January 2012

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Mont. Member Wins Western States Electrical Contest

More than 20 newly-turned out electricians from a half-dozen states took part in the 2011 Western States Electrical Contest, showcasing the talents of the newest members of the IBEW.

Contestants showed off their knowledge of motor controls, residential wiring and conduit bending. The journeymen, representing locals from the Eighth and Ninth Districts, also had to take a written test based on the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee handbook and create their own schematic drawing.

Helena, Mont., Local 233 member David Carney took first place in the annual competition, in November.

Bakersfield, Calif., Local 428 hosted the event at its new training facility.
"It was an honor to play host for some of the best the IBEW has to offer," says Local 428 Apprenticeship Coordinator Jerry Melson.

For the residential wiring portion of the competition, contestants had to wire a single wall, installing outlets and a transformer box in a limited amount of time.

"When the judge said 'go' the clanking of tools was deafening," Melson said.

The competition was started in Oregon in the 1950s, but didn't expand across the West until the late 1990s.

Contestants, who are required to be first-year journeymen, are selected by their local's training directors to attend.

Ninth District International Vice President Michael Mowrey addressed attendees at the awards ceremony.

Carney, along with second- and third-place winners Portland, Ore., Local 48 member Aeron Braukman and Modesto, Calif., Local 684 member Chris Bowden, respectively, received a small cash prize donated by signatory contractor Pratt Electric.

A contest at the new Bakersfield, Calif., training hall tested the skills of new journeymen from Western states.

Phoenix Local Raises Money for Children's Cancer Research

Phoenix Local 387 helped raise more than $20,000 for cancer research Sept. 24, bringing together members, retirees and community members to help raise funds to fight the second most common cause of death among children. The Create for Cancer charity art auction was held in collaboration with Phoenix Children's Hospital, one of the largest children's hospitals in the nation.

More than 40 pieces of artwork — created by Phoenix Children's patients — were up for bid. Some of the artists and their family were on hand to offer moving testimonials about the importance of cancer research.

"There was a real outpouring and generosity and joy," says Local 387 Business Manager David Vandever. "It brought everyone together."
Vandever says it is important that unions take the lead in giving something back to their communities.

"With all the negative press coming from some in the media and elected officials, we need to show what our members try to do every day – helping out their neighbors and sharing the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood with the broader community," he says.

An art auction hosted by Phoenix Local 387 raised more than $20,000.