April 2016
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Also In This Issue High Court Split
Anti-union forces stymied
by justice's death read_more

Big Box, Super Roof
A solar panel-powered
Ikea read_more

Amtrak Upgrades
Rail investment urged read_more

Manufacturing Excellence
Partners in quality at
Eaton Cooper read_more

'Unlimited Opportunity'
Natural gas-fueled boom
in Louisiana read_more

Trade Deal Skepticism
Pacific pact opposition
mounting read_more

IEC Minutes read_more

NEBF Annual Notice read_more

North of 49°
Prime Minister's Visit Highlights Alberta's Plight read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
La visite du Premier Ministre souligne la situation de l'Alberta read_more






  Cover Photo

The Voices of an Icon:
Worker Stories from the
Golden Gate Bridge

"One day I heard they were going to start the Golden Gate Bridge, and I says well, I'll try it. I never been up 746 feet but I'll try it anyhow."

That's what IBEW member Fred Brusati told interviewer and historian Harvey Schwartz as part of an oral history project that is now a book by Schwartz titled "Building the Golden Gate Bridge: A Workers' Oral History."

Much has been written about the Golden Gate Bridge, but much less has been said of the men — women were nonexistent on the project — who toiled hundreds of feet in the air over the Pacific Ocean, dealing with massive fluctuations in weather conditions, as well as the dangers that came with construction in the 1930s — long before safety laws or OSHA. Now however, some of that record has been amended.

"Our brothers worked under perilous conditions to give us a beautiful structure that is still around today — that we still work on — and it is recognized the world over," said Ninth District Vice President John O'Rourke. "They deserve to have their voices heard."

Brusati, then 76, and others who worked on the bridge sat down for interviews as part of an oral history project by the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University. The interviews were conducted in 1987 and coincided with the 50th anniversary of the bridge's completion.

Readers will hear the voices of immigrants, laborers, boxers and cowboys, as well as two of the nurses who cared for them when they were injured. Schwartz ends the book with two interviews with people currently working on the bridge.

"He captured those people, the way they talk. It was like being at work," said San Francisco Local 6 member Allan Smorra, a retired Golden Gate Bridge employee. "Those are my people."

A Depression Era Project

Construction ran from 1933 to 1937, during the Great Depression when jobs were scarce. Without any state or federal funding, it would become the first suspension bridge built with a tower in the open ocean, said KQED, a public radio and television station, in a story for the 75th anniversary. At its time, it was also the longest suspension bridge in the world with a length of 4,200 feet. The price tag was estimated at $35 million. read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Stephenson: Manufacturing Excellence: A Top Priorityread_more
Chilia: A Clear Choice in November read_more

TransitionsArthur Korff read_more

PoliticsVirginia Lawmakers Seek to Enshrine Right-to-Work in State Constitution read_more

Organizing Wire Settlement Delivers Smackdown to ADT's
Anti-Worker Tactics in
South Carolina read_more

CircuitsIBEW Joins Siemens Dialogue, Looks to Neutrality;
Ohio Local Funds
Legacy of Education;
Third District RENEW
Sets Sights on November Elections read_more

Letters'A Brawler for All of Us';
Recognition at Last;
Right-to-Work Blues read_more

In MemoriamFebruary 2015 read_more

Who We AreThe IBEW's Innovative Solution to Flint's Water Crisis read_more


Change of Address