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How do I get a raise?

In the Open Shop, each worker negotiates individually with the contractor. In these negotiations the contractor can take positive factors into account, like the worker’s skills, knowledge and value to the company. The contractor can also take negative factors into account, like the worker’s tolerance for bad conditions or his or her personal relationship to the boss. Each worker’s pay rate is a secret, and workers are discouraged from talking about wages on the job. This helps keep costs down.

In the IBEW, raises are negotiated as a group. We use the power of our more than 1,700 members to get a better deal for everybody. This is called COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. Pay rates are set by the contract and are not dependent on the good graces of the employer.


The Journeyman wage rate is set by the contract. A committee of Local 520 members meets with a committee of contractors to determine what these rates will be during the length of the contract. Historically, raises occur either once or twice per year and have ranged between 0% and 5%.

Upcoming increases are found in Article 4 of the contract, which is on our website here:


In addition to contract raises, as an Apprentice you will get a yearly raise as you complete your training and gain the skills and experience needed to be a Journeyman. These wage rates are listed as a percentage of the Journeyman rate.

The breakdown of these rates can be found on our website here:


As a CW or a CE, your initial pay rate is set by what you made in the Open Shop. We don’t believe that anyone should take a pay cut to join the union. In addition to the raises everyone gets by contract, you get raises as you gain SKILL BASED CREDITS (SBCs). You get SBCs by turning in hours or taking classes. These pay rates are based on a percentage of the Journeyman wage.

The breakdown can be found here: