Throughout the entire history of the National Electrical Benefit Fund, both electrical workers and contractors have dared to dream of a pension plan that would help bring security, dignity, and peace-of-mind to all plan participants.
The first plan to provide pensions for retired workers in the electrical construction industry was created by delegates to the 1927 Convention of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The following year, members who had 20 years of service and had reached the age of 65 were assured a pension of $40 per month. Each IBEW member contributed 37 cents per month to finance the plan.
The Great Depression, and then World War II, prevented any improvements from being made to the initial pension plan. Financing of benefits was changed so that the funds came from an apportionment of the monthly dues paid by IBEW "A" members. The plan was completely administered by the union.
In 1945, the IBEW was advised by consulting actuaries that the union’s pension program would be strained unless "considerably more money" was contributed.
The Brotherhood turned to the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to find an arrangement that would result in a viable retirement plan. In 1946, NECA and the IBEW reached an agreement under which electrical contractors would place one percent of gross wages for eligible employees into a new fund – the National Electrical Contractors Association Pension Benefit Trust Fund, whose name was later changed to the National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF).
There have been significant improvements to the NEBF since it was established which have benefited NEBF participants, retirees and surviving spouses, as well as its contributing employers. The Trustees, in conjunction with the National Employees Benefit Board, the Officers of the IBEW and NECA, and the entire NEBF staff continue to exercise the highest levels of care and due diligence, as well as professional management, to all those that we serve.
Today, NEBF is the third largest Taft-Hartley Pension Plan in the United States. It serves over 536,068 participating individuals, with 130,081 of those individuals receiving either a retirement or surviving spouse benefit. The Plan has over 8,000 contributing employers, resulting in over 441,155,124 hours worked in covered employment.