Benefits Of The IBEW
While there are numerous benefits of being a part of the IBEW, the most important is that you are part of a collective bargaining agreement, or CBA. You have little leverage when personally negotiating your salary, but when employees do it as a whole, the power dynamic shifts. The faculty of collective bargaining cannot be understated, as it is one of the leading mechanisms for improving workers rights over the previous centuries. Unions, through the power of collective bargaining, are responsible for 40 hour work weeks, weekends, sick pay, vacation pay, paid family leave, medical insurance and retirement benefits. They are still out there today, pushing for better pay and working conditions, and winning left and right.
Study after study shows that unionized workers earn more than their non-union counterparts. This seems especially true for the electrical trade, with IBEW electricians earning an average of $38.32 an hour as a base wage and an average of $55.81 per hour full package. If you haven’t already, check out what your nearest local union pays its Journeyman by clicking below!
Being a member of the IBEW secures you a thriving retirement package, with most locals offering at least two separate pensions (The NEBF, and either a defined or contribution), although many have all three. All pensions are employer funded, meaning nothing gets taken out of your check and once you are vested in the pension fund, you cannot lose your right to your benefits. Depending on the amount of time put in, you can earn anywhere from $5k – $15k a month in defined benefit pension annuities upon retiring from the IBEW. That is just from one of your pension funds, to be clear. You can read more about how the IBEW pensions work by clicking below.
Free college for you and your family
Being a member of the IBEW, or any union, grants you or any member of your family access to an online community college where they can receive an associates degree, for FREE. Even if you or your family member don’t qualify for student financial aid, your tuition, fees and E-Books are all paid for. Family members do not need to be financially dependent on you or even live with you to qualify, and this covers you and your spouse’s children or grandkids.
All union locals have a health and welfare fund, paid for by the employer, that secures you and your family medical insurance at no cost. While you will still have to pay co-pays and deductibles, there will be no monthly insurance premiums you have to worry about.
Employer Provided Tools
The majority of locals have tool lists in their agreements that state what tools the employee has to bring. Generally speaking, it’s a list of about 10-15 basic hand tools. This means that everything else, from drills, bandsaws, benders, bits or blades, are employer provided. No more having to spend thousands of dollars on tools that the employer is to provide.
Most if not all locals will also offer a 401k that allows you to differ pre-tax income to invest and save for retirement. Some locals will even put a certain dollar amount per hour worked into your 401K for you! And again, that’s all from the contractors pocket, not yours! See the pattern arising?
Being a IBEW member will grant you free access to their state of the art training centers that not only offer free apprenticeship programs, but free continuing education courses for licensed journeymen!
If you have a complaint against your contractor, or you suspect they are violating your contract or local labor laws, the IBEW will have your back. They will help to facilitate a meeting to come to an agreement to remedy the situation, whatever it is. Remember, your union dues pay for your union representatives salary, which literally means they work for YOU.
While every state is covered by local ordinance and OSHA regulations, many argue that they don’t go far enough in protecting your right to a safe workplace. However, being a part of a union that collectively bargains allows you to be covered by a contract that adds extra safety precautions to any job site you go to. This includes everything from mandating the contractors provide all necessary safety equipment, banning any work on energized equipment (unless absolutely necessary by qualified individuals), allowing workers to refuse to perform certain tasks without punishment, extra pay for work deemed more dangerous, such as in tunnels or when working above a certain height, and much more. With these extra protocols in place, your union is also there to ensure the contractors follow the rules. All this comes together to produce real results, as recent studies have shown that unionized companies have a 29% decline in severe injuries.