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November 2014

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ETA Appoints New Director

Todd Stafford was appointed executive director of the Electrical Training Alliance (formerly the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) by the group's trustees in September.

He replaces Michael Callanan, who is stepping down.

"Todd and I have worked together for the past 19 years and I believe that the trustees of the Electrical Training Alliance have selected a proven leader who will skillfully guide the ETA for many years to come," Callanan said.

Stafford has been with the ETA since 1995. His responsibilities included renewable power, including wind and solar and distributed energy.

He joined Baton Rouge, La., Local 995 in 1982. He holds an engineering degree from Louisiana State University.

"I am very excited to have this opportunity," he said. "Our industry is facing extraordinary challenges and the Electrical Training Alliance is fully committed to doing our part to ensuring that the IBEW and NECA have a world-class electrical training program to produce the safest, most productive and best trained electrical workers in the world."

The ETA, which transitioned from the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee this year, is the joint training arm for the IBEW and NECA, training tens of thousands of electrical workers at 300 training centers across the United States.

"Brother Callanan has kept our training program innovative, comprehensive and always ahead of the curve and I wish him well," said International President Edwin D. Hill. "I welcome Brother Stafford and his leadership as we work with our partners at NECA in meeting the challenge of building and maintaining the top electrical workforce in the nation."


Todd Stafford

Calif. Member Helps Spur AFL-CIO's Youth Engagement

Activists at the AFL-CIO aren't just talking about improving the lives of young workers. They're walking the walk.

With the federation's "Next Up" young workers program, veteran labor leaders are working more closely than ever with the younger generation to help take action on issues facing workers aged 18-35.

Now, IBEW member Rachel Bryan, 34, will serve as the first-ever Young Workers Advisory Council representative to the AFL-CIO's general board. The board advises the federation's Executive Council, which includes the AFL-CIO's top officers and 55 vice presidents from all of the organization's affiliates.

Bryan was unanimously elected by fellow advisory council members. "As part of the Young Workers Advisory Council, we help bring the message of full inclusion to the table," said Bryan, a journeyman wireman by trade and the community liaison for Dublin, Calif., Local 595. "Everyone wants to be able to make a decent living and feed their families."

Some of Bryan's new responsibilities for the general council will be to help advise the AFL-CIO on issues affecting young workers, assist in strengthening central labor councils nationwide, help craft trainings and plan mentoring and community outreach.

The Young Workers Advisory Council will host a summit in Chicago next March. For more information on the AFL-CIO's youth outreach, visit


Dublin, Calif., Local 595 member Rachel Bryan, center, with International President Edwin D. Hill, right, and Senior Executive Assistant Brian Baker at this year's Ninth District Progress Meeting in Maui, Hawaii.

Biden Shows Maine Shipyard Some Love

"I've traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that and the fact of the matter is you're the best in the world. It's true."

Those were the words of Vice President Joe Biden in a September visit to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, staffed by the Metal Trades, including Portsmouth, N.H., Local 2071. Biden was introduced by Paul O'Connor, president of the Metal Trades Council and former business manager of Local 2071.

Apprenticeship and training programs at the facility are a model for private enterprises and for America's path to revitalizing the middle class, Biden said.

O'Connor says the unions' Declaration of Excellence, a commitment to high standards on the job, has helped promote dignity, integrity, improved relationships and productivity in the yard.


High School Students Going Green in Spam's Hometown

The sun and TV were shining on Austin, Minn., home to Hormel and Spam, as the Go Green Club at Austin High School helped install solar panels on the school's roof in August.

The project and Le Sueur Local 343 journeyman inside wireman Peter Jacobs, who worked on the array, were featured on a local television news segment. Students learned how resources and money can be saved with solar power, but the lessons went deeper. "Sometimes you can look at a moral return, a good feeling that you're doing something to better the ecology," Jacobs said.


Nigerian Utility Workers Visit International Office

A delegation of union members from Nigeria toured the International Office and visited the Brotherhood's museum in September.

"The biggest problem facing utility workers in Nigeria is the privatization of our distribution and transmission services," says Aneke Chimaobi, a deputy president of The National Union of Electrical Employees. Most members have between 10 and 20 years of seniority and are concerned about their employer's downsizing moves.

Recruiting for Diversity in St. Louis

Building trades unions, including Local 1, are partnering with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment using a $300,000 grant from the state of Missouri to establish pre-apprenticeship classes to boost participation of women and minority workers in the trades.

After drug tests and OSHA training, 15 participants spend time at each of seven trades' apprenticeship training centers.

Apprenticeship coordinators will rate the readiness of each student to enter training. Additional state funds will be used to help retain workers in the program.


Saving Hawks in Ill.

Shad Etchason, business manager of Decatur, Ill., Local 146, had received prior requests for volunteer work on residences. The local has participated in Habitat for Humanity and other efforts.

But then Etchason, president of the Decatur Building and Construction Trades Council, received a call from the state's Department of Natural Resources for assistance building an elaborate residence to help restore habitat for osprey, a fish-eating hawk on the endangered species list. The osprey population began falling in the 1960s when widespread use of the pesticide DDT had made bird eggs thinner and vulnerable to breaking.

Jason Drake, training director of Midstate Electrical Training Center, using all volunteer union labor, helped design a hacking tower, a shed 12 feet off the ground on poles where young birds imported from Joint Base Langley-Eustis near Newport, Va., could reside until they left the new homes for good, having adopting the region as their own.

"Our partners provide additional expertise and help us make the best use of funds entrusted to us to help bring back endangered species," says Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. With the help of the trades' expertise, IDNR hopes to remove the osprey from the endangered list within 20 years.


Decatur Local 146 member helped build a tower to shelter young osprey, on the state's list of endangered species.

Francisco 49ers Stadium: Built IBEW Strong

When the San Francisco 49ers needed a team to build their new stadium, they drafted the IBEW. Over 300 members of San Jose, Calif., Local 332 constructed the new $1.3 billion facility. Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara opened in July with a number of unique features: stadium-wide Wi-Fi, two colossal HD scoreboards and over 50,000 square feet of solar panels.

The stadium will host Super Bowl 50 in 2016.

Check out members on the job in our original video, which hit the Web last March and has garnered more than 4,000 views.