February 2010

index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to www.ibew.org
Casino Project Promises Full Employment for
New Brunswick Local

The job market has traditionally been tough in Atlantic Canada, but for Moncton, New Brunswick, Local 1555, the last few months have brought near full employment.

Construction is underway on a new $90 million (Canadian) casino and hotel, which includes a 60,000-square-foot gaming and entertainment complex: the first of its kind in New Brunswick. It is expected to create more than 700 construction jobs, including more than 100 electrician positions.

Crews broke ground in early summer and are expected to be done by May 2010.

"We expect our books to be cleared shortly," said Local 1555 Business Manager Peter Gesner.

For a small local, it's big news.

The casino's general contractor has traditionally not been friendly to unions, but Gesner attributes the local's success in getting the work to the IBEW's training program and its commitment to on-the-job excellence. "We were able to provide skilled workers who were ready to start working immediately."

To celebrate everyone's hard work, workers on the job site sponsored a "brotherhood barbecue" earlier this month, bringing employees and contractors together.

Al's Electric, G.J. Cahill Electric and S.C.R. Electric also pitched in to help make the event happen. More than 200 tradesmen attended.

"It was a very positive success for our membership," said Local 1555 member Bernie Blakney, who organized the event. "It not only made our local newspaper but it also convinced one of Atlantic Canada's most experienced construction firms to start accepting union electrical tradesmen."

"It got the IBEW's name out in the work force and in the broader community," Gesner said.

Workers on a new hotel and casino project in Moncton, New Brunswick, celebrated their hard work with a "brotherhood barbeque."

Local 5 Member Makes River Rescue

On a crisp fall day along the bank of Pittsburgh's Allegheny River, Chris Bradley, 35, took a lifesaving leap.

"It's a day I'll never forget," said Bradley, a journeyman wireman from Local 5.

It was just about lunchtime on November 17. Bradley was doing wiring work in a newly-built park dedicated to famed children's TV icon "Mr. Rogers." He was working right next to the river when he heard a woman scream. He looked at the water just in time to see a man and a bike sinking beneath the surface. A cyclist riding the riverfront trail had hit a bump in the path and careened into the water.

"He was on the bottom and I could see bubbles coming out of his mouth," Bradley said. "I could also see a bike helmet, so I went for it."

With temperatures in the 40s, Bradley whipped off his coat and boots and dove into the chilly river. He swam to the bottom, grabbed the man, and pulled him to the surface. The dazed bicyclist was conscious, but silent.

With the man balanced on his shoulder, Bradley treaded water for several minutes until his co-workers threw a rope. They pulled the victim to safety, and then lifted his rescuer out of the water.

Bradley would later find out that the man he saved didn't know how to swim.

"He said ‘I owe you my life,'" Bradley said. The pair shared a meal together several weeks after the incident.

"Chris did a brave thing for this man. We're proud of him," said Local 5 Business Manager Mike Dunleavy.

The rescue happened just a few feet from the Pittsburgh park dedicated to the late Fred Rogers, the TV host and minister who grew up in a small town nearby. Rogers became one of the city's favorite sons with the success of his PBS show offering educational and inspirational messages to pre-schoolers.

"We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility," Rogers once said. "It's easy to say ‘it's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.' Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes."

While Chris Bradley doesn't call himself a hero, he is glad he was there to help.

"I didn't think about it, I just did it," Bradley said. "It's was just really nice to be there for someone in need."

Pittsburgh Local 5's Chris Bradley saved a man's life near this statue of TV icon "Mr. Rogers."

Oregon Local Helps Add Wind Power to
High School's Curriculum

Crane Union High School—located in a remote and windy corner of southwestern Oregon—has provided a top-notch education to generations of rural students.

The public boarding school serves a 7,500-square-mile radius, which is one of the largest in the state, but low population density means that student enrollment usually doesn't crack 100. It is a region of the Pacific Northwest that isn't known for being on the cutting edge of technology.

But soon future Crane Union students will get the opportunity to add wind power training to their course load, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Portland Local 48 that will combine classroom instruction with hands-on training.

"We used to have wood and metal shop in high school," said Local 48 Business Agent Dave Johnston. "These students will now have wind training, which is preparing them for the jobs of the future."

The donation is the result of a partnership between Local 48 and Columbia Energy Partners, a developer of wind energy technology, which has plans for several large projects in the region. Local 48 partnered with Columbia Energy Partners last year to install a 78 kilowatt solar array at the local's office.

The Crane school donation was in recognition of Columbia Energy Partners' assistance in financing the photovoltaic system. The company's president, Chris Crowley, says he hopes the wind training program will help create a local green work force.

"This is a great chance to build a better understanding of what renewable energy can do for the local community and the environment," Crowley said. "We'd love to have local people helping to build and maintain our projects."

Columbia Energy Partners plans to continue its alliance with the IBEW for its future wind developments.

Portland Local 48 presents a $10,000 check to Crane Union High School to develop a wind power curriculum. Pictured from left are Marl Kane, Columbia Energy Partners; Business Representative Dave Johnston, Local 48;
Pat Sharp, Crane Schools superintendant and Crane Elementary School Board Members Todd Titus, Linda Miller, Jim Kelly, David Mims and
Erin Maupin.