The nucleus of our Brotherhood was formed in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri. An exposition was held in St. Louis that year featuring “a glorious display of electrical wonders.” Electricians from all over the country flocked to St. Louis to wire the buildings and exhibits.
The men got together at the end of each workday and talked about the conditions for workers in the electrical industry. The work was hard and dangerous: the hours long: the pay small. A union was the logical answer: so this small group, with the help of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), was chartered as the Electrical Wireman and Linemen’s Union, NO. 5221. Henry Miller, a St. Louis lineman, was elected president.
Most of us have very limited bargaining power as one person, but as a group, we are strong. And, with a good negotiated contract, we have legal protections we would not have otherwise.
On November 21, 1891 the first convention was called in St. Louis with ten delegates representing 286 members. These ten founders of our union met in a small room above Stolley’s Dance hall. It was a humble beginning
The outcomes of this first meeting put together the framework of our organization. The Constitutional Preamble was written and is listed below this paragraph. Also the name of the organization – National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – was chosen. Even our emblem, the hand grasping the lightning bolt, was established at this first convention.
The objects of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are:
The International Offices of the IBEW are located in Washington D.C. The International President Kenneth Cooper and International Secretary Treasurer Paul Noble and their staff have their offices there.
The International Offices and the International Executive Council are responsible for the administration of the IBEW Constitution and provide guidance and assistance to Local Unions through District Offices. There are 11 districts across the United States and Canada. Each District is comprised of a geographical area that covers several states or provinces. We are in the 7th District, which covers Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Our International Vice President is Christian Wagner, and our International Representative is Joe Smith.
The Local Union Organization
IBEW Local 602 was chartered in Amarillo in 1911. In November of 1999, Local Unions 460 Midland and 850 Lubbock were amalgamated into Local 602. With the addition of the two locals, IBEW Local 602 now covers 67 counties and 84,512 square miles.
The Employer and the Union have a common and sympathetic interest in the Electrical Industry. Therefore, a working system and harmonious relations are necessary to improve the relationship between the Employer, the Union, and the Public. Progress in industry demands a mutuality of confidence between the Employer and the Union. All will benefit by continuous peace and by adjusting any differences by rational, common-sense methods.
The Employer recognizes the Union as the exclusive representative of all its employees performing work within the jurisdiction of the Union for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment and other conditions of employment. Any and all such employees shall receive at least the minimum wages and work under the conditions of this Agreement.
The Union understands the Employer is responsible to perform the work required by the owner. The Employer shall, therefore, have no restrictions except those specifically provided for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in planning, directing and controlling the operation of all his work, in deciding the number and kind of employees to properly perform the work, in hiring and laying off employees, in transferring employees from job to job within the Local Union’s geographical jurisdiction, in determining the need and number as well as the person who will act as Foreman, in requiring all employees to observe the Employer’s and/or owner’s rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Agreement, in requiring all employees to observe all safety regulations, and in discharging employees for proper cause.
The IBEW Constitution
The constitution is the foundation of our Brotherhood. It is a document that is binding to all Local Unions who belong to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The constitution spells out the rules of the IBEW. It establishes the processes and procedures for the International Officers and District Officers. Every 5 years the IBEW holds a Constitutional Convention. Delegates are elected by the membership of each Local Union to attend. Any amendments or proposals for new rules are introduced, debated and voted on by the delegates at the Convention.
Local 602 By-laws
The Local 602 Bylaws define the specific rules, identities, roles and responsibilities of IBEW Local 602, its officers, and its members. New By-laws or amendments maybe proposed in writing by any member in good standing of the Local Union. Proposals may be submitted to the Local Office or to a member of the Executive Board. Proposals are then read at an official meeting, and debated and voted on by the membership at the following official meeting. If ratified by the membership, they are submitted for review and approval from our International Offices. This is spelled out in Article XVIII of our By-laws.
