The Electrical Worker online
April 2013

Letters to the Editor
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A Life Well Spent

I am a 70-year member of Portland, Ore., Local 48. I recently had my 90th birthday. As my days are coming on, I keep telling myself to take some time to tell my brothers about an 18-year-old who simply had to know all about this electrical stuff. After high school, one day I asked a worker how do you start? The guy told me to go to this union hall. So I went to the Local 48 office and was politely told that my chances for a job were very slim.

But being an 18-year-old know-it-all, I went to see the dispatcher once a month. One day I came into the office, the B.A. saw me coming, and told me to be at this contractor at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow. A happy kid got out of there in a hurry, and my life began.

Unfortunately, in less than three months, we were at war with Japan. I knew what I had to do. So I joined the Navy, shipped to the Essex aircraft carrier and spent the next three years on the ship. When the war ended, we came home with 16 battle stars on our chest, for sure the most proud thing I will ever have accomplished in my life.

By the time I left the Navy, I had met and married my wife. I went to see my old dispatcher friend, and my life began again at the age of 23.

My wife and I have been happily married for 63 years, have recently had to move to an assisted living center because of failing health, but thank God and the IBEW for our retirement benefits. Our life is pleasant and after 47 years with the tools, I would be first in line if I could ever do it again.

John Yeager, Local 48 retiree
Portland, Ore.

GOP friends or foes?

To those who vote for Republicans and believe that they can be good union brothers and sisters, the handwriting is on the wall. When Republican lawmakers made Michigan right-to-work, all but killing union rights in a state that has been the foundation of union representation for decades, there can be no room for any good union member to believe that any Republican would ever be a friend of labor.

The Republican Party has proven that it intends to wipe out the middle class in the United States. If the brothers and sisters who believe that the Republicans are not hell-bent on destroying and eliminating organized labor, it is incumbent upon them to give up their union membership and go to work for open shop and right-to-work companies. Very few if any of the Republican brothers and sisters would be willing to give up their union membership to support right-to-work legislation.

The time has come for all union members who really believe in the labor movement to band together and to elect people who will represent organized labor fairly. If we form a united front we can take back all that was earned by the labor movement and taken away by the Republican anti-labor force.

Robert Fritz, Local 35 retiree
Hartford, Conn.

Flip Feature Fancy

I just want to THANK YOU profusely for the new "page by page" feature this month. It was like reading the paper issue, only on the computer screen. This is a feature that was well worth your time and energy to bring to life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thomas Sarris, Local 97 retiree
Syracuse, N.Y.

(Editor's Note: We're glad Brother Sarris enjoys reading his Electrical Worker online using this method, which allows readers to view the print issue of the newspaper on the screen and click on arrows to "turn" the page. We have been offering this feature on the Web site at since December 2011.)


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We welcome letters from our readers. The writer should include his or her name, address, e-mail address and if, applicable, IBEW local union and card number. Family members should include the local union name and number of the IBEW member to whom the Electrical Worker is mailed. The Electrical Worker reserves the right to select letters for publication and edit all submissions for length.

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