The Electrical Worker online
July 2015

From the Officers
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
Forging Our Future

It's a time of transition in our Brotherhood.

As my colleague and friend Ed Hill retires, I wish him a wonderful next chapter and appreciate all that he has done for the working men and women of the IBEW. And I have nothing but high praise for our new International President Lonnie Stephenson, whom I am honored to serve with.

We face challenging and changing times, not to mention numerous and well-funded enemies who want to drive us off the map. There is a lot at stake with no room for error.

That's why we are lucky to have Brother Stephenson at the helm. Ask anyone who's ever worked with him. I have full confidence in him, his abilities and his deep commitment to our Brotherhood and its success.

Now, as excited as I am to work with Lonnie, I feel somewhat bittersweet about it. Ed Hill has been my working partner for so many years now.

I first heard about Ed decades ago. I was working as a wireman out of Cleveland Local 38. He was already business manager of Local 712 in Beaver, Pa. I never made it out there, but a lot of Local 38 members traveled there for work. They always came back with the highest praise for Local 712 — and its business manager.

Let me tell you, my time with President Hill has been some of the finest years of my working life in the IBEW.

He's left a solid legacy of positive growth — from helping spearhead new trainings for business managers and representatives, to tapping the resources of the younger generation who will one day be our successors. He wasn't afraid to wade into challenging waters to do the best for the membership, and he always, always had the best interests of the IBEW at heart.

As we embrace these new changes, we recognize that there remains a lot of work to be done in the political sphere.

In the last five years, three more states have gone right-to-work. Others have abolished the right of public workers to collectively bargain, tried to weaken health and safety regulations and done away with caps on corporate spending in elections.

If 2016 looks anything like 2014, we could be in big trouble. We can't afford any more right-to-work states or attacks on collective bargaining. And with elections in Canada coming up in October, we are going to have to go big on the international stage to make gains for working families.

Change is inevitable — but progress is not. With Brother Stephenson at the helm, we're poised to make great strides. Let's get out there and make it happen.


Also: Stephenson: A Legacy of Achievement Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer