February 2015
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Also In This Issue More Trimmers Win Voice
Winning campaign
gathers momentum read_more

2014 Founders'
Scholarship Winners

New opportunities for
union activists read_more

North of 49°
Ontario Local Organizes Residential Market read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Un Local d'Ontario organise le marché résidentiel read_more

Auditor's report read_more

International Executive Council meeting minutes read_more





Change of Address


  Cover Photo

Motown's Energy Makeover
IBEW Overhauls Detroit's Electrical Grid

Detroit went dark the morning of Dec. 2, when a faulty cable caused power outages at federal buildings, courthouses and schools throughout the city — including at major institutions like Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center and Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings.

The culprit: a century-old, city-run power grid that hasn't been updated in decades.

One of the few city buildings not to lose power was Bates Academy, an academic magnet school for elementary and middle school students in the Northwest section of the city.

The lights stayed on at Bates because it received an energy makeover last summer thanks to the IBEW and the DTE, the main electric utility for Southeastern Michigan. Members replaced aged equipment and plugged it into DTE's more modern grid in time for the school year.

Bates was the first school transitioned under a new $200 million modernization project that will bring Detroit's electrical infrastructure into the 21st century. And making it happen — building by building — are members of Detroit Local 17.

"The system here is in really bad shape," said Local 17 Business Manager Dean Bradley. "We're talking about a system that's over 100 years old."

Archaic System

For more than a century, Detroit's electrical and transmission needs were provided directly through the city's Public Lighting Department.

Most residential homes and apartments are plugged into DTE's grid, but the majority of public buildings and many large commercial and industrial facilities — 1,400 in all — relied on Detroit's municipal utility for their electricity.

But as the city went into economic decline, the power system suffered along with it. Deindustrialization and suburban flight deprived the city of its tax base, which in turn starved the department of needed maintenance and investment funds. read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Hill:The Good News read_more
Chilia: Rebuilding
America read_more

TransitionsFrank J. Carroll;
Michael Monahan;
Joe P. Smith;
Chris Wagner read_more

CircuitsHill Accepts Social Justice Award in Italy;
Union Plus College Benefits;
International and Local Communicators Win
2014 Awards;
IBEW Showcases
New Look in Cyberspace;
Second District Activist
Lays Groundwork for
RENEW's Growth read_more

LettersIBEW U?;
'Lineman' Still Our Song;
Union Safety Net;
Thanks, President Hill read_more

In MemoriamDecember 2014 read_more

Who We Are'We Went to Our Jobs…' Local 3 Flag Adorns
9/11 Museum read_more