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September 2013

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End of An Era?

After reading in the August issue of the Electrical Worker about the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear plant in California, it saddens me that San Onofre and many other nuke plants in America may soon be suffering the same fate, and that many IBEW brothers and sisters will lose their jobs and careers because of it. The demand for electrical power in America is only increasing as I speak, and wind and solar power won't nearly meet the demand in the coming years. When nuclear plants were starting to come online in the 1960s, the engineers knew that all these facilities had expiration dates, as did the operators. Well, the expiration dates are arriving for many of these nuclear facilities, and now some tough decisions must be made.

Doug Szabo, Local 68 retiree

The Oldest Contractor?

This is in regard to the letter in June 2013 ("A Storied Career") in which Bro. Bill Mitchell from Huntington, W.Va., Local 317 states that he retired from Hatzel & Buehler, Inc., and that H&B is the oldest electrical contractor in the country, established in 1894. H&B may be one of the oldest, but it is not the oldest. I worked for Terminal-Andrae, Inc., out of Milwaukee, Wis., and have a coffee mug stating "The first electrical contractor in the nation, Est. 1882." Anybody else older than that?

And we do read the Electrical Worker from front to back to keep up with what is going on. Keep up the good writing.

Peter Hettinger, Local 461 retiree
Aurora, Ill.

The Blame Game

Why do politicians blame unions for the economic hardships in our country? Where did all of our factories and jobs go? You can blame big business, Wall Street and our politicians. Our factories have gone overseas for slave labor or cheaper labor while Wall Street chomps on big profits. You can blame our politicians with their trade agreements and tax incentives for making it very profitable to do business in other countries. Our politicians sit in Washington with their big pensions and special lifetime health care paid by the sweat of Americans and do nothing for its people. Nothing! These elected politicians have legal inside trading knowledge and overseas accounts to cheat the tax man to become millionaires once they get in office. Oh, the money floating around Washington makes me want to gag. No factories, no jobs, no Social Security money, no IRS money. Politicians, bring our factories home! It's a no-brainer!

George O. Curry, Local 126 member

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends.

Dangerous Trend, or Lifesaver?

These CWs are ruining our industry. Contractors around the country are bringing in these unqualified workers into our locals and are allowing them to run jobs over qualified journeyman wiremen with 30 years' experience. Our workmanship and high standards are slipping, and these newly sworn-in CWs have questionable loyalty to labor union principles. This current trend is an endangerment to our livelihood.

John Hall, Local 300
Montpelier, Vt.

[Editor's Note: The construction wireman/construction electrician (CW/CE) program was initiated union-wide in the mid-2000s for two reasons. One, to go after the work that we were losing to our nonunion competition and two, to fulfill our constitutional duty to organize all workers in the electrical industry. Currently, there are thousands of workers doing electrical work who can't be categorized as either apprentices or journeymen. The reality is that these workers will continue to work in the industry, regardless of our intentions. But with the CW/CE program, we have a means to recruit them to the IBEW right away, raise their wages and benefits and boost their skills as well as our market share — market share that helps put long-time journeymen like you to work. Business managers across the country have reported in the pages of this publication that the CW/CE program has made the IBEW competitive against nonunion firms and gotten us jobs we wouldn't have had in the first place, while winning over the best from the nonunion side.]