How to Leave the IBEW Union as a Contractor

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Electrical contractor go through years of training to reach the pinnacle of their field. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offers a commmon path to obtain this training. Joining the IBEW's apprenticeship program will take you from novice to apprentice to journeyman electrician in about five years. You will take classes and obtain work experience to learn about electricity and electrical installations. Once you have reached this point you will be ready to leave the union as a worker and become an independent contractor.

Join the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Apply to enter the five-year apprenticeship program. Sign up for classes at your local community college as required by the apprenticeship program.

Attend your classes at the community college. Pay your union dues each month. Work your way through the apprenticeship program to become a journeyman electrician in your chosen field.

Work as a journeyman electrician for at least five years to gain experience and build a network of contacts. Keep a detailed work log throughout your electrical career to document your experiences.

Take the test that your state requires to become a licensed electrical contractor. Provide the state contractor's commission with a copy of your journeyman's card and work log as proof of your qualifications and experience. Obtain a contractor's license from your state.

Visit your local county clerk's office. Provide the clerk with your contractor's license as well as your work log and journeyman's card. Fill out the paperwork and pay the fee to obtain a business license.

Draft a company handbook. Outline the work ethics and safety standards you expect employees to follow. Review your union handbook for tips when drafting your handbook to ensure compliance with union policy.

Notify the local IBEW office of your new status as a contractor. Fill out the necessary paperwork and sign a labor contract with the union to ensure a steady flow of qualified workers for your company. Continue paying your union dues so that you will be eligible to work on your own job sites.


Electrical work is inherently dangerous. Never do a job for which you are not trained. Always rely on your training to guide you through a job.

Always have an attorney draft or review every contract you intend to sign in the course of doing business.