May 2011

Salvatore 'Sam' Chilia Named
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Salvatore "Sam" Chilia has been appointed International Secretary-Treasurer to replace Lindell Lee, effective May 1.

A former business manager of Cleveland Local 38, and Third District International Executive Council member, Chilia has served as Fourth District International Vice President since succeeding Paul Witte, who retired in 2007.

Chilia, who has two sons in the IBEW, says he learned early on about the value of the Brotherhood. After his father died in 1956, his mother joined Cleveland Local 1377 and worked in a manufacturing plant building alternators for automobiles. Now 90, she still collects an IBEW pension.

Initiated into Local 38 in 1967, Brother Chilia graduated from his inside wireman apprenticeship in 1971, working for various electrical contractors until 1989. He was elected to his local's examining board in 1977 and its executive board in 1980.

"After being elected president of my local union, I got my first thirst for organizing and involvement and did double duty as a second organizer," says Secretary-Treasurer Chilia, who is proud that, under his leadership, the Fourth District adopted an aggressive approach to building membership and introducing recovery agreements in the inside electrical trade to open up new projects.

"Membership buy-in is going to take some time for recovery programs," he says. "I am looking forward to the journeyman on the job explaining to his peers that he would not be working if not for new classifications to lower composite labor costs and win projects. That person is the best salesman for the program."

After serving as chairman of his local's pension and benefit funds, Chilia was elected business manager in 1997. In 2001, he was elected to serve on the International Executive Council.

Brother Chilia instituted his local union's 401(k) plan and full retirement at age 55. He is a leader in negotiating project labor agreements, including those covering construction of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians stadiums and the Cleveland Clinic.

Chilia's civic and labor activism earned him a place in Leadership Cleveland's Class of 2001, which brings together recognized leaders from the private, nonprofit and government sectors for seminars on the challenges and dilemmas facing the region.

A vice president of the Cleveland AFL-CIO, Brother Chilia has also served as treasurer and board member of the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades.

A former member of the National Voice/Data/Video task force for the electrical industry, Chilia was later appointed by International President Edwin D. Hill to serve on the National Drug and Alcohol Task Force.

Brother Chilia and his wife, Arlene, have seven children and 16 grandchildren.

President Edwin D. Hill says, "No IBEW member is better prepared to protect our union membership's benefit funds and our Brotherhood's legacy than Sam Chilia. From staunchly representing his local union to his service on the IEC and as Vice President, Sam has always put the union membership first. In these challenging days for our organization, experience and selfless commitment are absolutely essential. Brother Sam Chilia has both in great measure."

The officers and members of the IBEW wish Brother Chilia great success in his new position.

Read more: Lindell Lee Retires

President Hill announced Secretary-Treasurer Chilia's appointment last month at the Construction and Maintenance Conference in Washington, D.C.