I believe this discussion could lead to my being disciplined. I therefore request that my union representative or officer be present to assist me at the meeting. I further request reasonable time to consult with my union representative regarding the subject and purpose of the meeting. Please consider this a continuing request; without representation, I shall not participate in the discussion. I shall not consent to any searches or tests affecting my person, property, or effects without first consulting with my union representative.
Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA)
A CBA is the working agreement for the various classifications of workers. It describes the terms and working conditions that have been negotiated by Labor and Management for the duration of the contract cycle. Each agreement is made up of conditions the employers must abide by which were fought and earned over many decades. It also details the conditions that labor must honor. The Agreements are legally binding contracts and can be considered the “Law of the Land” as far as electrical work is concerned.
The Agreements are “opened” for negotiations based on the duration of the last settled contract. (For example, the last Inside Agreement was settled in 2022 for a 3 year contract. So this contract will stand for 3 years and the next Inside Agreement negotiations will be held in 2025.) Representatives from both the Local Union and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) each create a Negotiation Committee to discuss each side’s proposed changes to the Agreement.
The IBEW is a “No Strike Union.” In the event that a settlement is not reached by Negotiation Committees, the contract is referred to the Council of Industrial Relations (CIR) for settlement. The decision from CIR is binding to both parties for the duration of the contract terms.
To date we have Agreements in the Following Areas:
The Union is always looking for new ideas to add to our negotiated contract language from our membership. The Constitution, By-laws and the Working Agreements are “our” rules. They are the rules that establish our code of conduct and provide a stable platform for the dignity and security of our membership. Everything we gain in negotiations, like improved working conditions or increased wages, must be bargained for. It is a mutual process where both sides must bring professionalism and integrity to the table.
Executive Board Meetings
Some notes about meetings
Official Meetings observe Roberts Rules of Order.
Monthly Dues Breakdown
Monthly Dues are $48.50 per month through 2025. Monthly dues amounts are determined at the International Convention held every 5 years. In accordance with the Local By-laws, these dues are payable in advance and no later than the first of each month. After three months of late dues, the member will be in arrears and become ineligible for International Pensions and death benefits. To become current, a $30 re-instatement fee is assessed. After 6 months of late dues, the member is dropped from membership.
The breakdown of Monthly Dues is as follows:
Our working assessments are 3.5% of employees’ gross wages. Of this, 3.5% are sent to the Local’s General Fund and are used for the maintenance and operation of the Local Offices, salaries of officers, printing, legal and accounting expenses, etc. The ledger books of the Local are audited by a reputable accounting firm and reviewed and approved by the Executive Board each year.
Book System Overview
Individuals who are unemployed will sign their names to our Out of Work List. From there, employees can be referred for work to our various signatory contractors. This system applies to all classifications of workers in our industry.
Inside Wiremen, Inside Construction Electrician’s(CE’s), Outside Linemen, Groundmen, Operators and Trans Techs who are out of work are to report to the Local Office. Apprentices are to report to the JATC. If you were previously employed by a signatory contractor, you must bring in a Separation Notice. The Books are organized as follows:
If you are currently signed in on the “Out of Work” list for any book you must resign monthly to keep your position. The resign period is from midnight to midnight of the 10th through the 16th of each month. Failing to resign will result in your name being removed from the book. You can resign in the following ways:
RESIGNS MUST BE RECEIVED IN THE LOCAL OFFICE BY MIDNIGHT OFTHE 16TH. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THE RESIGN POLICY!
Taking Job Calls
How many Books can I sign?
An applicant can be on their home Local’s Book 1 and an endless number of Book 2’s around the country. However, you must notify all other Locals if you take a Long Call in your home local or any other local off of any Book 2. You can stay on the book if you take a Short Call in any jurisdiction. You should request to be removed from their out of work list or Book. This is your responsibility.
Things to Remember
Some Locals require a Travel Letter. A Travel Letter lets other Locals know that you are a member in good standing in your home Local, that you were certified in your classification, the date you were certified, that you have the required hours of experience, and what month your dues are paid through.
Do not leave home without a paid-up dues receipt!!
IBEW Pension Benefit Fund (PBF)
The Pension Benefit Fund is secured by Article XI of the International Constitution. This pension pays $4.50 per month for each full year of continuous membership. Any member more than 62 years of age and who has more than 20 years of continuous good standing may apply for early retirement options. A 6.66% reduction in benefits will be assessed for each year under the age 65. There is a reduced spousal benefit option that is calculated to pay 50% of the benefit to a surviving spouse. There is also a Disability Pension for members in good standing for more than 20 years who becomes totally disabled. Lastly, the PBF offers a death benefit to members who become deceased with at least 6 months of membership in good standing.
National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF)
The National Electrical Benefit Fund is a pension fund established by the International Offices. This fund was established in 1946 for the purpose of providing retirement and related benefits to employees in the electrical industry.
7th District Annuity Trust Fund
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Seventh District Retirement Benefit Trust Fund is a defined contribution retirement fund administered for the benefit of eligible participants involved in the electrical trade through collective and non-collective bargaining agreements in the Seventh District. Contributions on behalf of participants are made by union contractors and are invested at the direction of the Plan’s Board of Trustees, who are responsible for the operation of the Plan under U.S. department of Labor and Internal Revenue Service rules and regulations.
The NECA/IBEW Family Medical Care Plan (FMCP) is a multi-employer, defined-benefit welfare plan jointly trusted benefit plan between the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The Plan was established in January 2006 in a cooperative effort to provide high quality health benefits, at the lowest cost possible, for electrical workers on a cost effective basis in the best interest of both IBEW and NECA members.
Journeyman <5 – Journeyman Rate Plus $0.80
Journeyman >5 – 110% OF Journeyman Rate
General Foreman – 120% OF Journeyman Rate
Health and Welfare- $8.25 Pd. By Employer
Working Assessments- 3.5% Ded. From Gross
National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF)- 3% of Gross
The following wage schedule shall apply to Apprentice:
1ST PERIOD – 50% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
2ND PERIOD – 53% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
3RD PERIOD – 55% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
4TH PERIOD – 65% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
5TH PERIOD – 75% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
6TH PERIOD – 85% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
Health and Welfare- $8.30 Pd. By Employer
Training – $0.60
National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF)- 3% of Gross
Books and Tuition – 3.0% Ded. From Gross
The following wage schedule shall apply to CE/CE’S:
1ST Level – 50% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
2ND Level – 53% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
3RD Level – 55% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
4TH Level – 65% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
5TH Level – 75% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
6TH Level – 85% OF JOURNEYMAN WIREMAN RATE
National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF)- 3% of Gross
Each Journeyman Wireman, Apprentice Wireman and Construction Wireman shall provide a kit of tools consisting of the following:
Since the IBEW’s first days, we have achieved our goals by welcoming new members into our Brotherhood. As we increase our numbers, our ability to bargain for better wages and conditions grows as well. The IBEW Constitution states that we must organize all workers of our trade into Local Unions. A well-organized union is one that can make its voice heard and can legitimately claim to speak for the majority of workers in the industry.
The issues today are much the same as they were over 100 years ago. Improving safety, enhancing workplace dignity, and building a secure retirement have always been the goals. It is our right as American workers to join together and protect ourselves, our families and each other. Members of the IBEW have proven, that when workers unite, we can win better wages, affordable healthcare, improved staffing, retirement security, education opportunities and other improvements.
What organizing really means is that we must continuously invite workers of our trade into our Union. This means you! It means talking about being a Union member to the guy you went to high school with. It means inviting the non-union electricians that you know to join us and enjoy our benefits and wages.
When you think about what organizing means to you, think about whether you want your quality of life to improve, to be able to spend more time with your family, to be able to collectively bargain a raise. It is through hard work and organizing, bringing in more members, that we improve our standing. Organizing is what has given us the strength to negotiate every gain that has been made. Let your electrician friends and neighbors know that there is a place for them in the union.
There is a sentiment from a small minority of our current members that we do not need any more new members. This could not be further from the truth. It is simple mathematics. The strength of our hard-bargained for retirement benefits improves when we increase the number of members. It is your own retirement security that you improve when you bring a new member into our Union.
The Code of Excellence program defines what is expected from the IBEW Local Union, participating Employers, and the IBEW workforce which will lead to enhanced customer value. The Code seeks to build upon IBEW skill and training advantages and combines them with a well-managed workplace, a professional attitude, and productive mentality.
Designated Code of Excellence projects shall have regularly scheduled meetings on the jobsite involving the COE Steward, a designated representative of Local 602, and a designated representative from the employer in an effort to promote the Code of Excellence Program.
The Business office of your local union. The Hall includes the meeting space which is available for Member’s use under the guidelines established. Monthly Union Meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of every month in Amarillo at 7:30 PM and the 1st Thursday of every month in Lubbock.
The geographical area which separates local unions of the same craft. Also the lines that separate the different craft specialties such as: electrical, iron, plumbing, insulators, sheet-metal, etc.
The Principle Officer of the Local Union, whom handles the day to day business of the Local Union.
The President of the Union presides over Union and Building Corp. Meetings. The President also approves all committee appointments.
The Vice-President presides over meetings in the absence of the President.
Records the Minutes of the Local Union Meeting.
Examines applicants for membership of the Local Union.
The Executive Board handles the business of the Local Union between Union meetings, serve as the trial board, & fill vacancies in offices.
The Business Manager’s representative who works on the jobsite. The Steward is under direct supervision of the Business Manager.
Every member of the IBEW is tasked with organizing. It is our duty to organize all workers in the entire electrical industry in the United States, including all those in public utilities and electrical manufacturing, into local unions.
Your dues receipt that shows you are a paid up member in-good-standing of your local union. The by-laws state that you must show your card to a fellow member when asked.
When a contractor requests manpower for work.
The method by which people accept employment with signatory contractors.
This is the method locals use to keep their referral system (books) in order.
To voluntarily quit employment with a contractor.
Reduction of Force. A “clean layoff.” When a contractor no longer needs manpower for a project they can issue a ROF and return workers to the Hall.
A legal work stoppage, usually, because of problems with contract, payments to benefits programs, or jurisdiction. (The IBEW has a “No Strike” clause in its contract.)
The contractor’s representative on a job site. The contractor selects the Foreman who is responsible for running the job. They order materials, make job assignments, and schedule other jobsite items.
A premium rate of pay for working longer hours, weekends, and holidays. Remember that Organized Labor has worked for over 100 years to establish a 40-hour workweek.
Local 602’s agreement calls for an apprentice ratio of 1 Journeymen Wiremen to 3 Apprentices, unless special conditions exist.
The mythical seat you sit on if you are on the “Out of Work List.
This is what happens to your benefits (pension Reciprocity and insurance) when you work in the jurisdiction (ERTS): of another local. Monies are transferred back to your home local.
The employer is responsible for maintaining a safe job site, but ultimately you are the authority on your personal safety. If you see something on the job that is unsafe, stop the work and tell the proper person immediately.
IBEW Local 602 does not have any seniority policy. A contractor has the right to hire or fire any referred employee, regardless of their time with a company.
Council on Industrial Relations. An IBEW / NECA arbitration committee that rules on problems that a local might have with the contractors, such as new contracts, contract language, grievances not settled at the local level.
When any party to the agreement feels that there has been a violation of the contact, they can file a grievance to settle the matter. The matter can be settled locally by the Labor Management committee or by the C.I.R.
This is the process the local union can use to discipline a member(s) who break(s) the rules of the local or international union. Charges can be violations of the working agreement, constitution, by-laws, or a combination of all.