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Enjoying refreshments at Local 466 celebration, from left: International Representative Brian Malloy, Luke Bergovich, Organizer Bert McDermitt Jr., Joe Brinley, temporary organizer Bill Fenn, contractor Alan Myres (back to camera).

IBEW Local 466 Opens Satellite Office

January/February 2005 IBEW Journal

Consolidations of local unions can be a demanding process. This is especially true when large geographical areas and divergent state laws are involved.

Celebrating the opening of
Local 466s satellite office, from
left: Wayne Rebich, Affiliated
Construction Trades; Dave Efaw,
business manager, Local 466;
and Tom Keatley, business
representative-Princeton office.

Charleston, West Virginia, IBEW Local 466 is dealing with the demands of consolidation head on. On November 6, they hosted almost 100 people at an open house for a new office in the southern tip of the state at Princeton.

The local gained four southern West Virginia counties as well as eight counties in Virginia as a result of the dissolution of Local 637 in Roanoke. Local 26 in Washington, D.C., and Local 596 in Clarksburg, West Virginia, also picked up new jurisdictions.

"We now go down to the North Carolina border," says Business Manager Dave Efaw. Local 466 ended up with 94 new members including apprentices and a maintenance unit at The Greenbrier, a famous West Virginia resort.

Virginia does not have a prevailing wage law and is a right-to-work state. Both factors make it hard for workers and local contractors to find a level playing field. Says Efaw, "Without prevailing wage, local contractors are under constant challenge from out-of-state firms. Right-to-work laws just make it harder to exist."

Efaw and Local 466 are determined to increase union market share. The local hired Tom Keatley, a former member of the Roanoke local who lives in Princeton, as a business agent/organizer. Keatley and organizer Bert McDermitt Jr. have been going around to local job sites talking with workers and contractors.

McDermitt is a veteran of a battle, in 2000, with K.W. Electric, a southern West Virginia contractor. When K.W. fired two workers who openly supported the union, the IBEW filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board and won back pay for both workers after an appeal before the full Board in Washington, D.C.

"We have not seen K.W. Electric in our area since that case. But we now cover a larger area. Im sure we will run into them again," says McDermitt.