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IBEW, Building Trades Call On St. Louis Carpenters-Affiliated Local 57 to Stop Undercutting Standards

June 16, 2010

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The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is launching a sweeping campaign to convince St. Louis Carpenters Local 57 to stop performing electrical work that undercuts union standards of quality, safety and wages.  Billboards have been mounted in several locations, and the message can be seen and heard in radio and print ads this week. A unity rally June 15 drew more than 1,000 members from several craft unions to hear national leaders of the IBEW and other trades.

Said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill:

It isn’t news that the construction market is depressed; IBEW members in St. Louis are facing 35 percent unemployment. We should be working together to win contracts to put building trades members back to work and preserving good jobs in St. Louis and across the country. Now is not the time to be fighting each other.

IBEW Local 1 is the gold standard of professional excellence for electricians in St Louis. IBEW members are trained in five-year apprenticeships that certify them as master electricians. Members are constantly upgrading their skills and experience as new technologies are introduced. Carpenters Local 57, by contrast, did not comply with federal standards on apprenticeship programs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.   

Click here for media coverage from the Building Trades Unity Rally at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. More details are available at www.local57facts.com

Rolling billboards start circulating in other cities this week, including Las Vegas, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.

Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO) President Mark Ayers headlined the event, joining leaders representing the wide range of skilled craft workers that have a tradition of respect for each other’s skills and specialties.

The IBEW’s distinguished history of skilled professionalism began in St. Louis, where the first local was founded in 1891. For nearly 120 years, the IBEW brand has conveyed quality, safety and value. IBEW members earn decent wages that allow them to raise families and be key members of thriving communities. 

Said President Hill:

Journeyman IBEW electricians are honed by a five-year apprenticeships unrivaled worldwide in their scope and depth. When an IBEW member is on a site, customers can be assured that the job will be done right. When you’re working with high-voltage electricity, why would you want anyone else?

With more than 5,000 members, Local 1's jurisdiction encompasses the City of St. Louis and 25 Missouri counties. Local 1 members perform electrical construction for many specialty contractors, as well as electrical work with telecommunications firms, sign companies, maintenance operations, manufacturers, automatic door firms, appliance repair shops, lightning rod companies, alarm and security firms, motor repair shops and electrical supply houses.

Local 1’s apprenticeship is a five-year program of study, including one day each week in the classroom with professional instructors. Apprentices complete 960 hours of classroom training and qualify for 49 college credits upon completion of the rigorous program.

The IBEW is an international labor organization that represents approximately 725,000 workers in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Republic of Panama. The IBEW has members in construction, utilities, manufacturing, telecommunications, broadcasting, railroads and government.

For more information, contact Jim Spellane at 202-355-3410 or David Roscow at 202-487-4990.