International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Layoffs are always possibility in the construction industry. But this issue has been used as a scare tactic with great success by non-union employers to intimidate workers about the IBEW.
The truth is that IBEW electricians are laid off no more often than any other workers in our industry. We use a referral process to refer our electricians to our signatory contractors. Our electricians do not rely only on one contractor; they have the option of working for dozens of different contractors working on many different types of projects.
Approximately 2/3 of our members work long term with one company; the balance of our members work for various contractors for various lengths of time. These jobs may last weeks sometimes years depending on the type of project.
If a journeyman becomes unemployed due to lack of work or he quits a contractor to seek another type of job with another contractor he signs our “out of work” list. When our contractors need manpower, they call IBEW Local 351, and we refer our electricians in order from the “out of work” list. They start with a new contractor at the SAME hourly rate and benefit package!!
Being an IBEW electrician, you no longer only rely on one contractor; you have the option of working for literally hundreds of contractors in the area at the same wages and benefits with each one.
IBEW Local unions have geographical “jurisdiction” for which they are responsible. IBEW Local 351’s “jurisdiction” is all of Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem, and Cape May Counties, and a large portion of Burlington County.
Our members work the vast majority of their time in southern NJ. If we hit a slowdown in this area, you as an IBEW member, have the opportunity to go to work in other IBEW Local Unions that need manpower. When you do you receive the wage and benefit package applicable in that Local Union.
IBEW referral systems refer Local members first, then “travelers”. A traveler is a member from ANY other local union. For example, a member from IBEW Local 269 in Trenton may be working here in IBEW Local 351 and is referred to as a “traveler” because he is not a member of IBEW Local 351 but lives nearby in the Trenton area.
Travelling is not a common occurrence but if work is slow locally you can seek work in other local unions who are busy. Being located here in the northeastern United States you can usually find work within commuting distance of home.
Again, the advantage of being an IBEW member is you have access to thousands of contractors nationwide for employment. If the company you are working for slows, you now have a team of people working to secure work for you, a job where you will not have to start at the bottom, but a job making the same wages you are accustomed to.
In the past this was a true statement for many. We only offered two options. Take and pass the journeyman test or start the apprenticeship from the beginning.
This is NO LONGER TRUE. In recent years, The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and IBEW Local 351 have established additional classifications: Construction Wireman & Construction Electrician. We look at an individual’s work experience and administer an assessment test to determine his abilities and where he may need additional training.
We then classify an individual as a Construction Wireman 1-4 or Construction Electrician. The starting hourly rate varies from $16.52 to $39.88 per hour (total package), depending on experience.
The CW or CE is offered classroom training which will be beneficial to them during the upgrade process in the future, should they choose to change classification. This program provides an avenue for electricians, whose skills and experience may not be at journeyman level by our standards, to become an IBEW member, reap the benefits, earn a great hourly rate, and get annual increases as he completes training and progresses to become a journeyman wireman.
For our contractors, these classifications provide competitive composite crew rates for them to be competitive in the commercial market.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our signatory contractors are our partners. We work very closely every day with our contractors to make them as successful and profitable as possible. The more successful they are the better wages and benefits we can negotiate. It’s a true partnership. We negotiate a fair, competitive agreement that sets out the rules for both parties fairly. We can only negotiate good wages and benefits if we are productive, efficient, and professional and if we make the contractor money…period.
A local union needs funds to operate just like any other organization. We fund our local by paying union dues. These funds are established by the membership at a union meeting by majority vote. We ALL pay these dues and obviously want to keep them as low as possible. IBEW Local 351 is a democratic organization, and each member has a voice and a vote. Everything done is approved by the body. IBEW Local 351 has always been and will continue to be fiscally responsible.
What do YOU pay in NON-UNION dues? Let’s see…
How much do you make an hour? IBEW Local 351 Journeymen make $47.04/hr. That’s IN THE CHECK. On top of that they get an over $40.00/hr benefit package which includes fully paid family health coverage, two pensions, and an annuity plan.
How much less do you make? That amount is the NON-UNION dues you pay!!
Our members happily pay the small amount in dues to receive the pay and benefits they do and to have a voice in their working lives and having representation in all working condition situations.
Organizing a union in your workplace does seem intimidating and can seem like such an impossible uphill battle. It does take courage, but it is very worth it; thousands of workers do just that each year. The fact is, it’s illegal for an employer to threaten, intimidate, or coerce workers who are exercising their right to unionize. However, many employers will illegally do just that. That’s where the experience the IBEW has in organizing is useful. In the event that an employer violates the law, the IBEW will ensure that legal action is taken and that the employer is held responsible for their actions. IBEW Local 351 will support workers who want union representation; we will ensure that no matter what happens during an organizing drive that workers will be brought into the IBEW and put to work.
There are many more “misconceptions” out there. Do yourself a favor and find out the FACTS for yourself!!!
For more information call or stop by:
Ryck Signor-Membership Development Representative
IBEW Local Union 351
1113 Black Horse Pike
Folsom, NJ 08037
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IBEW Local 351 provides a highly-skilled Electrical Workforce to all of
Southern New Jersey. This means you receive the highest quality
craftsmanship with on-time and on-budget projects.
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