The Regional Council is part of several self-funded health and welfare trust funds. These funds provide health insurance coverage for members and their families. Coverage is part of our fringe benefit package, which we negotiate with our signatory contractors.
Coverage includes comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage, plus dental and vision benefits. Eligible members pay no monthly premiums. The details of your coverage — including eligibility, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses — depend on your craft and where you live.
Wisconsin members also have a pre-funded health plan that acts as a savings account to help pay for medical expenses after they retire. Members in the Carpenters and Joiners Health Plan (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota) have subsidized retiree coverage based on years of service.
These benefit funds are run by a board of trustees, divided equally between union representatives and contractor representatives. The trustees decide eligibility rules, types of benefits and administrative policies, manage plan assets, and interpret plan provisions.
The plans are managed by third-party administrators. Consult the Summary Plan Document provided by the trust fund that applies to you.
The Regional Council plans to eventually merge all funds so members are covered by the same plan Council-wide. By merging funds and weeding out duplication, we can cut administrative overhead, cut costs, increase efficiency and purchasing power. That will make it possible to save each one of us money, and possibly improve the level of benefits as necessary or appropriate.
Because of the nature of construction, we don’t get “paid vacation” in the same way many workers do. Under certain area agreements, however, some members have a “vacation fund.” Money is deferred into the fund for every hour they work. The money then is distributed on a “vacation check” for them to use as they please.
In Wisconsin and South Dakota, the check is distributed once a year — in early June — for hours worked from the preceding May through April. Nearly all members authorize a “dues check-off,” in which you pay a year’s worth of Local dues by deducting them from your vacation check.
In Minnesota and North Dakota, a vacation check is distributed twice a year: in May for hours worked the previous July through December, and in December for hours worked January through June. These members may also withdraw money from the fund earlier if they have an account with the Carpenters Federal Credit Union in Saint Paul.
Iowa and Nebraska do not have vacation funds at this time.
If you’re off work because of an extended illness or an injury suffered away from the job, you may be able to take advantage of the Council’s short-term disability benefit.
In Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, the benefit pays up to $250 a week for up to 26 weeks.
In Wisconsin, an “accident and sickness” benefit pays $240 a week for up to 16 weeks.
For more information, see the Summary Plan Document for your health insurance plan.