December 2013
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Also In This Issue Ohio University warned over safety issues read_more

Italy's 9/11 memorial draws international group read_more

Sacramento, Calif.,
TV staff joins IBEW;
New broadcasting site
offers news, forum read_more

Young members assist Sandy victims read_more

North of 49°
Manitoba Gets
Energy Makeover read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Cure de rajeunissement pour le réseau de production d'énergie
au Manitoba read_more

2012 Summary Annual Report for the National Electrical Annuity Plan read_more

Notice to Participants in the National Electrical Annuity Plan: Explanation of Preretirement Surviving Spouse Benefit read_more





  Cover Photo

Upstate N.Y. Transformer Manufacturer Expands Plant, Global Reach

When Bill Woerner was hired by New York's Niagara Transformer 27 years ago, he joined 80 union workers at a family-owned company, expecting a steady job that could continue to deliver pay and benefits even as the area's auto plants and steel mills strained under extremes of boom and bust.

"My father was a steelworker who advised me to find the job that would be the most consistent," says Woerner, who began to learn the trade of a coil winder, producing the interior of the transformers by delicately wrapping copper or aluminum wires around a core interspersed with layers of insulation for cooling.

Woerner says he was proud to contribute to his employer's success in supplying a niche market for custom-designed transformers that can perform in punishing environments from the North Slope of Alaska to Antarctica.

Prospering Together

Led by the Darby family, Niagara Transformer and members of Buffalo Local 41 prospered together through many industry challenges such as the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, ostensibly calculated to increase markets for U.S.-manufactured goods, but which intensified competition in the electrical equipment market.

Thousands of factories shut down, including many in Upstate New York. The IBEW's manufacturing membership took deep hits, losing jobs to new plants being built just inside the Mexican border, where their products were then exported back to the U.S. But, Niagara Transformer — founded in 1933 — defied the death spiral and was still standing.

The company's business shifted to production of larger and more complex utility transformers and a new facility became a necessity.

Today, journeyman inside wiremen, who are also members of Local 41, are completing a new climate-controlled, dust-free building with carefully managed ambient temperatures, expanded testing and painting capabilities, high ceilings and huge cranes, all designed to accommodate larger transformers. read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Hill: In 2013, Much Progress, Miles to Go read_more
Chilia: The Hidden
Anti-Worker Network read_more

LettersIn Case of Emergency,
Call I-B-E-W;
No Work, No Workers?;
Point of Pride read_more

TransitionsC. James Spellane;
Mark Brueggenjohann; LeRoy 'Keith' Edwards;
Paul J. Ward;
James Dushaw;
Ted Moseley read_more

CircuitsWis. IBEW Leaders Open High Schoolers' Eyes to Building Trades read_more

Organizing WireOntario Building Trades Offer JMR Employees a 'Better Deal' read_more

In MemoriamOctober 2013 read_more

Who We AreSt. Louis Member: 'All Veterans Deserve a
Proper Welcome' read_more