Vol.2, No.3 March 2022
“Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join a union of their choice.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Welcome to THE RELAY. Many years ago, the leadership of IBEW LU 175 published THE RELAY in an effort to strengthen the communication of information to Local 175’s membership. The copy was in paper form, mailed via the United States Postal Service, and read in the hands of our Brothers and Sisters that built this Local into one of the finest in North America. The newest version of THE RELAY will now carry on that proud tradition to all generations of LU 175 membership via a 21st century internet.
For the Membership: A letter From Gary Watkins, Business Manager-IBEW Local Union 175
Greetings IBEW Brothers and Sisters,
It’s time to update The Relay!
2022 is a busy year for IBEW Local 175. On March 17th we enjoyed our first Retirees Breakfast in about two years. The headcount for this event was 78. Not bad for a restart at a new location. We look forward to getting back to normal with this event later in the year. We’ve included a few pics from the Silver side of Local 175.
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, 2022 is the year for the Election of Officers at Local 175. Nominations will be held on April 4th during the regular monthly meeting, which begins at 7:00 PM at 3922 Volunteer Drive, 37416. If you haven’t received a notice of the election in the mail, you need to contact the Local 175 business office at 423.894.3557 to update your mailing address.
Before this newsletter, we haven’t discussed the Local Unions’ 110th Anniversary. In 2022 IBEW Local 175 will celecbrate 110 years of service to our members. There have been several other IBEW construction Local Unons in Chattanooga, but Local 175 has been blessed to be the most successful. We hope you’ll join us Saturday, June 25th between 9 AM and 3 PM to celebrate and look forward to the next 110 years!
Looking back, time has passed so quickly since I topped out of the Chattanooga Electrical JATC program in 1982. It seems like yesterday when I couldn’t wait to get out of class, and school. Spring is here and a new group of Journeyman will soon be on the loose. Beware, be careful, be safe. Your most important daily task is to go home safe and sound, every day.
Let’s get ready to enjoy SUMMERTIME!!
Gary M. Watkins
Business Manager – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO
For the Membership: A Letter From Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175
Dear IBEW 175 Sisters and Brothers,
Hope everyone had a good month.
The last 2 months I have gone over some of our Death Benefits. If you did not read them, it would serve you well to do so.
Let’s investigate something a lot happier, our RETIREMENTS.
First up, our International Retirement: this one pays out the least of the three. I think any retiree would tell you anything coming in is a good thing. You get this payout for just keeping your dues paid. it pays $4.50 per month per years worked. In other words, if you work 40 years you would receive $180.00 a month at 65 years old. You must be at least 62 to draw but from 62, 63, 64 there would be a penalty accessed. You also must be a member in good standing for 20 years to be vested.
Next up is our National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF) pension. It pays $32.00 for every year worked. An example would be if you worked 10 years payout would be $320.00. This retirement is funded as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). There is 3% on top of your gross earnings that goes into this fund. This pension can be drawn at 62, it could be received at age 60 and 61 but with a penalty. You must have worked 300 hours in one of the last 7 years to be able to draw before 63. This fund takes 5 years to be vested.
Last one up is our Southern Electrical Retirement Fund (SERF). This one is our largest fund, it is like a 401K, but is a 403B. These contributions also are part of our CBA. Contributions differ upon your classification, Journeyman Wiremen contribute 10% plus $.35 per hour and by the end of our recent contract it will be 10% plus $1.00 per hour worked. Journeyman Linemen contribute 16%, apprentices 3rd-6th period contribute 4% and CE(s) contribute 2%. Our TVA contract in all classifications contribute $4.45 per hour worked. You must be 55 years old before you can draw this fund. Be sure and check with SERF if drawing early to make sure there are no penalties. If you work consistently throughout your career, you can build up a very nice retirement. In the 45 years since its beginning this fund has lost money only 3 times, so it is well managed. This year we made 14.63%, which also saw our first our top 8 members go over 1 million dollars in their shares account. So, as you can see, IBEW 175 members can retire in comfort.
It was nice to visit with all the retirees this month at our retirement breakfast. If not for them, IBEW 175 would not be as strong as it is today. It has been at least 2 years since we have had one. I haven’t seen some of these folks since the last one. Hopefully, we can get back to having these on a regular basis.
President – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO
For the Membership: A Letter From Caleb Long, Dispatcher and Assistant Business Manager for Manufacturing and Professional & Industrial Maintenance-IBEW Local Union 175
Dear IBEW Local 175 Brothers and Sisters,
I’m going to start by offering a “Thank You”.Dozens of Brothers and Sisters have bid and fulfilled the obligation to provide manpower to our union contractor base over the last month. Because of the members, Local 175 has filled every call. You are appreciated and thank you for your work.
IBEW Local 175 is a Union comprised of many different employment sectors. We represent employees within manufacturing, utility, electrical cooperatives, maintenance, and construction. Local 175 is strong because we train and have a wide-ranging work scope. Local 175 members can do all work within the electrical industry.
The lifeblood of our construction units are the Apprenticeship Programs. Local 175 Inside Wireman apprentices, over the last few months, have had questions regarding City of Chattanooga licensing requirements. The concerns and input seem to be focused on how licensing will affect top-out and rerates, how journeyman classification could be affected, and not being able to travel.
To eliminate any further confusion, IBEW Local 175 Dispatch offers the following: An apprentice who provides, to the Local Union, a completion letter from the Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center stating that the apprenticeship requirements have been fulfilled, will be classified as a Journeyman. The Local Union classifies and hope this addresses any concerns.
The work outlook is looking like we will be busy as we move into the Spring and Summer months. We expect calls to hit Local 175 Books from both NECA and TVA contractors.
Appreciate you and please stay safe.
Dispatcher/Assistant Business Manager – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO