| January/February 2005 IBEW Journal
Remember, the annual Valentines Day dance will be held in early February. It is traditionally a very popular event, well attended and fun for everyone. Get your tickets soon.
Please be advised of the following members deaths: William Williams, Larry Frey, Allen Rhodes, Patrick McMillan, Thomas Owsley, Lawrence Peine, Kenneth Creek, Edwin Horan, Clarence Hessley, Dan Flood, Thomas Coe, Louis Marcinkiewicz, Dean Nordmann, Conway Heitz, R. Leslie Schneider, William Reichenbacher Sr. and Jack Sanderson.
Matthew F. Gober, P.S.
L.U. 2 (catv,lctt,o,t&u), ST. LOUIS, MOOn Nov. 24 an ice/snow storm hit eastern Missouri and spread into Illinois. Many thanks to the IBEW members who worked diligently to get the lights back on. These brothers and sisters missed the Thanksgiving holiday with their friends and families. We all know that our phone could ring any time day or night, including holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. There is a difference between knowing the phone might ring and answering it. Our jobs can be hard and thankless, but I believe IBEW members do their work with the grace and humility of true heroes. I would also like to thank the friends and families of these members for the understanding and love they give us when duty calls.
In closing, I would like for every member to look around and notice the diversity of our union. The past election highlighted this fact for me. We are made up of different backgrounds and ideas. Our goal for the new year should be to embrace these differences, so they can make us stronger.
Be safe and have a happy new year.
Jay Garrett, P.S.
L.U. 8 (i&mt), TOLEDO, OHA funny thing happened on the way to the elections: the Republicans let fringe issues dominate the landscape. They were trying to disguise their effort of getting George Bush re-elected by picking on a very small percentage of tax paying Americans. These so-called moralists had virtually no regard for the larger percentage of Americans who are either out of work, or have accepted lower paying jobs in a feeble attempt to get by. The United States of America used to be known as a societal melting pot. But the pot seems to have sprung a leak. IBEW Int. Pres. Edwin D. Hill said it best: "We will survive, and we will never give up the good fight." Amen, Brother.
Locally, a few projects of some size will hopefully help to shrink our unemployment numbers. Sometime this spring, well be looking forward to a brand new coking facility. Also, the jeep plant will put on a sizeable addition and the Toledo hospital wants to modernize as well.
Hope everyone had a safe holiday season, and can hang in there until spring.
Jim Szczerbiak, P.S.
L.U. 17 (catv,em,lctt,o&u), DETROIT, MIDespite results of the presidential election, 55 million Americans (including nearly 2.5 million in Michigan) voted for good jobs, health care, retirement security, workers freedom to form unions, and more. We made our voices heard, and we cannot be ignored. In Michigan, Democrats added five seats in the state House, narrowing the Republican margin to 58-52. This gives working people more influence.
On Nov. 23, 2004, the MPSC granted rate relief to Detroit Edison Company. However, residential ratepayers wont see the increase because of the rate cap in effect until Jan.1, 2006, at which time typical residential rates will increase by $5.64 per month. Although a start, this action still doesnt level the playing field for home-based utilities.
Work here has been steady. In 2005 it will be a challenge meeting customer demands for manpower. The transmission company will ramp up its budgets for capital projects, creating new jobs. The distribution company has much work planned. This should provide work for journeyman linemen (contact Tim Head) and journeyman tree trimmers (contact Valley Fields or Terry Jones).
We mourn the death of Bros. Horace Tucker, Larry Vartanian, Russell Stock, Robert Dunlap Jr., Thomas Ryan and Carl Schiffelbine.
Bob Eckhout, Pres./P.S.
L.U. 21 (catv,govt&t), DOWNERS GROVE, ILWhile disappointed that the Kerry/Edwards ticket was not elected, Pres.-Bus. Mgr. Ron Kastner proudly reports that Local 21 members, staff and volunteers worked hard for all labor-endorsed candidates. In Illinois, we retained pro-worker control of the Illinois House and Senate. We helped elect a huge political star in the making, Barack Obama (D), to the U.S. Senate. We also helped elect Democrat Melissa Bean to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The telecommunications industry continues to grow, and we intend to make sure it grows union. A large majority of a recently organized group of SBC engineering assistants voted to remain union after a small group of workers failed in an ill-advised decertification effort. Local 21 welcomes these 113 new members and congratulates the entire unit for ratifying their first collective-bargaining agreement at SBC.
Fed up after six years of negotiations with Comcast, workers successfully staged recent public protest rallies. Led by Chicago Interfaith, Jobs with Justice and the Chicago Workers Rights Board, angry workers made an unscheduled visit to the executive office of Comcast Vice Pres. Joe Stackhouse. Subsequently, Local 21 held a Halloween Solidarity Bash outside the VPs suburban estate. Until there is justice at Comcast, there will be no peace!
Thomas Hopper, B.R./P.S.