Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to talk to you about the Vacation Fund. First, only the Inside Wireman and Traffic Signal Wireman (and their apprentices) participate in the fund. The process is that every week, 12% of your weekly gross (after taxes) is deducted from your paycheck. The contractor accumulates these funds and sends them along with benefit reports on the first of the following month to the Trust office. The Trust office confirms the transfer of funds and then redistributes them to the appropriate accounts. They send 3.5% to Local 11 and 8.5% to the Credit Union. The Credit Union records who and how much for each individual and then invests the money in short term investments.
The term for each accumulation is December through May and June through November.
The Credit Union sends out an accumulation report to each participant for you to double check and make sure all of the vacation deductions were properly accounted for. If the number is wrong (by your accounting), then you can call the Credit Union and work to remedy the situation.
The Vacation Fund sends out a statement the month before distribution to each participant to offer a choice of how or where you would like your vacation check issued. If you have a Credit Union account, you could have your money direct deposited in your account.
The issued vacation check has a statement attached that states the deducted amount plus the interest earned minus the administrative cost (per individual).
The scheduled date to receive your check is June 1st and December 1st. June 1st because when the kids are out of school that’s usually the time families will go on vacation. The vacation check amount usually covers the amount of wage you would miss while on vacation and the expense of the vacation. The December 1st check is for the holiday season. Usually there are several holiday days off where you won’t be earning a full paycheck and the addition of family gatherings and holiday purchases, the additional money is there to help.
If a member wishes to borrow their vacation amount early (before normal distribution) then they can borrow up to 80% of the amount. The Credit Union treats the borrowed money as a loan and an interest rate is charged. The member doesn’t have to pay back the amount borrowed with monthly payments. When distribution time comes, the statement will show the total accumulated amount minus the borrowed amount and the interest charges and the remainder (20%) is given to the member. So, you still get something on the scheduled distribution date.
This system which was created by our locals’ forefathers long ago has served us very well. I hope someday that our other brothers and sisters in the other construction divisions might also be allowed to participate in this program. It’s a pretty common fact that construction workers will budget their spending on what they take home. The Vacation Fund is an excellent supportive benefit!
As always, if anyone has questions just call and ask. It’s important that you understand how your union works!
President, IBEW Local 11