St. Louis Volunteers
Wire Habitat House
IBEW Local 1 members and contractors in front
of the Habitat for Humanity
house the St. Louis Quality Connection helped to wire.
Nearly 20 members of IBEW Local 1 in St. Louis joined
more than 300 other volunteers to help complete a five-bedroom Habitat
for Humanity house.
But this was not a typical site-built affair. Much of this two-level
ranch-style house was constructed in a nearby mall. In early March,
IBEW members went to the St. Louis Mills mall to perform some of
the initial wiring. Two weeks later, after the house was transported
to its site 12 miles away in Hillsdale, the workers from J. Bathe
Electric, MR Bathe, Beach Electric and Dickherber Electric returned
to finish the work.
"It was pretty cool actually having a house built in the mall,
with people able to watch us work," said Matt Lampe, Local
1 business representative, speaking for the IBEW/National Electrical
Contractors Association St. Louis Electrical Connection. "Habitat
for Humanity got quite a few people to sign up from the publicity."
The high-profile volunteer work helped reinforce the union’s
presence in residential construction, one segment of the industry
in which nonunion work is generally the rule. But in Local 1’s
territory, Lampe said the union does between 60 and 70 percent of
the residential work. "We’ve been going after it real
hard," Lampe said.
The Mills Mall donated $60,000 to the house-building project. The
1,150-square-foot house will be the home of a single mother with
seven children, Lampe said.