Earlier this month, Doug Low, our “brother electrician” passed away after a lengthy illness with cancer. He leaves behind a devastated wife and three young daughters. He is the second “brother electrician” to pass away since May.
A motion was brought to the floor at our monthly union meeting to take a $25 assessment of our membership when an active member passes away. The assessment would be given directly to the family left behind to help with immediate expenses. It is unfortunate that this motion was turned down by the membership present. The primary reason given was, they did not want to be compelled to donate to someone they didn’t know, or worse someone they did not like.
This mindset is damaging on so many levels. What members have failed to realize is that the monies collected were for spouses/partners and children, who have been left to deal with the loss of their loved one, and now must make financial decisions about burials, services, and other arrangements that most families cannot afford.
While we are fortunate that our benefits provide some level of insurance, the process which previously took a few weeks, now can take many months. I have had my share of calls with families who couldn’t pay the cost of burial along with daily living expenses. This assessment would provide a much-needed buffer until the members death benefits are paid to the family.
This assessment is far too valuable to not implement. While we cannot compel members to donate, we will make participation strictly “voluntary.” This means if you decide to opt-out you can click here to download the form, contact your local union representative, or the Union office to receive an opt-out form. All forms must be submitted to your local Union Representative. If you decide to opt-out you will not have to opt-out each time, as it is a one-time process. After opting out, you will no longer be allowed to opt-in later. We would like to have the plan in place by January 1, 2023.
Ricardo Sanchez, General Chairman
IBEW Local 589