The Electrical Worker online
January 2014

Letters to the Editor index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
Thanks, Gov. Walker

I have been an active union member for over 29 years and I want to thank Milwaukee Local 2150 Unit #3 members for a good and safe job all these years at Kaukauna Utilities. As of 2014 we will no longer be a union shop, after 99-plus years as Local 2150.

Thanks to our Republican governor of Wisconsin and his Act 10 union-busting bill, we no longer have a need to remain union members (or so Scott Walker says) anymore. Our collective bargaining power is no more, and the only thing we can bargain for is wages.

Our union falls under this mandate because we are municipal workers and we were "stealing" from the taxpayers. What I don't understand is why municipal utility workers fall under this, seeing as our wages and benefits come from the electric and water bills our customers pay, not taxes. I asked around why this happens to be the "law," and was told, "Because he (the governor) can."

I am just wondering how many union units were lost because no one fought this bill. Without unions, we would be working for minimum wages and no benefits. We have worked long and hard to get where we are, and now the ignorance and arrogance of one person has set us back 100 years.

Michael J. Bergner, Local 2150 member
Milwaukee, Wis.

[Editor's Note: To be sure, Gov. Walker has been no friend of labor. The Wisconsin and national labor movement, along with students, community leaders and many elected officials, fought hard against Walker's anti-labor legislation. They led some of the biggest rallies in Wisconsin history and fought to keep the heat on in the state capitol and in the courts throughout 2011 and 2012.]

A Worthy Investment

I just finished reading the Future of Training ("Games and Social Media Transform Apprentice Training") in the November issue of The Electrical Worker, and I am very impressed by what I read. I applaud the efforts of those involved from the NJATC and truly see this as being the most up-to-date and effective means of training for our future. I am also interested in knowing if these courses, "academies," will be accessible by journeymen as a means of either learning for the first time, or as a refresher? And would it be as easy as clicking on the NJATC site and thumbing through until one finds what they are interested in?

I have been a member of the IBEW for over 30 years and have participated in my local's apprenticeship committee in the past. This commitment by the NJATC excites me and refreshes my belief in our future in these increasingly difficult economic times. I hope that our instructors grasp onto this change and assist with the enthusiasm that the developers have put into the program.

Thomas Zielke, Local 86 member
Rochester, N.Y.

[Editor's Note: We put the questions posed by Brother Zielke to NJATC Director Bill Ball, who offered the following response:

Yes, the courses we call Continuing Electrical Training are designed as a brush-up for experienced electrical workers with both a good amount of theory or little at all. The local JATC can determine the best delivery method for these courses. The NJATC has found that the local JATCs want the ability to select what courses will be available in their area. Many JATCs are using a basic course offering a template that the NJATC developed to use in their local IBEW/NECA/JATC newsletters to announce available courses.]

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends. Starting this month, the Electrical Worker will share some of the best with its readers.

Lessons in Life

Something my apprenticeship director, Mr. Iacobellis, never told me upon joining was that, not only would I learn the electrical trade, but also build confidence in myself to see a job and tackle it, be it piping in an electrical/mechanical room, or even a task as mundane as drilling a hole through a wall for a one-inch nipple. I am grateful for the great mechanics and teachers I have had who have helped me along the way.

Ben Coleman, third-year Local 80 apprentice
Norfolk, Va.