FREQUENTLY
ASKED QUESTIONS

1.  WHAT DOES THE I.B.E.W. DO?

Through the collective bargaining agreement process* the I.B.E.W. Officers negotiate
working agreements with CPS Energy.  This agreement govern wages, benefits, and
working conditions.  Inside the workplace, the I.B.E.W. strives to resolve on-the-job
problems including protecting members against unfair discipline, unsafe working
conditions, and violations of seniority rights.  

The I.B.E.W. also works with C.P.S. and S.A.W.S. in building long-term positive labor
management relationships which represent the unions right to organize.  The I.B.E.W.
also works to improve local, state and federal laws to further the interest of working
people.  Our members are also actively involved in organizing unorganized workers to
provide them the protection of a union agreement.

*The Collective Bargaining Process for Public Employees in Texas is referred
to as Meet-And-Confer Bargaining.  This Law applies to Municipalities with a
population of 1.5 million or more.  Even though San Antonio falls just short of
1.5 million, the respect for IBEW Local 500 comes from the fact that the Local
has represented the CPS Employees for 100+ years.

2.  IS THE I.B.E.W. AFFILIATED WITH OTHER LABOR ORGANIZATIONS?

Yes.  The I.B.E.W. is affiliated with the 16+ million members AFL-CIO. The
AFL-CIO represents labor unions and their members before Congress and provides
support in organizing, research, collective bargaining, education, strategic
campaigns, and legislative and political affairs. Local Union are encouraged to
affiliate with AFL-CIO local, central and state organizations.

3.  WHAT IS A WORKING AGREEMENT?

A working agreement is an agreement between the Union and CPS that
sets the terms and conditions of employment in the workplace for a designated
period of time.

4.  DO I GET TO VOTE ON THE AGREEMENT?

YES.  After the negotiating process ends and the local union has a final agreement offer
from the employer, the local's members vote on the agreement.

5.  WHAT HAPPENS IF PROBLEMS ARISE ON THE JOB AFTER THE
AGREEMENT IS RATIFIED?

The union agreement provides for a grievance process to address problems on the job.  
A grievance is a complaint concerning the employers actions under the agreement. If
you have a grievance, you should first talk to your union steward.  Your union steward is
your on-the-job union representative who has been trained to handle grievances.  The
steward will first review the facts and determine if the employer has violated the
agreement. If so, the steward will try to reach a settlement with the supervisor.  If this
effort fails, the grievance may then continue to the next person in the chain of command.

6.  WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A MEMBER?

As a member in good standing, you have the right to representation, you have the right
to attend meetings, to vote on all motions, to vote in all elections, and to vote on any
changes you might want according to the IBEW Constitution and your local union
by-laws.  You have the right to run for local and international office and to become a
delegate to the IBEW Conventions if you meet the qualifications.

7.  WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE I.B.E.W. LOCAL?

Under the IBEW International Constitution, most powers and decisions are left to
the members of each local union.  Each local union establishes its own by-laws that
govern its actions.  Local union by-laws determine membership requirements,
election and referendum procedures, meeting requirements, dues, steward system
operations, duties of local officers, and any other rules needed to establish and maintain
a democratic union.  All local officers and the executive board are voted
upon by the local union membership.  
The local holds its membership meetings
on the first Wednesday of the month.

Additionally, part of the Locals' role is to assist its members in their time of need.  When
a member gets hurt, sick or disabled who has been in continuous good
standing to this Local for one year previous such sickness or disability shall receive
sick benefits, providing they furnish to the Health and Welfare Committee a
satisfactory Doctor's Certificate from a physician, certifying to illness or disability.  
However, should any member become disabled through accident while on the job
and continue to draw a salary from the company, such member shall not be entitled
to sick benefit.  Upon termination of company sick benefits, a benefit of $30.00 per
day, not to exceed $150.00 per week shall be paid not to exceed a total $900.00 in
any twelve months.  
Only after all benefits provided by the company have
expired (sick leave, vacation days, company paid holidays, etc.) then this
benefit shall begin.

8.  WHO CAN JOIN?

Membership is open to all wage scale employees, and all non-management salaried
employees.

9.  HOW MUCH ARE DUES?

Dues are very reasonable and vary depending upon your current hourly wage.
Dues are payroll deductible.  Currently dues are 1/2 hourly rate + $18 for "BA"
members.  

10.  WHAT ARE UNION DUES USED FOR?

Members dues pay for all the union's operating costs, including negotiations,
organizing, research, communications, and public relations, educating officers and
stewards, and legislative activities.  
(Refer to by-laws for additional costs)

11. IS THE IBEW ACTIVE IN THE LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL ARENA?

The IBEW is active and vocal in the legislative and political arena on local, state, and
national levels.  The International has a political program aimed at creating awareness
of political issues and lobbying Congress on behalf of our members.  The IBEW
believes that strengthening the political climate in favor of working people strengthens
the labor movement.

12.  HOW CAN I FIND OUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE UNION?

You can stay informed by going to union meetings and participating in the
activities of your local.  Remember that as a member you have an equal voice
and vote with all other members. Your stewards and local officers can answer
questions you may have about specific union programs and policies.