The Electrical Worker online
May 2017

From the Officers
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See You on the Next Big One

I have lived the American dream and luck had nothing to do with it.

I joined a union in 1967 — a kid out of high school — and every opportunity I've had came from that.

The IBEW fought for my job. It fought for my training, my healthcare, my pension, and it protected my back.

And here's some good news: it does the same for you. If you are reading this, you are living the American dream too.

As you all know by now, after half a century in the IBEW, I'm leaving this job. But I'm not leaving the Brotherhood.

I want to say everything in this small space I have here. I want to thank all the officers, current and past, who built this institution and keep it thriving. I want to thank the members of the IBEW, starting with the men and women from my home at Cleveland Local 38, in the Fourth District and the entire membership in the U.S. and Canada for their continual support to help me do the jobs I was asked to do.

I also want to express my thanks to International President Lonnie R. Stephenson and International President Emeritus Edwin D. Hill for their dedication as leaders, but also, personally, for their friendship.

I also want to thank President Stephenson and the International Executive Council for appointing International Secretary-Treasurer Kenneth W. Cooper. I know what it takes to bear responsibility for the economic health and future of the Brotherhood and the pension and the health care funds our members and retirees depend on. I am confident he has the skills to do this job well.

I'm moving on to the next part of life in the IBEW, but I am not leaving. I am going back home to Cleveland to do the most important thing any union member can do: I am going to show up at my local meetings, just like everyone should. I'll do my part in local and state politics, fighting for the little guy. Just like everyone should.

Back when work slowed down at home, I went out on the road like a lot of people did and do. There would be wiremen from all over the country sometimes and we'd make friendships that lasted on those not very long jobs. Because they always wound down and all of us travelers would eventually get ready to go home.

Instead of goodbye, we'd always say, "See you on the next big one." The job is finished, but the friendship goes on. That's how I feel now and that's how I'll leave it.

See you on the next big one.


Also: Stephenson: The IBEW's Giving Spirit Read Stephenson's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer