Organizing Yields Wall-to-Wall Membership at Tenn. Research Facility
November 16, 2012
A recent campaign to organize technicians and electricians at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a preeminent science and technology research facility in eastern Tennessee, yielded a noteworthy win for employees who are now members of Knoxville Local 760.
The lion’s share of wiremen, linemen, instrument technicians, groundmen and utility operators have been affiliated with the local for years. But following local leaders’ renewed push for wall-to-wall organizing, IBEW activists launched a campaign last spring to help recruit nearly two dozen new members who had previously opted out of union representation. Said Bove:
Chief Steward Shane Cromwell said that the campaign brought in newer, younger workers and some older employees who had been unorganized in their years on the job:
Managed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge houses the world’s largest supercomputers that help advance breakthroughs in neutron science, biology and national security. Of the nearly 1,000 organized employees at the site, many belong to other unions, including the sheet metal workers, boilermakers, machinists, pipefitters and more.
The success of the recent organizing push means that with a peak of almost 400 total members, the IBEW has the greatest union density at the facility. As many senior members have retired in the last few months, Cromwell – who is also assistant business agent for Local 760 – says the victory bodes well for organizing the next generation that walks through the door:
Bove offered special thanks to Assistant Business Agent Mark Long and organizer Mike Marlowe for the successful effort: