Myths & Facts
There is a lot of misinformation out there. Below are some common misconceptions about our Union--for both members and contractors.
Out of Work
Many workers are fearful that they will become laid off or out of work if they join the IBEW. When you join the IBEW, you not only have the ability to work out of your own local union, but you can travel and work out of any local union in the country. During slow times, many members choose to travel and work out of a different local union. In addition, for those that are willing to help non-union electricians organize, IBEW members have the ability to work for non-union contractors and educate both the contractor and their employees on the benefits of becoming union. The fact is IBEW represented electricians are the only ones that have the ability to work Union or non-Union.
Employers are typically anti-Union out of greed, or the fear of losing control. They want to hold employees accountable, but management themselves don’t want to be held accountable. IBEW members have a protected voice in their workplace and that scares some employers. A good employer knows that there is nothing to fear. A good employer shares the wealth and welcomes employee input.
The IBEW is proud of the nationally accredited apprenticeship program that we have built with our Contractor partners. Many members have been through an IBEW apprenticeship and many have not.
If you are currently a non-union apprentice, you have the ability to transfer into an IBEW apprenticeship where you will earn while you learn. Our apprenticeship also offers upgrade and refresher courses to those that are more experienced in their electrical career. We welcome workers of all experience and skill levels. If you choose to meet with one of our organizers, we will work to see that you have access to any of the training you desire.
Commonly referred to as the “Books”- The IBEW refers qualified electricians to our signatory contractors. A union dispatcher informs individuals that are on our “Books” of the job calls available. IBEW job referral or “Books” are just fancy way of saying “line”. If you want a job with an IBEW Contractor you simply get in line with other qualified electricians and have access to the most challenging and exciting Electrical work in the country.
Many non-Union workers don’t want to worry about going on strike. Although rare, strikes have happened in the past. For such to happen, the members must vote on and make the decision to go on strike. This is an extreme measure that is only done when members feel that an employer is being completely unreasonable. Many steps must be taken before the decision to go on strike is even entertained. Many IBEW Locals have moved away from using strikes as a means to get fair contracts. In most cases, IBEW Construction Local Unions file for binding arbitration with the Council of Industrial Relations (CIR). CIR is a a system where if the employer and union cannot agree on a contract, instead of going on strike to secure a fair contract, the union can go to binding arbitration before a panel of union and management representatives, who will determine the contract. For Example: IBEW 569 just used this process to secure a 5.9% wage increase +$2.65 to $47.65 per hour.
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