FAQ

Below is list of frequently asked questions. You can also find answers by choosing a category of your questions. 

What types of pension benefits are available?

Four types of pensions are provided under the Plan: Normal Pension, Early Retirement Pension, Disability Pension, and Deferred Vested Pension. In addition, the Plan provides for a lump sum Severance Benefit and Death benefits. Non-covered Masonry Employment may impact eligibility for these benefits.

 

How do I know if the correct contributions are made to my pension, health and welfare, and other benefit funds?

Contractors make direct contributions to benefit funds. The funds keep track of the hours you work and ensures that the appropriate contributions are being made, following up with delinquent contractors until the money is deposited properly. You can help by keeping copies of all pay stubs, since they indicate the number of hours you worked and the contributions your employer owes. Pay stubs can be valuable evidence when a contractor has not paid you fairly or has failed to make contributions. Information from pay stubs can also be useful if you are injured or become ill from a job-related hazard. International and Local benefit funds send participants annual or periodic statements, which can be used to verify the accuracy of their records.

When do I get a raise?

BAC members are covered by collective bargaining agreements – legally binding documents explaining what the contractor must pay you in wages, when and how wages will increase, and the fringe benefits available. The collective bargaining agreement also outlines the work rules the contractor has agreed to follow. To make sure you understand your rights, contact your Local/ADC for a copy of its collective bargaining agreement.

What are my rights?
  • The right, through collective bargaining, to have your voice heard when it comes to your wages, benefits, and working conditions.
  • The right to Union representation if you are discriminated against or unfairly dismissed from a job.
  • The right to safe working conditions.
  • The right to dignity at work.
  • The right to a secure retirement.
Am I allowed to work outside my Local/ADC area?

Yes. Your affiliation with BAC means you can travel to other Locals’ markets and be guaranteed Union wages, protection, and support. When you travel outside of your home Local, be sure to check in with the Local/ADC in the area where you plan to work.

What if I have a problem on the job?

Your first line of defense is the BAC steward assigned to the job. If there is no steward, contact your Local/ADC officer or Field Representative as soon as possible. Early notification enables your Local/ADC officers and representatives to better represent you and address your concerns.

How do I get a job?

As a BAC member you have access to information about job openings only available to Union craftworkers. Make the most of it by attending your Local/ADC or Chapter meetings to learn about work opportunities. If you are out of work, contact your Local Union and have them add your name to their “out of work list,” or contact contractors directly about employment.

What is collective bargaining?

Representatives of labor and management negotiate over wages and benefits, hours and working conditions. The settlement reached is spelled out in a written document or contract, which normally contains a grievance procedure to settle disputes. It is the job of the union to enforce that contract on behalf of its members.

The efforts of unions to establish collective bargaining are a little known – but very important – part of North American history. Management has often taken the position that because they owned the means of production, they had the sole right to determine the conditions of employment. But, thanks to the great sacrifice and bitter struggle of many workers, collective bargaining forms the cornerstone of today’s workplace democracy.

Why should I join the BAC?

As a worker, you have a federally guaranteed right to form or join a union, and bargain collectively with your employer. BAC Local Union/Administrative District Council (ADC) officers and staff are the representatives of the Union who help workers deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and other workplace issues. This helps balance the power that an employer has over individual employees.

Belonging to a union gives you rights under the law that you do not have as an individual. Once you have formed a union, your employer must bargain with your union over your wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. As a result, union workers, on average, earn higher wages and get more benefits than workers who don’t have a voice on the job.

Are unions still important to working people today?

Unions are more important than ever before. Workers have less power when they act individually, but acting together as a group they can effect real change. Unions are the collective voice of workers. Unions are the workers; watchdogs, using their power to ensure that workers rights under the law are protected.

It’s no secret that in a global economy, the nature of work is changing and some employers resist unions. Research consistently shows that far more workers would join unions if anti-union campaigns weren’t so common. Misinformation and intimidation – including firing union supporters – are routine responses when workers try to form unions. Contrary to anti-union rhetoric, however, employers actually stand to benefit from unionization.

In addition to ensuring fairness and equitable treatment, unions help many employers recognize the advantages to offering workers better wages and benefits. Companies concerned about long-term profitability want to maintain a supply of skilled labor and minimize turnover –and unions can help! The basic reason for this is simple: by providing workers with a voice, unions increase worker satisfaction, thus reducing turnover. Another value of an organized workforce is that workers bring increased skill and knowledge to the job, which helps increase productivity.

Where can I find information on LOEPF?

