The Electrical Worker online
May 2015

Letters to the Editor
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Taking a Stand

On March 7th, union and nonunion workers stood side by side in protest of Scott Walker's visit to Dubuque and his terrible influence on American politics. As the local registrar and organizer, I understand the severity of the current path our country is on. Local 704, along with the Dubuque Federation of Labor, other local unions, Iowa AFL-CIO and the Delaware County Democrats, made a statement in little old Dubuque. More than 100 people showed up with one thing on their mind: solidarity! Thanks to the Delaware County Democrats for their help and wonderful pictures they took. Union members need the support of nonunion groups and workers if we are to succeed. The UAW posted pictures and shared @DelcoDemoracts on Twitter. If we are to have true solidarity, we need all the help we can get.

Peter Hird, Local 704 member
Dubuque, Iowa

Portability Accessibility

President Hill's April editorial, " Tomorrow is Here," says that we, as members, need to "get on board" with what's going on in the construction industry in prefab, BIM models, etc. I agree it's headed in this direction and have worked on several BIM projects that progress faster than a project that doesn't, as the computers find conflicts before they become an issue in the field.

President Hill also said our locals need to hire more organizers to bring more non-signatory contractors into the fold. I know our organizers have talked to dozens of non-signatory contractors, many of whom have expressed interest in becoming union, up to the point that they read the bylaw that gets the organizer pushed out the door: PORTABILITY!!

As soon as a non-signatory contractor reads he can only take four of his 25 men into another county, he's done talking. Why would he want to sit men that have worked for him for years and hire new guys just because he has a project out of his jurisdiction? This archaic bylaw is preventing us as a union from growing. We still need to keep apprentices in the county, if only to keep unscrupulous contractors from sending them hundreds of miles away because they are not allowed to quit. A journeyman wireman should have full portability as long as he/she clears into that local and pays working dues there.

A contractor is going to hire apprentices out of the local to keep his labor rate down and if he has more work in that county, they will turn out as a JW for him. They will hire JWs, as not everyone wants to travel, or they don't have the manpower for the project. They will also hire as the shop grows and is awarded more work. More union contractors mean more work for all of us.

For those who say out-of-town contractors are going to swoop in and steal all our work, non-signatory contractors have been doing it for years. Contractors don't want to be out of business any more than you want to be out of work. The competition will force them to start bidding all the jobs rather than just the ones they know they will get and make their desired profit, which brings us back to prefab, BIM models, and everyone getting on board with the new age.

Randy Long, Local 441 member
Santa Ana, Calif.

Underwriting PBS

I would like to take this opportunity to commend you on the media clip that the IBEW sponsors during the news program on public television. It is well done as it shows the workers of the IBEW involved in the critical jobs that are so important in American life. While I never had the pleasure of being a member of the IBEW, my grandfather was a pioneer in your organization. My father, my uncles, my brothers and now my son are members of the IBEW.

All unions should be undertaking this sort of media campaign. Once again, keep up the good work.

Mike Benefield
Terrebonne, Ore.


I've been watching the PBS News Hour for years. It is with pride that I see that the IBEW is a supporter of this important neutral venture.

Eric David, Local 11 retiree
Los Angeles