Then you need to learn about
The I.B.E.W. National Reciprocity Agreement states that each Local’s Benefit office is to reciprocate all hours / contributions within thirty (30) days of receipt to the “home” Local that the participant designates within ERTS (Electronic Reciprocal Transfer System).
If you are scheduled to work within another I.B.E.W. Local’s jurisdiction, this is what you need to do after “clearing” in with that Local’s Union Office.
- Visit the Local Union office and ask to be directed to their Benefit Fund Office and or individual in charge of reciprocity.
- Verify with their Benefit Office or designated representative that your ERTS (Electronic Reciprocal Transfer System) elections are listed within THEIR system, and that they read as you directed within your ERTS designation.
Why is this important? Because any delay in hours being timely reciprocated back to the I.B.E.W. Health and Benefit Fund could result in a participant experiencing a shortage of hours for the corresponding quarter of coverage for which those hours were earned. In other words, a participant may receive a shortage of hours bill.
Keep in mind that the I.B.E.W. Local 697 Benefit Fund office does not know what jurisdiction you worked in or are working within, nor to what extent UNTIL hours and contributions are reported through the ERTS system.
That may occur as strange or “not right”. However, and remember, a participant “clears” through each Local’s referral hall, not through their respective Benefit Fund offices. The reason for that is because each entity has a different function and purpose. Simply put, the Union Office / Referral Hall is responsible for referring journey persons and apprentices to employment. The Benefit Office is responsible for administrating the Benefit Funds and reciprocating contributions in accordance with the employees ERTS election.
Additionally, there are laws that prohibit certain information from being shared between these offices. Rather than risk a violation of those laws and incurring a fine, these offices purposely operate as separate and distinct entities and do not share information or files.
Be advised, that on occasion the reciprocation of hours and contributions back to the designated “home” Local Benefit Fund office does not always take place within the allotted time period. Generally, when this has happened in the past it is for the reasons that the A) participant has failed to update their ERTS election and those monies were sent or kept elsewhere, or B) that the Local’s Benefit Fund Office in which jurisdiction a participant worked is behind in getting these hours and contributions reciprocated back to the designated Local Benefit Fund Office.
Neither of the aforementioned causes are within the authority or influence of the I.B.E.W. Local 697 Fund Office. Meaning: The I.B.E.W. Local 697 Fund Office cannot fix your ERTS election, (that is solely under your control), nor can we force another Benefit Office to reciprocate timely.
Again, the I.B.E.W. Local 697 benefit office does not know where you worked until contributions are received. Further, the benefit office authority is over those fringe benefit contributions it receives as well as for those that are earned when a participant performs unit work within the jurisdiction of the I.B.E.W. Local 697. What does that mean? It means that if you traveled, the Fund Office of the Local you worked in is responsible for the timely reciprocity of your hours and contributions. As it is your ERTS election that is not being adhered to, you have not only the right but obligation to enforce the timeliness of the reciprocation of your benefits.
And now you know!