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Electricians Digest
IBEW . . . . . . Creating Opportunities for Washington State Electrical Workers
December 04, 2021
Posted On: Jul 28, 2008


IBEW has a lot to offer employers as well as workers!


Many people believe that Unions work only on the behalf of employees and completely ignore the interests of the employers who provide our members with jobs. With the IBEW, nothing could be further from the truth! Sure, we as union leaders do our job and work to get the best wages, benefits and working conditions for our members. At the same time we also realize that it is the contractors, who in many cases are betting everything they own to bid the job, which provide our members with those great wages and benefits. Do we want our contractors to make lots of money? You better believe we do. Without them we do not get paid.


This is why several years ago we decided to create some new programs to help our contractors be more successful. Besides the usual benefits to a contractor affiliating with the IBEW - ready access to a qualified labor supply and the ability to send apprentices to a state of the art 60,000 square foot training facility just to name a few - we started offering courses for our contractors.


We have several contractor classes. Some examples include our Small Business Class. This class is taught by John Schaufelberger who is the chairman of the Construction Management Department at the University of Washington. Another excellent class is our Accubid Estimating Class. This class is aimed at the new estimator who is unfamiliar with the Accubid estimating software. This class costs over $2000.00 to take from Accubid but we put it on for free! Soon there we will have classes on scheduling and project management. All of these classes are open to nonunion contractors as well as long as space is available. I will admit that if a non-union contractor takes one of our classes we will be talking to them about the benefits of partnering with the Union.


Another benefit to our signatory contractors is that the Union pays for pooled advertising. Several years ago the IBEW started an advertising co-op called Residential Electrical Services (RES). The Union bought advertising in several yellow page books around the Puget Sound area. As phone calls come in to a call center, the calls are routed to contractors who have elected to participate in the free advertising sponsored by the IBEW.


The IBEW also underwrites a 5-year guarantee on residential electrical work installed by one of our contractors. This program is called The +5 Homeowners Electrical Protection Plan. It adds an additional 5 years to the typical one-year home warrantee offered by home builders. This has proven to be a very effective marketing tool for our Union contractors. If something fails on the electrical system before the +5 program is up, the Union pays to have the issue fixed.


There was a time when most unions viewed the employers that they have contracts with as the enemy. Those times are long gone at the IBEW. Today, we understand that without a successful contracting community we do not have a successful labor community. That is why we at the IBEW continually work to build alliances with our contractors so that we can all share in the success of the electrical industry that we have chosen.

IBEW NW Organizers
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