Good day Union Family
As some of our membership knows, and some may not our Health and Welfare Fund and Pension Plan have Reciprocal Agreements with a number of Union plans across Canada. These include all Insulator funds in Canada, most of the Sheet Metal Worker funds, and a number of the Electrical, Pipefitter, Carpenter, and Labourer Plans.
These Agreements have been set up for basically two reason. The first is being able to send the funds collected on behalf of a worker to another Plan reduces the liability to your Plan. Once the money is transferred there is no more cost to your plan, this was a big help to our Pension Plan over the last few years, because we are not bearing the cost of people taking commuted value buyouts due to break in service. The second is for most employees on a short project will not complete enough hours to gain Health and Welfare benefits and depending on the pension laws of the province they may receive no value for the money being paid on their behalf to the Pension plan. So, these Agreements allow the money to follow the worker and obtain value for the money being paid on their behalf.
Reciprocal Agreements are signed in good faith between the plans, not the individual Unions or Locals. When working with a Reciprocal Agreement in place keep all of your documentation regarding the money paid on your behalf, and check with your plan administrator to ensure that proper amounts have been received on your behalf.
Currently, the Asbestos Workers Benefit Trust (Health and Welfare) and the Asbestos Workers Pension Plan are receiving reciprocal payments on behalf of a number of our members. Although as Business Manager, I am not provided the names of the members or where the payments are coming from it is my understanding that some of these payments are being made from Plans that are covering Wall to Wall Labour Agreements. This is concerning as these Agreements were not developed to have members working as Mechanical Insulators for other Unions. Just because there is a Reciprocal Agreement in place does not mean that Local 110 authorizes our members to work as Insulators for another Union. The jurisdiction of Local 110 ends at the boarders of Alberta and we do not provide dispatch slips or Salting Agreements for members working outside of our area.
With the change to legislation in Alberta more and more Unions will be enacting Wall to Wall Agreements. It is highly likely that some of these Unions will have Reciprocal Agreements with our Plans. It needs to be said that if a Member is working doing Mechanical Insulation work for another Union, that member is most likely in violation of Article XXIV Section 1 (g) and could be subject to charges by the Local Union. If this Member is working in another Locals jurisdiction that Local has the right to file inter local charges against our Members doing this work. These charges will be heard by the International General Executive Board and historically when found guilty the fine is set at $1500, however this amount could change at any point.
A big selling feature of our International to Clients is the ability of Local Unions to on a short notice bring in skilled Mechanical Insulators through our Travel Card System. This system allows Unions that have exhausted their local manpower to still fulfill their obligation to the Contractor. Local 110 has utilized this system extensively for the last twenty years, and without it could never have completed the Mega Projects across Alberta. However, if this advantage is lost due to Members willing to work for other Unions under Wall to Wall Agreements our jurisdiction will slowly be eroded until the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Works will no longer exist and the Mechanical Insulation trade will be represented as a sub sector of a larger Union and most likely not given the attention or respect our trade deserves.
Hopefully I have provided some much-needed clarity on these issues. If you have any questions, comments, or queries please contact me at the Edmonton Union hall.