Frequently asked questions

What are the union dues used for?

The money is used to provide expert services including lawyers, negotiators and economists for representation, as well as for member education, training, and certification purposes. It pays the salaries of all the staff members involved in administering the Locals daily operations, custodial and maintenance services, utilities, and all expenses generated operating a business.

Where does the surplus money go?

It goes into a “General Fund”. These funds are used for emergencies, member functions and unexpected expenses. The Executive Board must vote and provide account for the usage and the membership is given detailed information.

Are dues used for political donations?

No, dues are never used for political donations or activities.

How can we track the “General Fund” and its activity?

A report of all expenditures is given at our monthly member’s meeting. You can also call or visit the Local and obtain such information.

What is the purpose for the monthly union meeting?

The meetings are designed for the entire membership to assemble and collectively make decisions concerning the Local’s business and affairs. We make proposals, present ideas and all vote on the “Motions” presented to the membership. It is a key source for current information and a means to stay actively involved in the Local’s operations.

What is a union?

A union is an organized group of workers who collectively use their strength to have a voice in their workplace. It gives the workers an opportunity to express their opinions on matters pertaining to employee treatment, wages, benefits and work conditions.  It is formed by the people for the people.

How does one benefit from being in a union?

You will have your best interest represented and protected on the work site. On average, union members’ wages and benefits are considerably higher than nonunion workers. They have jobs that offer health insurance benefits and pension plans in which the employer contributes a negotiated amount, rather than being deducted from the employee’s wages.    

When a non-union contractor/company becomes signatory with the union, are the employees replaced by existing members with more seniority?

No. Members do not acquire seniority through the collective bargaining agreement, by-laws or constitution.

Are union member fringe benefits really paid for by the employer?

Yes. See our "Cost of Living Comparison" flier for examples of Local 450's fringe benefits.   

I have a relative that had a “bad union experience”, how is your organization any better?

Though most labor organizations have the same fundamental concept and structure, it is the Local’s leadership and membership participation that lends to its success.    

Can you keep me busy?

Our Locals have contracts with the leading Crane and Rigging companies in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. Our work only slows when the industry is slack. As an IUOE member, you will be eligible to be employed by any of our signatory companies, as well as through any one of our local unions in the United States or Canada.

I'm good at my job and I can find my own work...why should I pay union dues?

We think you should do a short calculation.  Take the amount you earn per hour, subtract the amount taken out for your health care and your 401K plan contributions (and any other non-tax deductions) and compare that to the union scale minus the dues.  Since the union health insurance and the defined benefit pension plan do not require deductions, we think you will see that the dues required to provide professional representation are a small fraction of what is gained by having a collective bargaining agreement in place. Other than the monetary gains common with a CBA, it also provides additional job security and improves working conditions.

I hear senior members get the best jobs, how can I compete for those positions being recently initiated?

You won’t have to. We use a roster system that is not based on seniority. It operates on a “first come, first serve” basis and is regulated by the Department of Labor.

Is it true that the Local Unions provides the training and testing necessary for its member’s CDL licensing and industry certifications?

Yes. Our new state-of-the-art training facilities will ensure that our members have the best training opportunities and necessary certifications/licenses available to them.  This is a benefit to membership, without additional cost.

Do you have a 40 hour guarantee?

There is no such “guarantee” presently included in our Master Agreement, but that is subject to change. It is up to the membership to decide and vote on the inclusion of such a guarantee in the following contract.

If your employer provides a “guarantee” of any working condition, be sure to ask for it in a written agreement. Otherwise, it is not guaranteed, unless protected by state or federal law.

Do riggers have access to the equipment training facility?

Absolutely! All our members have this benefit and can schedule training at anytime. This includes cranes, dirt equipment or “Hands On" rigging if necessary.