you personally prioritize: spending time at home or making more money.

Pros of Union Co-op Lineman Jobs

  • Close to home stability and benefits. Work for the job of a co-op lineman consists of all phases or rural line construction, patrolling of lines, clearing of right-of-way, hot line work with hot line tools, checking load balance and voltage and operating equipment in substations including switching of transmission and distribution feeds. The benefits can be tremendous. Retirement, health insurance, paid time off and holidays will all be noticeably better when working for a cooperative.

Cons of Union Co-op Lineman Jobs

  • Potentially boring work. Lineman like to do line work, it goes without saying. Working at an electrical co-op can be pretty slow paced for even the most senior journeymen on the crew. Some of the more mundane tasks are often more common for line jobs at coops. You will be tasked to operate line switches, locate and repair faults, re-fuse line and transformer cutouts, change line and transformer taps, and phase out parallel circuits. As a lineman at a cooperative you will perform all types of work involved in the installation, maintenance, operation, removal, rearrangement, and inspection of energized facilities. Working the job of a lineman at a co-op also means that you must of course comply with safety rules, operational regulations and practices and report unsafe conditions.

Pros of Contract Lineman Jobs

  • Top Tier Pay- Often the top paying linemen jobs are the contractors working long hours on storm recovery teams. This can mean long hours traveling after a hurricane but it also means excellent money. It is not uncommon for some contract linemen to make over $150,000 a year. In order to get a contract lineman job you need to be thoroughly familiar with electric distribution layouts, feeds and circuits, operations of sectionalizing equipment, regulators, by-pass switching and current CREMC construction specifications.

Cons of Contract Lineman Jobs

  • Poor Work Life Balance and Lots of Time on the road. The trade off that comes with making much more money is spending alot of time on the road. It isn't uncommon for contract linemen to only get to sleep in their own beds for a night or two each week for long stretches. This is far from ideal from linemen starting a family. Some of the lineman working jobs at cooperative that only have a 10-15 minute drive to work each day will also tell you that in order to really appreciate the comfort and proximity you need to go contracting for a couple years just to give it a shot.

The grass will always be greener, what lineman job is best for you and your goals?


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