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June 2015

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Detroit Local Honored for Volunteer Efforts

One new house built — from start to finish — every day.

That's the ambitious goal set by Detroit's Habitat for Humanity for the charity's annual "blitz build," a weeklong event that sees thousands of construction workers, faith leaders, community activists and everyday citizens roll up their sleeves, grab tools and raise roofs throughout the city.

Members of Detroit Local 58 played a key role in last summer's blitz build, where they helped wire and power up seven new homes in the eastern part of the city.

For their efforts, IBEW brothers and sisters received the group's Community Partner of the Year award at a gala event in downtown Detroit.

Local 58 Business Manager Michael Richard called the February honor "a source of great pride."

"I can't think of a better or more deserving group than our men and women who go out there year after year and do this great work," he said.

Detroit's union electricians have helped build over 100 Habitat homes in southeastern Michigan over the last 15 years.

"IBEW Local 58 has been with us for a number of years now, and I can't tell you how important that is," said Vincent Tilford, executive director of Habitat Detroit. "We're very grateful for their help and resources."

Watch Local 58 members in action:


Detroit Local 58 members were honored by the city's Habitat for Humanity group.

Portland, Ore., Local Pickets for Fair Contract

We do the challenging work providing your power — and we deserve a decent contract.

That's the message that was sent by members of Portland, Ore., Local 125 who held informational pickets outside employer Pacific Power's company headquarters in March.

The workers began bargaining for a new contract last September with PacifiCorp, Pacific Power's parent company. The local represents 316 Pacific Power employees, including linemen, service coordinators, meter readers, substation wiremen and more.

After tough rounds of bargaining, the two parties sought assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service early this year. PacifiCorp put forth its most recent offer March 4, which workers say offers lower wages and benefits compared to other energy companies in the region.

"We're here today because we're committed to providing safe, reliable power for our customers — and sometimes that means working 40 feet in the air on a utility pole in the middle of a snow storm," said Local 125 Business Manager Travis Eri. "We take pride in our work and love serving our communities."

Local 125's activism was covered by an area news station on April 29. Watch video at

PacifiCorp operates as Pacific Power in California, Oregon and Washington, and as Rocky Mountain Power in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The company earned nearly $3.5 billion in gross profits during 2014. PacifiCorp provides power to 1.8 million customers, according to its company website.

For more information, visit Local 125's Facebook page:


Portland, Ore., Local 125 members picket in March for a fair contract.

American Water Donates Thousands for
Union Conservation Efforts

At a time when much of the U.S. is experiencing record levels of drought, good environmental stewardship is needed.

That's why American Water, the largest water and wastewater utility company in the U.S., recently donated two grants totaling $35,000 to the Union Sportsmen's Alliance to further the organization's ongoing conservation efforts.

The grants, which were announced at the USA's Second Annual West Virginia AFL-CIO Conservation Dinner on April 18, will fund USA's Work Boots on the Ground volunteer efforts in Illinois, Tennessee and West Virginia. American Water's national arm donated $25,000 to the projects, and the company's West Virginia office kicked in an additional $10,000 for the Charleston-area conservation initiative.

Volunteers will help improve public access to water-based recreational opportunities and enhance the environmental sustainability of existing recreational areas.

"American Water employees are proud members of the communities we serve," company President and CEO Susan Story said. "Our employees who are in union-represented jobs are among the most talented and skilled professionals in the nation, and we are very excited to provide financial and staff support to Work Boots on the Ground projects that will enhance the outdoor experience of our customers, our employees and their families." Story has been credited with improving labor/management relations at the company since her hiring last year.

Launched in 2010, Work Boots on the Ground offers union members the chance to help conserve wildlife habitat, mentor youth, improve public access to the outdoors and restore America's parks.

IBEW volunteers have built a youth archery range in Florida, constructed a storage facility for kayaks near a Georgia lake, improved a Texas state park and more.

"To every conservation project union members take on through Work Boots on the Ground, they bring an unmatched work ethic, superior trade skills and a desire to give back to their community," said USA Executive Director and CEO Fred Myers. "We commend American Water for its good corporate citizenship in supporting this program, and we look forward to working together to improve public access to the recreational opportunities that clean water provides."

Learn more about Work Boots on the Ground at


American Water donated thousands for the Union Sportsmen's Alliance conservation efforts in Charleston, W.Va.

Sixth District Activist RENEWing a Family Tradition

No one had to persuade Adam Hentschel to join the IBEW. He's a fourth generation union member.

"My dad is IBEW, my grandfather and great-grandfather worked in the automobile industry and my brother is also in the trade. I applied, waited two years and was accepted as a telecommunications apprentice," Hentschel said.

A 29-year-old member of Detroit Local 58, Hentschel is spreading the word among his peers about the advantages of an IBEW career. The recruiting effort, called Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers, is a major initiative throughout the IBEW to attract young members to replace the retiring older generation of workers.

Hentschel said Local 58 is building a strong RENEW program. "We were ringing doorbells during the recent election for governor and phone banking with the AFL-CIO. In our PAC committee, Next Gen members outnumber the seniors."

Upholding the IBEW tradition of community service is also a high priority for Hentschel and his RENEW brothers and sisters. They recently teamed with their counterparts at Detroit Local 17 to support a food bank and a shelter for women and children.

Hentschel said he was encouraged by the success of the young worker movement in the IBEW. The IBEW's RENEW conference in Chicago in March included 430 members, which more than doubled the previous gathering in 2013, said Tarn Goelling, international representative in the Civic and Community Engagement Department. The feedback on how RENEW is progressing is positive and a lot of younger members are taking that energy back to their locals, Hentschel said.

Local 58 is promoting RENEW through local and IBEW Facebook pages, an online newsletter, and monthly conference calls.


RENEW team members from Detroit Local 17 and Local 58 join forces to upgrade a shelter for women and children.