March 2015
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Also In This Issue How will pension law changes affect you?
Get the facts read_more

North of 49°
First District Readies for Federal Election read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Le Premier District se prépare pour l'élection fédérale read_more







Change of Address

  Cover Photo

HARD BARGAINING: Corporate America's

When the Great Recession struck with full force in 2008, many companies demanded deep concessions.

Workers across North America, including thousands of IBEW members, made numerous sacrifices to help their employers make it through those tough times.

Since then the economy has made a major turnaround — but most of its benefits are going to the top 1 percent of earners.

Profits have hit an all-time high. At the same time, wages as a percent of the economy have hit an all-time low.

Even at unionized companies, IBEW negotiators are confronting cash-rich employers who have replaced mutually beneficial collective bargaining with a winner-take-all, adversarial relationship — an approach some union activists are calling "hard bargaining."

"There are companies out there struggling, but even companies that are doing well are bullying everyone like it is still 2008," said IBEW Manufacturing Department Director Randy Middleton. "They don't need the concessions, their survival doesn't depend on givebacks, but they know workers have been afraid and they've sharpened their knives."

Across the nation, profitable companies like Rockwell Collins, Schneider Electric and GE are demanding the closure of pensions, pay freezes and higher health care costs.

Even a company like Southern California Edison, which has maintained a constructive relationship with its workers for decades, recently hired a union-busting lawyer to lead negotiations.

The trend is clear: corporations can afford to pay higher wages, they just aren't, and every day companies are paying their workers less.

"Every business knows, in the long run, we rise together," said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill. "But what we are finding now are companies in one industry after the next, squeezing their workers without ever giving a thought to how it might end." read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Hill: Building Bridges?
Or Slamming Doors? read_more
Chilia: Tree Trimmers
Rise Up read_more

TransitionsDonald Lounds;
Jerry Harris read_more

Organizing WireClean Coal Workers Organize in Ill. read_more

CircuitsPoll: Americans Will
Pay for Grid Upgrades;
Construction Unemployment Lowest Since 2007;
IBEW Underwrites PBS;
RENEW Leader Energizes New Generation of
Local 3 Activists;
At EWMC Conference, Young Workers
Serve Community;
El Paso Local Hits
Wage Theft read_more

In MemoriamThis Just In: PLAs Work;
Ky. Lawmakers Push Right-to-Work, County by County read_more

LettersMilitary Service Card:
Benefit for Members
on Duty read_more

LettersIBEW: Who We Are;
Been There, Done That;
Pitching In, Welcoming All;
Power Professionals read_more

Who We AreBoston Retiree, Union Leaders Hit the Bikes to
Help Beat Cancer read_more