October/November 2001 IBEW Journal
With the nation and the convention still dismayed at the
terrorist attacks the previous day, President Hill opened
Wednesdays morning session by announcing that air travel
disruptions had prevented three scheduled speakers from reaching
the convention. He also thanked delegates for "bearing
with us while we shift gears and try to reconfigure the convention
Rabbi Sydney Mintz from San Franciscos Congregation Emanu-El
asked for a moment of silence "as we pray for the families
of those who were lost, for the strength of our government
to respond and hold us together and for the security of our
country." She said the prophet Zachariah taught not might
and not power, "but the capacity of the spirit is our
greatest human asset to effect positive change in the world."
President Hill told the delegates the protest march to the
non-union Marriott Hotel had been postponed by the HERE local
because of the crisis situation. "Also, youll notice
that the news this morning is being brought to you on Channel
2. They are our brothers and sisters bringing it to you,"
President Hill said, referring to the feed from an IBEW-represented
local television station that was being shown on the large
screens. The video crew had been instructed to show an IBEW-represented
"I will not recognize anyone to discuss the Canadian
issue this morning," President Hill told the delegates
regarding the deadlocked caucus of the previous two days.
"We are going to adjourn at eleven oclock with instructions
to the Canadian delegation to please meet and come back at
two oclock with a vice president." He noted that the
convention wanted to give the First District every opportunity
to choose its own vice president to avoid the division that
could be caused if the election were decided by the entire
convention. But, President Hill cautioned, "the Constitution
is clear and we will settle it here if we have to."
Christopher Erikson of Local 3, New York City, read a resolution
into the record extolling the career of James L. OHara, a
member and officer of Local 3 from June 1935 until his death
the week before the conventiona span of over 65 years. He
had not missed a convention since 1941. Brian Leahy of Local
1521, Omaha, Nebraska, urged collecting donations for IBEW
victims of the terrorist attacks.
Bob Taylor of Local 2228, Ottawa, Ontario, reminded the convention
of the support of U.S. members during a severe Canadian ice
storm and said, "We thank our American brothers for that
and we will do everything within our power to help you folks
through this time of trouble."
The convention heard from the Committee on the Presidents
Report, chaired by John Dougherty, Local 98, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, with Rita Sweeney, Local 2313, Braintree, Massachusetts,
as secretary. Dougherty said that no other convention document
will provide a more in-depth understanding of the vast responsibilities
of the IBEW.
He said the report includes the actions taken by the Select
Committee on the Future of the Brotherhood that was authorized
by the 1996 convention. In early 1998, a membership referendum
approved the future committees recommendations, which included
combining the IBEW offices of International Secretary and
International Treasurer, increasing benefits under the Pension
Benefit Fund, district realignment and other changes. The
Presidents Report also covers the topics of utility restructuring,
the training necessary to keep up with new technology like
voice/data/video, revising the IBEW web site and other important
The convention adopted the report and President Hill thanked
the committee for its efforts.
Delegate Joe Beattie of Local 105, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada,
reported that his local had opened its training center so
members could donate blood throughout the week to aid those
injured in the terrorist attacks.
The convention heard from IEC Chairman Milt Foster, who was
elected on Monday in a secret ballot election with 483,399
votes to 268,650 for Robert Mason. "I have been fortunate
enough to earn honors in my life, but there has never been
one to top this one. And I thank you for that," Foster
said. [ Foster Speech ]
"The locals in the Seventh IEC District, whom I represented
the last four-and-a-half years, know that I listen carefully
to their views and work hard to represent them fairly and
fully. I pledge to do exactly the same for the entire Brotherhood,"
A memorial book dedicated to the victims of terrorism at
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was passed among the
delegates, who were told by President Hill to write in anything
they chose in memory of these victims, and the book will go
in the IBEW Archives. Later Wednesday, the Memorial Book idea
was attributed to Eamonn OHalloran, a member of Local 551,
Santa Rosa, California, who was working with Local 6 members
Tuesday on a job in San Francisco. Local 551 President Steven
Benjamin told the convention that when the national emergency
shut down the job temporarily, Brother OHolloran began walking
to the Moscone Center to see the conventionand stopped to
buy the Memorial Book at a store along the way.
Rod Borden Jr., President of the National Electrical Contractors
Association, addressed the convention after being introduced
by President Hill as "the embodiment of a long-standing
partnership that exists between the IBEW and NECA." Borden
told the convention that the partnership between IBEW and
NECA "remains a strong basis for the nations electrical
construction industry" and has been imitated by other
crafts and contractors. But he also warned that IBEW-NECA
systems are not perfect and that good economic times are never
permanent. [ Borden Speech
The Committee on the Report of the International Secretary-Treasurer
told the convention that "the IBEW is financially strong,
is controlling its expenses, has strong reserves and maintains
strong financial management under Secretary-Treasurer OConnor."
Committee Chairman Edward Lutz of Local 117, Elgin, Illinois,
made the report. The secretary of the committee was Don Clark
of Local 1211, Gulfport, Mississippi.
Lutz said that to assure continued operation on a sound financial
basis, "it is the recommendation of this committee that
we support the proposed per capita increase of $1 on January
President Hill then introduced International Secretary Emeritus
Jack F. Moore, saying, "If we wanted to list everything
that he has done for the IBEW, we could be here the rest of
the day." President Hill said that when he became International
Secretary in 1997, he couldnt help but think of it as "just
sitting in Jacks chair," because Moore had served that
office so long with such distinction.
Moore told the convention, "Im a lifelong Democrat
with a passion for politics, but we all stand behind the President
todaythis is no time to be divisive." [ Moore
President Hill then recessed the morning session early "with
our best wishes to our Canadian brothers and sisters"
to reach an election decision.
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