Go watch the news and see all those "UNION WORKERS" from the big three getting laid off. Not many places will hire someone that has been installing lug nuts onto studs at $30-$40 per hr for the last 15-20 yrs. They don't know how to do anything else, the union was their comfort. I have been building injection molds for over 35 yrs now and have always had work. Sometimes better than at other times, but have always had work and been in demand. Get a reputation and be the best that you can be and keep your self known to others and you too can have the comfort of knowing that you will always be able to have work in front of you. After you establish yourself, you can choose what you will and won't do. Then you can command the wages you want.
You will need to be well tooled to stand on your own. A full compliment of personal tools in which you will work out of your own tool box at your work station//machine. Don't be a bother to others by borrowing tools constantly. This will take time to get to that level. But once you arrive you become an asset to the organization.