The Electrical Worker online
March 2023

From the Officers
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Keeping Our Promise

As your international secretary-treasurer, there is no more important job than ensuring that every IBEW member enjoys the full fruits of their labor.

That's why I am committed to continue strengthening our benefits programs. Programs like the National Electrical Benefit Fund have lifted generations of electricians into the ranks of the middle class.

No one gave us pensions and other economic benefits when the electrical industry started. For the IBEW's founders, their first goal was a death benefit.

It was the most pressing need in an industry as dangerous as the early electrical industry. But over time, as we added more members, we expanded those benefits, transforming electrical jobs into the middle-class jobs they are today.

Pensions and affordable health care are increasingly rare in the private sector today. But while much of corporate America has run away from its retirement obligations, the IBEW continues to invest in ours.

Like the IBEW, the NEBF grows stronger every year. Under the watch of my predecessor and now international president, Kenny Cooper, it grew by more than $4 billion, earning an average investment return of more than 7%. That puts the NEBF in the top 10% of the best-performing Taft-Hartley plans in the nation.

There are two key reasons it's been so successful. First, the IBEW continues to add members, growing nearly every year for the past decade. Second, we've stuck with the tried-and-true strategy that has helped us survive and thrive through upturns and downturns alike.

We invest our money in secure portfolios that don't just return a profit but result in good union jobs that keep our industry thriving.

For example, between 2012 and 2020, the NEBF and National Electrical Annuity Plan invested more than $6 billion in more than 835 union-built real estate and construction projects.

And we continue to develop new programs to ensure every member's health and retirement security, most recently the IBEW/NECA Family Medical Care Plan.

Like our pension funds, this plan continues to expand while providing affordable and comprehensive health care coverage to an increasing number of IBEW families.

One of the IBEW's founding objectives is to "seek a higher and higher standard of living" for electrical workers. Our benefit programs are how we put those words into action.

Since this union's founding, generations of IBEW leaders have upheld the promise of economic security for electrical workers across the nation. I look forward to working with you in the years to come to keep that promise.


Also: Cooper: We Won't Back Down Read Cooper's Column

Paul A. Noble

Paul A. Noble
International Secretary-Treasurer