You are eligible to participate in the Pension Plan when you begin working in covered employment in a job covered by a collective bargaining agreement (or other written agreement) between your employer and IBEW Local No. 26 that requires your employer to make contributions to the Pension Plan on your behalf. You will be entitled to receive pension benefits when you meet the requirements established by the Plan for a Normal, Deferred or other form of benefit.
Coverage under this Plan is provided to certain employees of Local No. 26, the Local JATC, Inside Wiremen, Residential Workers and the Fund Office, as is explained in written agreements between these organizations and the Plan. The benefits are different for different classifications of employees.
If this is your “home” plan and you have participated in this Plan while working in this area, you may be able to earn credit under this Plan while working in the jurisdictions of other IBEW Local unions. For more information about reciprocity and the Electronic Reciprocal Transfer System (ERTS), see Deferred Pension.
Generally, you are not eligible for Plan coverage if you are not a member of a bargaining unit represented by Local No. 26.
Of course, if you perform non-IBEW work, whether in or out of the jurisdiction of Local No. 26 IBEW, you will not earn credit under this Plan. Extended periods of non-IBEW or other employment, unemployment or other interruptions in credited service can have significant adverse effects on your right to a pension and the amount of that pension when you retire. The Board of Trustees urges and encourages you to consider the effects on any potential pension rights prior to making changes in your work situation.
You are not eligible to participate if you own or acquire (as defined below) an ownership interest in any company that is a contributing employer unless a specific participation agreement is in effect. This rule applies even though if at one time you participated in the Plan by virtue of having worked in covered employment. If you are an Active Employee and you acquire an ownership interest in the business of a contributing employer, your status as an Active Employee will cease on the date on which you acquire such an interest, and you will not receive credit under the Plan for any employment thereafter, even if such employment is of the type that would otherwise qualify as covered employment.
You will not lose any credit for service already performed as an Active Employee, unless such service is canceled under the Break-in-Service rules (see Losing or Interrupting Vesting Service). For the purposes of an interruption of service or the Break-in-Service rules, as well as for other purposes under the Plan, if you have acquired an ownership interest in a business, your status under the Plan will be treated in the same manner as any other employee who leaves covered employment. Of course, should you divest yourself of the ownership interest, you would be eligible to participate once again in the Plan upon your return to covered employment.
The type of ownership which disqualifies a person from participation in the Plan includes being a sole proprietor of a business that is a contributing employer. In addition, anyone who owns, directly or indirectly, 15 percent or more of a partnership or 15 percent or more of the stock of a corporation that is a contributing employer is disqualified from being eligible to participate under the Plan while working for that employer. You will not be disqualified from participation if you are regarded as “indirectly” owning an interest in a contributing employer if that interest is owned by your spouse, lineal descendant, brother or sister, or if you are a beneficiary of a trust that owns such interest, provided that if your only relationship with the employer is as an employee performing work covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement, and it is clear to the Trustees that your employment was taken not merely to circumvent this rule.
The Board of Trustees has approved an exception to these rules in regard to a class of participants called “Bargaining Unit Alumni” based upon regulations under the Internal Revenue Code. A Bargaining Unit Alumni is a person who formerly was an Active Participant in the Plan, who earned a vested pension and who now works for a contributing employer in a capacity not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. These individuals may be eligible to participate in the Pension Plan under a separate participation agreement with the Board of Trustees.