The Electrical Worker online
June 2015

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The Work/Life Balance

As I am finishing my senior year of high school and preparing to enter college, I have been thinking about my childhood and all the memories that I have with my family. I realized that there was something common in nearly all of these memories: my father was in them.

I am fortunate that my dad is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, because it allows him to earn a living and also to spend time with his family. I have always had a hectic schedule with sports, school and extracurriculars, and my dad has been able to play a significant role. He can do this because his job as a journeyman electrician allows him to balance his commitments to both work and family.

Granted, the work he performs is very demanding physically, but having a fair, eight-hour workday gives him the time to pick me up after school, attend my baseball games, take me to practice and just spend time hanging out.

Seeing my dad manage his roles as both a worker and a father has made me reflect on what my priorities will be when I have a career and family of my own. I hope I can find the same balance that my father has and never lose the appreciation that he has instilled in me for hard work.

Daniel Blackburn, son of Local 400 member Laurence E. Blackburn
Asbury Park, N.J.

In Praise of the Movement

My family would not be the same without the labor movement. My relatives have been part of America's labor unions for generations, starting with my grandfather in 1955, then my father's two uncles, and now my father, who has been a member for 35 years. If it had not been for the labor movement, they would not have been able to care for their families in the same way as they have for so many years.

The 40-hour work week helps members of labor unions spend quality time with loved ones in between their work schedules while pensions and health benefits allow them to retire at a reasonable age. If the labor movement did not exist, employers would be able to take advantage of their employees, making them work longer hours, under harsh and possibly unsafe conditions and without break times, benefits, or just compensation.

Our society has the labor movement to thank for setting standards for fair wages, safe working conditions and for protecting employees from being fired without just cause. It has raised the bar for labor practices for the whole nation, even outside of labor unions. Members are able to balance their time between work and home, and they give back to the community by hosting donation drives for the military, rebuilding homes with Habitat for Humanity and other charitable endeavors. The goals and values of the labor movement have revolutionized the labor system, and America has not looked back since.

Emily Kazenmayer, daughter of Local 400 member James Kazenmayer
Asbury Park, N.J.

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The New Generation

I'm the instructor for the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Local 2085 Code of Excellence Training Centre and just passed 21 amazing apprentices out of our pre-employment program. Hardworking and union to the core.

Steven Jerome Sprange, Local 2085 member
Winnipeg, Manitoba