The Electrical Worker online
November 2012

Letters to the Editor
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Point, Counterpoint

This is in response to Mr. Nelson's letter in the October issue ( "More Scott Walkers?" Letters to the Editor ). If Mr. Nelson and other Republicans in our great union are so dismayed about the direction the union is going, maybe they should quit chasing the money and benefits afforded to them as union members by dropping their tickets and going to work for their local ABC shop and see how well they are paid and benefited. We may not approve of everything our so-called socialist leaders have done, but I believe wholeheartedly that they are always working in my best interests. The unions have worked for 100-plus years to get where we are today. Ninety-nine percent of Republicans elected or not are working to destroy the unions as we know them today. If they had their way, this whole country would be right-to-wreck, driving down wages and eliminating benefits we have fought so hard to get!

Dennis Parker, Local 124 member
Kansas City, Mo.

To reply to Steve Nelson's letter to the editor, I would simply say that if he as a union member would fail to recognize other brother and sister unions in labor, whether in the private or public sector, then perhaps he should not be a union member. It is time to make tough decisions and decide whether you are for us or against us. No longer can we ride on the backs of those that made sacrifices and came before us. It is time to get our hands dirty with the task at hand, which is defeating every politician that would suggest right-to-work laws are beneficial to the worker. You can't ride the fence, ladies and gentlemen; it's time to get in the fight.

Jerry M. Hall, Local 816 member
Paducah, Ky.

Everyday Heroes

The International Lineman's Museum in Shelby, N.C., was created in 1997 and is dedicated to preserving the history of the electrical industry of linemen. The museum is home to many electrical artifacts including tools, meters, insulators, climbing apparatuses, books, signs, photographs, equipment line trucks, a 1918 electric car and many other items of interest.

The museum is a favorite among linemen and its founder, Andy Price, and his staff members Murray and Gina are often a presence in linemen's rodeos throughout the United States. It was in April of this year at the American Public Power Association's Linemen's Rodeo in Cleveland, Ohio, that the museum inducted new members into its Lineman's Hall of Fame, and I am greatly honored to be one. Other members of the hall of fame include Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Ezra Cornell. I am grateful to have been nominated and accepted into this prestigious list of people who contributed to the electrical field and industry.

Electrical linemen are often not appreciated or recognized. It is my desire to share what they do with others so that people will understand the hazards of this occupation and come to appreciate the sometimes grueling conditions that electrical workers have to work under to ensure people have electrical service. As a retiree of Southern California Edison after 32 years of service, I personally have worked in extremely hot temperatures (over 110 degrees), in snow, in dangerous neighborhoods, have fought off dog attacks and armed customers who threatened to kill if we turned off their power. As an electrical worker, I often missed holidays and family events when called out to restore power or pick up downed lines that posed a risk to the community. I have lost four friends due to electrical shock and other job hazards and have had several other friends survive following severe electrical shock after coming into contact with a 12,000-volt line. It is common for electrical workers to work alongside firefighters, police and sheriffs after automobile accidents where electrical lines are involved.

Though I understand that many people will never see electrical workers as heroes, many of my personal heroes are linemen who work in this field, those who have retired from this profession and people who I have known that have passed away in the line of duty as a lineman who were injured while working to provide service to others. I appreciate them for their countless hours, time and sacrifice they have given to work in this field.

The International Lineman's Museum has a Walk of Fame where people can honor electrical workers by purchasing bricks inscribed with a person's name and other memorial information. The museum's address is 529 Caleb Road in Shelby and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on how to visit or make a donation to this nonprofit organization, visit the Web site at or call 704-482-7638.

Billy G. Smith, Local 47 retiree
Diamond Bar, Calif.