Residential Union Rates
An IBEW Local in the Northwest is cutting prices to make sure that residential work is being done union
IBEW Local 48 has a unique idea for competing in the residential construction market.
IBEW Local 48 is ready to contribute $200 toward your next home electrical project. That’s how committed the union is to the value of union work — and the goal of recapturing residential market share.The offer is part of the union’s “Qualified Electricians” program, which was launched in 2014 as Plus 5 PDX. At plus5pdx.org, you provide your name, address and other contact information, and they mail you the coupon. The coupon is good for $200 of work from any of the union residential contractors listed on the web site — no matter how small the project.
Since October 2015, 536 homeowners have taken Local 48 up on the offer, and the union has paid out $103,000 to contractors. Local 48 organizer Ray Lister says that resulted in almost $1 million in new work for union contractors. It could be as small as a ceiling fan replacement or simple repair job, or as big as a major remodel or new construction. Most projects are under $1,000, Lister said.
“Everybody’s got something around the house they’ve been putting off,” Lister said. “If our shop goes out there, they build a relationship. They realize we’re affordable.… They’re going to get a professional out there who knows what they’re doing.”
The Plus5PDX web site doesn’t mention the work will be done by a union contractor, but that’s what makes its claim of “qualified electricians” rock solid: IBEW’s joint union-employer training program is unsurpassed. And those doing the work make a living wage and benefits. Last but not least, the program also offers a 5-year warranty over and above the standard one-year warranty.
Local 48 is trying to get the word out about the offer through social media and through booths at portland home and garden shows.