September 2013
print Print  email Email Archive


Also In This Issue International diplomacy and union busting at the U.N. read_more

Going after shoddy solar installations in Mass. read_more

North of 49°
British Columbia Utility Locks Out Workers read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Une entreprise de distribution de services publics de la
C.-B. met ses employés
en lock-out read_more

International Executive Council meeting minutes read_more

Federal sector union
member notice







Brotherhood Outdoors TV

  Cover Photo

IBEW and Building Trades Flourish at California Ports

Located side by side in San Pedro Bay, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach together comprise the sixth-busiest port complex in the world.

Even while they vie for business, the sister ports have jointly welcomed a never-fading wave of ships stacked with containers from Asia to fill America's craving for consumer goods. But when it came to relationships with building trades unions, their hospitality was always divided.

L.A. was union-friendly. When port commissioners there looked to upgrade or expand the port's infrastructure, they called upon union building and construction trades.

Long Beach was off limits for union contractors. Vehemently nonunion outfits like Helix Electric held sway with that facility's commissioners and the city's mayor and city council at the port.

Today, a decade of grassroots work by Los Angeles Local 11 and other unions to build political influence and support in Long Beach to successfully promote the skills and social responsibility of organized labor are finally being rewarded. The port, which moves $155 billion in goods and supports about $15 billion a year in trade-related wages, is teeming with members of the building trades, including IBEW members.

"I think both ports now understand that union contractors give customers a well-developed product, a great deal of experience and a commitment to see that the owner has great success with the design and intent of their projects," says Mike Gasper, an area superintendent at Dynalectric and 34-year IBEW member.

The current phase of the Middle Harbor project, part of a 10-year, $4 billion investment at the Port of Long Beach, includes a two-year project labor agreement that will employ 60 electricians at its peak. The project is designed to help Long Beach vastly increase productivity and decrease environmental damage.

"This is a monster job. Everything is robotic," says Craig Shaw, a 13-year IBEW member and a foreman for Dynalectric, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Long Beach.

New 12-kilovolt robotic cranes will replace existing ones that operate on 5 kilovolts. Cranes and robotic vehicles will reduce the amount of time to unload and reload a container ship from four days to one. To maximize utilization of Long Beach's 800 acres, union electrical contractors are helping to build a five-story warehouse that will accommodate rows of cargo containers stacked vertically. read_more

  Local Lines and Retirees

Officers Column Hill and Chilia: President's Economy Tour Needs Powerful Follow-up read_more

CircuitsBoston Member Honored for Actions after Marathon Bombing; Federal Workers Alliance, IBEW Challenging
Furloughs read_more

LettersEnd of An Era?; The Oldest Contractor?; The Blame Game; Dangerous Trend, or Lifesaver? read_more

TransitionsRobert W. McAlwee read_more

In MemoriamNote: In Memoriam will return in the October issue.

Who We AreMember Brings Light to a Darkened Yard read_more


The picture caption on the front page of the July Electrical Worker misidentifies the location of the training center shown. It is Sacramento, Calif., Local 340, not Detroit Local 58.

The article "New Exhibit, Online Resources from the IBEW Museum" in the August 2013 Electrical Worker may have given a mistaken impression regarding access to IBEW archives. All issues of the IBEW's official publications over the years are available at menu/journal.htm. Past editions of local union directories and convention roll calls are available solely in the Local Connections section, which can be accessed only by approved users from local union offices.