carpenter union benefitsJoining a union is perhaps the best decision to make if you want to get into this field. While it is true that in the beginning years, you make an entry-level salary, but what most people attracted to joining is the benefits as part of the compensation package.

The benefits include some of these, if not all of them: vision, accident insurance, vacation fund, sickness coverage, Pension Fund, Health and Medical Benefits, dental benefits, Annuity Fund, prescription drugs, Savings Fund, Health Reimbursement (HRA) Fund.

But definitely, the life insurance, health insurance, death benefit and carpenters union pension will be in the list of what you can receive. To more about the details of each, read below.

Life Insurance

As mentioned earlier, union benefits vary depending on the factor stated. To cite some examples, all active and eligible participants of the Carpenters Southwest Administrative Corporation receives through MetLife Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D), and Dependent Life Insurance.

All of these are under the Southwest Carpenters Health and Welfare Trust. The Trust’s Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefit are only available to the member. In any case, coverage of the Trust’s Life AD&D insurance is the same for any Medical or Dental Plans the member is enrolled in.

The basic benefits offered by MetLife’s Insurance include $20,000 for AD&D Insurance, and $3,000 Life Insurance for the death of a legal spouse or dependent child. To know more about the details, contact the Administrative Office at (213) 386-8590 or Toll Free at (800) 293-1370.

Looking at the life insurance benefit being offered by Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters Welfare and Pension Funds, a union member’s eligibility for life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) begins on the date the eligibility requirements are satisfied.

Members are automatically eligible and do not have to wait until the beginning of the next issuance quarter to become eligible for these benefits. Life insurance benefits under the Low-Cost Medical Plan are self-insured.

Life insurance and AD&D benefits under the Active Plan of Benefits are guaranteed support financially by Aetna Life Insurance Company. Members’ eligibility for benefits includes a life insurance benefit in the sum of $50,000, payable to the beneficiary selected by the member. The benefit sum will be given to the beneficiary of the member in the event of the death of the member from any cause at any time. The only requirement of the Fund is that a certified original death certificate is furnished.

There is no need for the member or beneficiary to complete a form to apply for life insurance benefits.
Once the original death certificate is received, the Fund will file the claim with Aetna for benefit payment consideration. This process can take up to 6 weeks.

Health Insurance and Plan

The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters’ Benefit Fund has a health plan that is an employer-paid health plan that provides coverage to qualified employees and their dependents. Its coverage may include major medical, vision, dental, and prescription.

The bulk of Fund assets come from hours worked under a labor contract or approved participation agreement which require Employer payments to this Fund. On top of Employer contributions, interest earnings and employee self-payments are also included in this Fund.

Fund assets are only used to issue a health care plan to qualified employees, their dependents, and their beneficiaries, and also to pay for administrative expenses. The health plan covers definite expenses for medical, dental care, vision, and provides a weekly benefit if an employee is found to be temporarily disabled because of sickness or injury.

The Health and Welfare Plan of St. Louis - Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council has two schedules of medical benefits within the Plan. The Platinum Schedule of Benefits or Platinum Plan is the highest level of medical benefits. It generally provides 90% of medical coinsurance.

Coinsurance is the percentage of the allowable amount you must pay after any deductible and before the Plan starts paying benefits. The Gold Schedule of Benefits or Gold Plan I a high level of medical benefits. It covers 80%of medical insurance.

If an active member’s employer is obligated under the contract to contribute at the Gold Plan rate, the member and their dependents are covered under the Gold Plan.

The Plan has contracts with medical network sponsors that allow covered persons to have access to network hospitals, physician, and other health care providers. Generally, the Plan’s benefits will be higher for an in-network provider than for an out-of-network provider.

Death Benefits

The Carpenters’ Benefit Funds of Philadelphia’s Death Benefits are classified into two: Pre-Retirement Death Benefits for an Active* Participant and Post-Retirement Death Benefits.