Once logged in as an officer, you will be able to view and download documents on Notices and Summary Plan Description and all LOEPF forms.

Where can I find information on financial administrative procedures?

Once logged in as an officer, you will be able to view and download documents and forms on financial administrative procedures, including Sample Local Union Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment Policy, Guide for Electing Union Officers, IUBAC Travel Expense Reimbursement Form, Bank Reconciliation, Local Union - Accounting Policy and Process for Cash Receipts and Payroll, Local Union Expense Policy, Local Union Accounting Policy and Procedures, Local Union Accounting Policy and Dues Process, and Records Retention. 

Where can I find national glass tank agreement information?

Once logged in as an officer, you will be able to view and download documents and forms pertaining to national glass tank agreement. 

Where can I find national refractory agreement information?

You can find information on national refractory agreement in the officers logged in section. Once logged in, you will be able to view and download documents and forms pertaining to national refractory agreement.

What content does an officer see on this website?

Once logged in as an officer, you will be able to see organizing resources, national refractory agreement, national glass tank agreement, administrative procedures, LOEPF materials, and Chalkline newsletters.  

Where can I find organizing materials?

BAC officers can find many organizing resources on our website simply by logging into your website account. Once logged in, you will be able to see organizing materials, including bargaining for organizers, creating an organizing plan, sample flyers, brochures and letters. 

How can you help me get more work?

Industry Outreach and Education

IMI’s team of industry experts educates architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals on how to effectively design and build with masonry and tile. We help union contractors employing BAC craftworkers get more work by advocating their skills and expertise.

Project Tracking

IMI identifies and tracks potential work opportunities of all sizes and scopes for union contractors. Our technical staff gets buy-in from owners, developers, designers, and other AEC professionals to use union masonry and tile.

Plan and Specification Review and Troubleshooting

If union contractors are bidding a project, IMI can assist with plan and specification review. And if they’re already on a job, they can call on IMI to help find solutions to tough jobsite problems.

Contractor Skills-Development

Whether just starting out or in business for years, IMI’s Contractor College is designed to give contractors and their employees a competitive edge in the marketplace by improving skills in estimating/bidding strategies, project management, and cost control/analysis. Courses also keep participants up-to-date on new technologies, products, and systems, and changes to codes and standards.

Certification and Upgrade Programs

IMI’s certificate and certification programs improve union contractors’ expertise in areas like historic masonry preservation, grout and reinforced masonry, advanced tile installation, foreman/supervisory skills, rainscreen systems, and more. Our sister organization, IMTEF, trains BAC craftworkers to meet the certificate and certification requirements. IMI’s model specification language makes it easy for designers to include these certificates and certifications in project labor requirements, giving signatory contractors an advantage when bidding projects.

Building Codes and Standards

Working in leadership roles to influence building codes and standards for every trowel trade, IMI improves construction efficiencies, creating more job opportunities for union masonry and tile contractors.

Research and Development

IMI’s research and development programs keep you at the forefront of the masonry industry and help you meet new challenges in the evolving construction field. We also work to improve the built environment, focusing on energy efficiency, structural masonry, seismic design, and new product and system research.

Collaborative Learning Opportunities

Nationally-recognized programs like IMI’s Masonry Camp introduce architects and engineers to the benefits of union labor by pairing them with BAC craftworkers for hands-on and collaborative learning.

Do you provide project foreman and supervisor training?

IMTEF trains foremen and supervisors to support union contractors in building a more productive workforce. The foreman certification program is approved by the International Council of Employers of BAC, and includes training on jobsite software and technology.

Do you provide custom training for specialty projects?

IMTEF can provide or can assist local JATCs to provide customized training to help union contractors win and/or train for specialized jobs and meet local market needs.

What about new product training and certifications?

IMTEF continually updates training and certification programs so that BAC craftworkers can quickly learn proper installation techniques as new products, systems and installation techniques enter the market. IMTEF also trains to our sister organization, IMI’s, certificate and certification programs, including historic masonry preservation, grout and reinforced masonry, advanced tile installation, foreman/supervisory skills, and rainscreen systems.

What does your training curriculum look like?

Programs use IMTEF’s comprehensive, standardized curriculum at over 65 training centers nationwide and are taught by experienced instructors, many of whom have been trained and/or certified through IMTEF’s Instructor Certification Program.

Do you provide safety training?

All IMTEF and JATC pre-job, apprenticeship, and craftworker training programs include OSHA compliant safety training. Courses include OSHA 10 and 30, fall protection, scaffolding, health hazards in construction, silica awareness and more. IMTEF OSHA Outreach Trainers and IMTEF OSHA Master Safety Trainers hold safety courses at training centers nationwide and on jobsites.

What kind of apprenticeship programs do you offer?

IMTEF and local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committees (JATCs) provide training in all trowel trades crafts for members of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC). These registered apprenticeship programs incorporate on-the-job and classroom training to produce highly-skilled journeyworkers. IMTEF and JATCs also offer lifelong training to BAC craftworkers, upgrading the core skills they learn in apprenticeship and on the job. Together, these programs help you build and maintain a skilled, safe, and productive workforce. 

When should I seek professional addictions or mental health counseling?

It takes courage to seek help for personal problems. Putting off the help you need not only wastes valuable time, but also allows problems to get worse and worse. Remember, the sooner you seek help, the sooner you will be feeling better and get your life back under control. Taking good care of yourself is also a way of taking care of your family and loved ones, who may become worried and stressed about your health. And, children whose parents take care of themselves are also more likely to better manage their health as adults, because they are not afraid to admit problems and to seek help.

What are the main categories of professionals who provide therapy?

Psychiatrists hold medical degrees and are physicians who also have specialized education, experience and training in mental health. They are experts at prescribing medication for anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. While some psychiatrists also provide psychotherapy or “talk therapy,” many simply prescribe and monitor clients’ medication needs.

Psychologists have a doctorate degree, such as a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. in psychology or another mental health field. Psychologists have specialized training in human behavioral theories and research. They often administer psychological tests to help clarify a client’s diagnosis. Psychologists also provide psychotherapy to individuals and small groups.

Social Workers hold a master’s degree in social work (MSW). Many social workers are also psychotherapists who provide individual and small group therapies. Social workers are adept at helping clients connect with social support systems and community resources to help meet basic needs. Social workers are employed in mental health clinics, welfare agencies, schools, hospitals and a variety of other agency settings.

Counselors may hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in mental health or addictions counseling, nursing, or guidance. Counselors, including Certified Addictions counselors (CAC) often treat specific problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse.

What steps does MAP take to insure that they find me a good therapist?

MAP carefully screens all therapy referrals to insure that you connect with a quality therapist. MAP verifies the following information to locate the best possible therapy match:

  • Educational backgroundMAP typically refers members to professionals who have a master’s, Psy.D., or Ph.D. degree in a mental health field, or hold a certification in addictions counseling.
  • Experience level. MAP confirms the experience level of each professional and looks for therapists with special expertise in the specific area needed. For instance, some therapists have additional training and experience in working with children and teens, or with a certain issue, such as eating disorders or Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness).
  • Licensure/credentials. MAP confirms that the professional has completed all requirements to hold a valid therapy license.
  • Formal complaints/disciplinary actionMAP guards against referring members to professionals who have a history of client complaints or who have undergone disciplinary or malpractice actions.
I have been out-of-work and no longer have health insurance. How can MAP help?

MAP is expert at locating quality, affordable mental health and addictions counseling. MAP connects members with licensed mental health and addictions professionals who offer low cost or no cost counseling services. Many of these counseling agencies receive county, state, and charitable funding to offset the cost of counseling for hard working families who cannot otherwise afford treatment. MAP also helps uninsured children and teens to receive free health and mental health coverage through state-funded programs. Adults are helped to connect to affordable or pro-bono care in their community. MAP can also provide members with a referral letter to assist members in applying for affordable care.

I tested positive on a drug urine screen at work. How can MAP help?

Many local unions request that members who have tested positive for alcohol or drugs contact their union MAP. The MAP professional assists members to resolve the positive drug screen quickly. If professional treatment is recommended, MAP often assists members to locate evening programs so that the member is able to return to work as quickly as possible. With permission, the MAP professional can also provide the member’s employer with positive feedback that the member is doing well and ready to return to work. Again, MAP does not discuss member problems with anyone without permission. If requested, MAP can provide updates about compliance to job supervisors, but does not discuss private information, such as what types of drugs the member tested positive for, history of drug abuse, and so forth – this information is kept private.

I realize I need help, but can’t afford to lose time from work. What can MAP do to help?

MAP’s goal is to locate therapy resources that best fit your needs. Many members request referrals to evening and weekend therapy programs so that seeking help does not interfere with their job.

I don’t want others to know about my personal problems. What does MAP do to protect my privacy?

All calls to MAP are kept strictly confidential. It is important to remember that federal law protects your privacy. This means that the MAP professional will not discuss your call with job supervisors, local union leaders or anyone else, unless you desire it and give your permission. If you request that MAP send you educational pamphlets, brochures or referral information in writing, MAP will mark all documents “confidential.”

When is the best time to call MAP?

MAP generally is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. Members call the main toll-free number for the BAC (1-888-880-8222), and then just ask for MAP. If the live operator is unavailable, members can press “O” to leave a private, confidential message for a return phone call from the MAP professional. Messages received after 8 p.m. EST and on weekends are generally returned the next business day. While the MAP professional answers many calls immediately, it may be necessary to leave a message if the MAP professional is currently assisting another member. Every effort will be made to return your call promptly. Please be sure to leave your phone number including area code.

Who is eligible for MAP services?

Active and retired union members, and their family members throughout the United State and Canada, are eligible to receive MAP services at no cost. Members call toll-free (1-888-880-8222) to speak to MAP’s licensed mental health professional for confidential assistance, information and referral. The MAP professional first listens, and then helps members to decide which options best fit their needs. Referrals are tailored to each member’s individual needs based upon his or her unique situation. The MAP professional is a licensed, Ph.D., mental health professional who has the expertise to fully assist members to find solutions to personal problems.

What type of help does MAP provide?

The BAC Member Assistance Program (MAP) is a free, confidential, telephone, crisis intervention and referral program for members of the BAC and their families. Similar to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), MAP provides help for a variety of issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alcohol and drug addiction
  • Positive workplace drug urine screens
  • Domestic Violence
  • Workplace concerns
  • Financial crisis
  • Prescription assistance for the uninsured
  • Family conflict
  • Homelessness
  • Chronic mental health problems
  • Retirement needs
  • Caregiving help
Does it cost anything to join?

Membership costs vary by Local. Please contact the Local in your area.

If I retire, do all of the plans offer me the option to self-pay as a retiree?

Yes, you can choose to self-pay month to month as a retiree for non-Medicare and Medicare coverage. In fact, if you have HRA monies, those monies can be directed to pay the IHF premium owed if you choose. You will be offered the same plans as before retirement for non-Medicare coverage, but with no additional deposits to an HRA.

Can I pay a premium for my spouse to join Plan 5 – Basic plan?

No, Plan 5, the Basic Plan, is not offered to spouses of members. It is designed to only cover you and your eligible dependent children. This particular plan offers the core coverage required under the Affordable Care Act.

What happens if I go out-of-network for an emergency?

In the case of an emergency, and if you use an out-of-network provider, the IHF plans pay for the out-of-network care as though it were in-network.

What about Preventive Care? Is that offered at $0 Copay?

Each plan includes preventive care coverage for an annual examination and for certain immunizations. For Plans 1, 2, 4 and 5, preventive care is offered at no cost or copay to the member. The Bronze Plan 3 offers limited preventive care as a grandfathered plan and you do pay the office visit copay.

When I visit a doctor, do I pay a copay? How do the deductible and coinsurance work when I pay a copay?

For Plans 1 – Gold, Plan 2 – Silver, Plan 3 - Bronze and Plan 4 – Choice, you can access a doctor by paying a flat dollar copay. You do not wait to clear the plan deductible, and if you pay a copay, there is no additional coinsurance applied for that visit. These plans are designed to keep access to care as affordable as possible and encourage you to see your doctor.

For Plan 5 – Basic, that plan works differently, and you must meet the deductible first. After that, coinsurance which is equal to 40% of the cost of care applies.

For all of the plans, deductibles do apply for more serious medical conditions and treatments, such as an inpatient hospital visit.

If I have an HRA, can I save the amount of HRA money from year to year? Or do I lose the money each year?

Yes, you can save the amount of the HRA monies from year to year and quarter to quarter to cover future IHF plan costs or premiums if you retire or do not meet eligibility requirements.

What is Future Service Credit?

During the Contribution Period, you earn Future Service Credits based on your work in Covered Employment in a job classification covered under an agreement requiring contributions to the IPF on your behalf. One year of credit is earned for each calendar year in which you work 1500 hours or more in covered employment. If you work less than 1500 hours in covered employment, partial credit is earned according to the following schedule:

Covered Employment Hours for which contributions were received during calendar year

Years of Future Service Credit

1500 hours or more 1.0
1350-1499 0.9
1200-1349 0.8
1050-1199 0.7
900-1049 0.6
750-899 0.5
600-749 0.4
450-599 0.3
300-449 0.2
150-299 0.1

After December 31, 1986 , the following future service schedule applies to hours worked:

Hours

Credits

2250 hours or more  1.5
2100-2249 1.4
1950-2099 1.3
1800-1949 1.2
1650-1799 1.1
1500-1649 1.0
1350-1499 0.9
1200-1349 0.8
1050-1199 0.7
900-1049 0.6
750-899 0.5
600-749 0.4
450-599 0.3
300-449 0.2
150-299 0.1

Note: Effective January 1,1997 the 1.5 maximum on future service credit is removed. An additional .1 of a credit accrues for each 150 hours over 2,250 without limit.

How do I earn Pension Credit?

Pension Credit is accumulated in two ways:

  1. Future Service Credit is accumulated through Covered Employment with a signatory contributing employer during the Contribution Period, and

  2. Past Service Credit is granted for eligible Covered Employment with a signatory employer before the Contribution Period.

The Contribution Period is the time during which employers contribute to the IPF on your behalf.

Who can participate in IPF?

Participation is available to employees working in covered employment, which is employment in a job classification covered by a local collective bargaining agreement, which requires contribution to the IPF. Corporate officers who are employees of the corporation may also participate subject to the approval of the Trustees. Participation is also available to officers or employees of local unions or local union funds which participate in the IPF. Participation is not available to anyone engaged as a self-employed person, partner or sole proprietor.

I used to be a member but haven’t been active in the union for several years. How do I rejoin?

Please contact your former BAC Local Union or Administrative District Council (ADC) to rejoin the union. If you have moved to a new area or need the Local/ADC’s phone number, please contact the International Union toll-free at 1-888-880-8222. 

I live outside of the U.S./Canada. Will the union sponsor me to come to the U.S. or Canada to work?

Thanks for your interest in BAC, however we cannot provide immigration assistance since we are not an employer.

What’s the cost for training? Where do I go for training?

Training is available at no cost to BAC members through the International Masonry Institute (IMI). The training programs are jointly funded by labor and management through collectively bargained contributions. The John J. Flynn BAC/IMI International Training Center is located in Bowie, MD, however, there are training centers located throughout the U.S. For more information, please visit http://imiweb.org/.

Do you have any apprenticeships in my area?

Please find your Local contact here.

How do I join your union?

Thanks for your interest in BAC. Please complete the Join BAC form and we’ll provide you with further information, as well as contact information to the BAC Local Union nearest you. The Local Union will assist with the membership process.

Does BAC offer any scholarships to children or grandchildren of members?

The International Union has two scholarship programs: the U.S. Bates Scholarship and the Canadian Bates Scholarship. These scholarships are open to children of BAC members (in good standing) of U.S. and Canadian BAC Locals, respectively. Grandchildren are not eligible for these scholarships. The requirements differ for each program.

Please visit the U.S. Bates Scholarship Program for further information.

Please visit the Canadian Bates Scholarship Program for further information.

Why haven’t I been receiving the BAC Journal?

If you recently changed your address we may not have your updated contact information. Please be sure to double check your address and update it if necessary via the BAC Member Portal or by speaking with the Membership Records Department at 1-888-880-8222. The BAC Journal is published on a quarterly basis.

I have a change of address. How do I update my contact information?

If you have a BAC Member Portal account, you may update your contact information online via the Portal. Otherwise, please contact the IU toll-free at 1-888-880-8222 and ask to speak to the Membership Records Department. You may also email your updated information to askbac@bacweb.org.

Is there any work available in my area?

You can check for available work using the BAC Job Network, which is available via the Member Portal. The BAC Job Network is a bulletin board-style system that allows Locals and ADCs to post job opportunities when there is a lack of craftworkers in their respective areas. Each job posting includes information about the project location, what type of craftworker (e.g. bricklayer, tile setter, etc.) or specialty (e.g. refractory) is needed, how many craftworkers are needed, the total wage and benefit package, whether or not travel pay or a per diem will be provided, and the contact information for the area BAC representative.

Please visit https://member.bacweb.org/ to sign up for the BAC Member Portal.

Why and how do I pay my union dues?

Every active BAC member is required to pay dues as outlined in the Union's Constitution. These funds are used by your Local and the International Union to negotiate with employers for better wages, working conditions, and benefits for BAC members. Dues are also used to represent members on the job, to defend those who have been treated unfairly, to develop member programs and services, and to strengthen the unionized masonry-trowel trades industry. 

Please contact your BAC Local Union or BAC Administrative District Council (ADC) to pay your dues. If you do not know the phone number for your Local or ADC, please call the IU toll-free at 1-888-880-8222. You may also visit the Locals contact page for a list of Local/ADC websites.