ibew convention 2011 masthead

     CONVENTION NEWS


hr



Tenn. Leader Supports Building Stronger Workplace Relationships

September 23, 2011

IBEW delegate Winfred Gearrin came to Vancouver after helping negotiate a new contract at the Thomas & Betts electrical components plant in Athens, Tenn.  Gearrin, a 34-year member of Chattanooga, Tenn., Local 175 who is an assistant business manager says:

We negotiated a 2.5 percent raise. That’s something to be proud of in a manufacturing plant in today’s economy.

Building stronger relationships with employers, one of the constant themes of speakers and resolutions at the 38th IBEW Convention is part of the fabric of Local 175, says Gearrin. The local, which represents manufacturing and inside electrical construction members, has been successful keeping and growing work.

The local’s relationship with Thomas & Betts was rewarded when the Athens facility was named a top plant by Industry Week magazine. The company has entered a partnership with the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee pooling equipment and helping developing programs to train electricians.

Currently, out of 200 potential union members at Thomas & Betts in right-to-work Tennessee, 148 are members of the local.

Gearrin says that some workers were recently transferred to Athens from a shutdown Thomas & Betts plant in Iowa where they were represented by the Plastic Workers Union. Local 175 is reaching out to bring them into the bargaining unit.

Inside journeyman wiremen from Local 175 completed 95 percent of the electrical work in a newly-constructed Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. And last year, the inside branch wrote 2,000 referrals for projects including work on Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station. Gearrin says that productive relationships with employers begin with an engaged membership.

I’m going home from the convention with the message for our members that being union members is not just about drawing off a union wage, it’s about our solidarity, our loyalty to both the union and the customer, and it’s about the future for our children.

 


 

Follow IBEW on Facebook...
Follow IBEW on Twitter...
Convention 2011 on YouTube...
Convention photos on Flickr...
Media Coverage of the 2011 IBEW Convention...
Return to Convention Live home page...
Visit the IBEW home page...