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Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be “in the union?”

Being “in the union” means that you are part of a larger collective voice – a group of workers who protect and further workplace goals. The union is made up of men and women who work hard and believe in receiving a fair wage and benefits in return.

Having a union and being part of the union means that you meet with other members to negotiate with management over any issues that affect you and your job including wages, benefits, and working conditions.

IBEW Local 300 members work for contractors or employers who have signed an agreement with the union.   


What is a Union Contract?

A union contract is a legally binding document where wages, benefits, and working conditions are put in writing. The contract is renegotiated on a regular basis.


What will be in our contract?

It is up to the union employees to decide what is in the contract.  A negotiating committee is selected from among your co-workers.  Then, with the assistance of union negotiators, the committee will sit down with management to come to an agreement.

The law says that both sides must bargain “in good faith” to reach an agreement on wages, benefits, and working conditions.  The contract will only take effect after it is ratified (approved) by a majority of the workers.

IBEW Local 300’s contract contains language regarding contract dispute procedures.  We specify in our contract that there shall be no stoppage of work either by strike or lockout.

Who runs the union?

The union is a democratic organization run by the members.  You elect the local officers.  You vote on many important issues.  You vote on your contract.  Union members elect delegates to the national conventions, where delegates elect national officers and vote on major issues.  The union is the people themselves.


Have you ever been mistreated?

Has your employer ever treated you unfairly?  Maybe a mistake on your paycheck?  Improper overtime pay? A misunderstanding on how many hours you actually worked?  Or, maybe a question on time for lunch or breaks, starting or quitting times, pay for travel time, safety or many other issues?

What can you do about it if your boss doesn’t like you, treats you unfairly, denies you a promotion, disciplines or discharges you without just cause?  Probably nothing if you are not represented by the IBEW.

Under the "employment at will doctrine", the cornerstone of American employment law, in general terms, unless we belong to a protected group, our employer has the right to discipline or terminate us, with impunity, for any reason – even a bad one – or for no reason at all.  That’s why it is sometimes called the fire at will doctrine.

With a collective bargaining agreement, we have rights.  Management must have “just cause” for any disciplinary action taken against a union employee.  “Just cause” is spelled out in our union contract so that we know exactly what is expected of us.  Union members are not "employees at will."

 

What can the union do about favoritism?

Fairness is the most important part of the union contract.  The same rules apply to everyone.  If any worker feels that he or she is not being treated fairly, then he or she still has the opportunity to complain to the supervisor, just like before.  But under a union contract, the supervisor or manager no longer has the final say.  They are no longer judge and jury.  If the worker is not satisfied with the response of the supervisor, the worker can file a grievance.

The first step of a grievance procedure is for a Union Steward to accompany the worker to try and resolve the problem with the supervisor.  If the worker is not satisfied, the steward and the employee, with help from the Union Business Manager, can bring the grievance to higher management.  If the complaint is not resolved, then the issue can be placed before an outside neutral judge called an arbitrator.

IBEW Local 300 respects and protects our older workers

How many electricians over the age of 45 do you see on the non-union jobs?  Overall, not many?  That’s because non-union construction employers do not provide the fringe benefits that older electricians need.

As an electrician grows older, benefits become more important.  The likelihood increases of major surgery, heart attack, disabling illness, or knee and back problems.  The need to earn decent retirement benefits also becomes more urgent.  Because of this, many older electricians leave the non-union construction industry to accept other jobs in order to obtain the benefit coverage they know they need.

As union electricians, you have excellent fringe benefits and, as you age, you are covered by minimum employment quotas set up in the contract.

At I.B.E.W. Local 300, we value our older workers.  Their years of experience and their wealth of knowledge in the electrical trade are a valuable resource this union will never disregard.


What are the wages and benefits?

As union members, we bargain collectively with our employers over wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.  We offer an excellent wage and benefit package to our members which helps to support the families of our members, and the communities in which they live.

 

If you would like specific information about our wages and benefits -

Call (802)864-5864 or email info@ibewlocal300.org in confidence

or write to us at

IBEW Local # 300
3 Gregory Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403


All communications are strictly confidential to protect your rights!

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