Vote Tabled 3 Months

Last night the Hall held a special meeting for a vote on changes to our pension plan. Tosh stated again how he would follow the wishes of the membership, but it was clear from the very beginning that would only be true if the membership agrees with 45000 hours for retirement. A CORE 46 member put together a proposal that exceeding the Actuary’s recommendation but this proposal was the very first thing that Tosh discredited and blocked at the start of the meeting. Clearly for Tosh, it is 45000 hours despite his rhetoric about following what the membership wants. Proposals that contradict this are not welcome.

As the meeting progressed, one of the members from the floor became fed up with the discussion and lack of information for other (read not 45K) proposals. So he wrote up a motion to table the vote on changing the pension rules. Some immediately see this as kicking the can down the road, others such as myself see this as an opportunity to try and engage more members about this issue and build a bigger presence in our fight against the change to 45K.

Keep in mind that the wage allocation vote is still on for Wednesday the 9th of December.


Defined Benefit vs Defined Contribution

For some of us, the reason we considered and then joined the IBEW was because of the pension. Myself included. The reasoning for myself and I’m sure others who thought about it, is the assurances of what a “Defined Benefit” (defined pension) plan has to offer vs a “Defined Contribution” (401k) plan. The retirement options we have to consider as workers are tiered. If you are just starting out maybe you won’t have access to a retirement plan at all, so you save money in a savings account or start an IRA with a bank. Then after a while your company offers a 401k and the enrollment period opens so you sign up. Shifting your savings dollars to the 401k instead or in conjunction with the IRA. But what if the company has a Defined Benefit Pension? Invest your earnings in the pension because the return is predetermined, that is what is meant by “Defined Benefit”. The only thing defined about a 401k is the amount of money you are going to contribute on an hourly basis. The return on a 401k is not defined, and completely exposed to market volatility.

So it goes like this…

  1. Savings: Low returns, safe investment, it will be there when you need it.
  2. 401k: Fluctuating returns, volatile market, it might or might not be there… Could have great or earnings or might not…
  3. Pension: Return is predetermined, some protections from market volatility. Will be there if well managed. Ours is 89.1% funded..

The current proposals from the Hall are heavy handed, and the leadership is pushing the membership to utilize the new 401k plan. We should only be adding money to the 401k as an individual choice to gamble with retirement. Putting our dollars together to secure our pension is the better choice for the security of all of our brothers and sisters.  The following proposal takes a less drastic approach to the problems our pension could be facing by allocating the majority of our next raise to address the issue. If we follow the Hall on this, we will force members to retire sooner, and those that stay will have to work longer for less benefits.

Our proposal can be found here.

Minutes – November 2016

Meeting called to order at 4:30pm 11/18/2016

  • Finance report given. We have limited funds, but have enough to cover the cost of producing generic business cards for advertising with.
  • Discussed the proposed changes to the Pension
  • resurfaced as a discussion topic. Would be great to promote it as an online destination for members to build an online community.
  • The 90 Day Rule Motion was passed at the last General Meeting. It will give members 7 days to quit a job without losing their number of the books. Only one member voted against the motion, and it was later revealed that he has never had to quit or been out of work for more than 20 years.
  • ESU (Electrical Sisters United) is trying to get more members involved with their group and improve the organization of their committee. It is a work in progress
  • The upcoming Local elections were discussed, candidates for Business Manager was the main topic of discussion.
  • Internal organizing members to join and or like CORE 46. Some success at work sites with asking members to join our mailing list.
  • Meeting adjourned at 5:30pm


Check Your Pension Benefits

With all of the talk about the changes to the pension it may be a good time to check on yours. “How do I do that?” has been the common question I’ve heard while talking to other members. Fortunately, it is really easy, and all you have to do is click on this link: Welfare & Pension Administration Service, Inc. If you have a PIN number, fill out the fields to login. Otherwise click the link to request a PIN number and the WPAS will send a PIN number to you via the U.S. Postal Service.



Uptick in Dissent

There has been quite a bit of frustration and talk on the job and outside of the Hall lately. I believe that there is a real need for a Rank & File group to develop and put pressure on the Hall and NECA. Fortunately, that is what this group is all about. If you feel that there is a need for this kind of group, please swing by our monthly meeting at Dick’s Restaurant on lower Queen Anne. This month we are meeting on the 18th from 4:30 – 6pm. If attending a meeting is not up your alley, or you just don’t have the time, please sign up for our mailing list so we can keep you in the loop.

Response from the IO

Well, it took a little bit as could be expected but the IO has sent their response to the By-Law change which would refund Stewards their Organizing Dues. Unfortunately, the IO has chosen to say as little as possible, and gave no reason for their denial of the unanimous vote by the membership to make the required change to the By-Laws.

While I was very tempted to try and pass a motion to send a letter to the IO asking for an official response (which I probably should have done), I could not keep myself from airing my disgust with this lack of justification when it came to the “Good of the Union”. I am of the opinion that the IO should have enough respect for the membership of our Local to tell us why they have chosen not support the motion. Our local leadership told me that I should contact the IO myself if I wanted an answer… (which they should have given in their letter to us in the first place)