The eligibility requirements to receive the Pre-Retirement Beneficiary Benefit are: the member must be an Active Participant at death, there is no age requirement, Terminated Covered Employment by death before retirement, and no surviving spouse or married less than one year. The only Vesting Requirement is that the employee must be vested in Accrued Monthly Pension.

The Death Benefits of Death of an Active Participant Benefit payable to spouse or beneficiary indicate that the Beneficiary will receive a single sum payment equal to 60 times the Participant’s Accrued Monthly Pension on the date of the Participant’s death.

The eligibility requirement to be granted the Pre-Retirement Spouse Benefit are: the member should be an active participant at death, there is no age requirement, must be a Terminated Covered Employee by death before retirement, and must leave a surviving spouse to whom the Participant was married to for at least one year.

The Participant must also be vested in Accrued Monthly Pension. The Death Benefits payable to the spouse or beneficiary is that the spouse will receive the amount of one-half of the Participant’s Accrued Monthly Pension payments for a monthly pension for a lifetime.

This will be adjusted according to the age difference between the participant and spouse. If the spouse does not survive to receive at least 120 monthly payments, the remaining balance of the 120 payments will be paid to the next beneficiary in a single sum.

The Carpenter’s Union Post-Retirement Death Benefits will depend on the form of payment the Participant opted for at retirement. This is payable if the Participant passes away in or after the first month for which their pension is payable. This will be discussed in detail in the next topic.

Carpenters Union Pension

The Carpenters Union Pension is classified into two: Straight Life Pension and Joint and Survivor Pension.

The Straight Life Pension covers those retirees who were receiving a Normal, Early or Disability Retirement Pension in a Straight Life Form. Their surviving spouse or beneficiary will receive death benefits in a single sum equal to the sum of A and B below:

A. Pension Death benefit of:

  1. $6,000, if the retiree had completed 20 or more years of Credited Service,
  2. $3,000, if the retiree had completed at least 10 but less than 20 years of Credited Service, or
  3. $0, if the retiree had completed less than 10 years of Credited Service


B. 60 guaranteed monthly payments, minus monthly payments already received, but always an amount equal to at least 12 times the retiree’s Accrued Monthly Pension.

The Joint and Survivor Pension is for those retirees who were accepting a Normal, Early, or Disability Retirement Pension in a Joint and Survivor Form. Their surviving spouse will receive death benefits payable in two parts:

Single sum equal to the sum of A and B below:

A. Pension Death Benefit of:

  1. $6,000, id the retiree had completed 20 or more years of Credited Service,
  2. $3,000, if the retiree had completed 10, but less than 20 years of Credited Service, or
  3. $0 if the retiree had completed less than 10 years of Credited Service

B. 60 monthly guaranteed payments, minus monthly payments already received, but always an amount equal to at least 12 times the retiree’s Accrued Monthly Pension.

To Add More to the List of Benefits

  • As a member, you will receive competitive pay. The union stands by your side to fight for your rights since they know how the industry runs. We cannot say the exact figure you can make because many factors are involved and be reminded that during the beginning years as a member you receive an entry-level salary, and as you go along, the pay increases until you finish the program and become an experienced journeyman.

  • Joining a union gives you the best chance to learn practical skills and become well-rounded. This is perhaps what you should aim for when starting this job as a carpenter. The training also covers different areas such as scaffolding safety, use of construction machinery, lifting and rigging operation, blueprint/plan reading, and many more. When you acquired those skills, you will be valued as an important asset because you have what it takes to get the job done.

  • When you not presently employed, your name will be put in the “available to work list”. This is one of the great benefits you can receive as a union member. Since the union has a network of contractors and employers looking for qualified talents like you, the union can submit your name for the employer to choose and offer you employment.

To Conclude This

The benefits given by the carpenters union can be considered very competitive in the construction industry. These benefits allow carpenter union members and their families to live a comfortable life. Union members also enjoy good working conditions and a living wage alongside other great benefits.