August 2011

Letters to the Editor
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Green, But is it Good?

As a current IBEW member and a former Canadian Union of Postal Workers member, I discourage you from offering the electronic versions of ANY mailings. If you want to support the CUPW members who work for Canada Post, please reconsider this proposal. Not mailing items just cuts out work for the members who work for the Canada Post and does more harm than good in the solidarity movement. If everyone switches to electronic versions and no printed versions go out, we're putting our brothers and sisters out of work.

Michael Danroth
Vancouver, British Columbia, Local 258 member

[Editor's Note: Bro. Danroth has a point, but we cannot deny the explosive growth of online communications, which often complement, not replace, printed material. It should also be noted that sending communications electronically helps keep IBEW members in the telecommunications, construction and utility branches employed.]

Do Labor and Religion Mix?

[Regarding the June 2011 article, "Retiree Links Labor and Religious Traditions"], given that those responsible for the unprecedented assault on woman's rights, gay rights and workers' rights were put into office with the overwhelming support of the Catholic Church, I find your article hypocritical and offensive.

I want my children and grandchildren to have a good life, and I do not want my daughter or my granddaughters to be nothing more than baby making machines because of the beliefs of some fat old men in dresses.

Dale Carselli
Local 86 retiree, Rochester, N.Y.

Not Just a Piece of Plastic

Our country is in a state of economic decline, and nonunion labor is claiming more and more of our market share. The IBEW has to change to meet world demands. Some of the IBEW's best tools are the apprenticeship programs that give our contractors the skills, knowledge and dedication that it takes to get the job done. One of the main goals for my classmates and me from our apprenticeship program is passing the test and obtaining that small plastic card that says "California State Certified General Electrician." To the Local 340 class of 2011 this card exemplifies skills, knowledge, training, dedication, and the means necessary to help bring the new IBEW to the forefront of the modern electrical industry.

Being a good journeyman is all about constant learning and passing that knowledge on to a good apprentice. We need to skill up so we can handle any situation within our trade quickly, effectively, and with top quality craftsmanship.

Highly skilled and knowledgeable is the trademark of an IBEW electrician. Knowledge doesn't only mean knowing how to rough in a wall or install a piece of switchgear.

We as new journeyman have a distinct responsibility to pass on work ethics to our apprentices. Our shop foremen must be able to depend on us to get the job done while he or she is spending valuable time planning our next phase of work. If we can't teach dependability by example then as a class we are of no value to the IBEW.

We as the class of 2011 owe much heartfelt thanks to the dedication of our instructors.

Dedication means coming to class on time, and making sacrifices at home to get our homework done. We learned how important it is to attend local union meetings, and more recently how important our vote is there. We realize how vitally important it is to dedicate ourselves to a career of constant learning and the subsequent passing on of our skills to the next generation of apprentices.

We have had the support of our classroom instructors and some of the best journeymen in the nation. There are none in the field more dedicated than we are to continuing the tradition of the IBEW. Hopefully the support of our fellow union brothers and sisters will give us the means to realize, and meet all of the new challenges facing the Local 340 graduating class of 2011. Is the state journeyman's card just a piece of plastic? When you complete an IBEW JATC apprenticeship program as good as the one at Local 340 Sacramento, and then you go out into the field and work with the best, you have to earn the title.

Jerry Lee Weidman
Sacramento, Calif., Local 340 member