The Electrical Worker online

July 2018

From the Officers
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Thank a Lineman

Every July 10, we celebrate Lineworker Appreciation Day. It's an opportunity to recognize the efforts of our brothers and sisters who often work under trying conditions. They're the people who go out after the storms and turn the power back on, hitting the road when everyone else is ducking for cover.

This past year has been especially devastating, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria tearing up the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, leaving millions of people without power — including some in Puerto Rico still going without.

In California, it was wildfires. Brothers and sisters lost their homes. It was like nothing I've seen before. But our lineworkers and gasworkers, as always, were the first to respond.

When others are told to stay inside and avoid the danger, our brothers and sisters put themselves right in the middle of it. When disaster strikes, they're on the front line.

Whether it was wading through feet of water in Houston, or traversing scorched earth in northern California, these brave souls were doing all they could to restore some normality by way of power.

And it's more than disasters. These energy professionals also install new streetlights in places like Detroit, making it safer to walk at night. They're at the forefront of the energy revolution, making the grid more reliable.

It's rare we go a day without using electricity. It's a hallmark of the times we live in. We measure our productivity and advancement by how connected we are. Part of our ability to do that is because of the hard work and dedication of our lineworkers.

We heat our homes in the winter, cool them in the summer and get online at all hours of the day. And it's thanks to our brothers and sisters working day and night at utilities across the U.S. and Canada.

With our friends at the Edison Electric Institute, we chose July 10, in part, to honor our founding father, Henry Miller. On that day in 1896, after organizing thousands of electricians across the country, he died when he fell from a pole while working in Washington, D.C. We've come a long way in terms of safety and technology since then, but as any lineworker will tell you, it's still a dangerous profession. They know full well the risks inherent in their work, and they do it anyway.

So, the next time you're charging your cell phone, making your morning coffee or watching your favorite television show, take a minute to recognize that it's all possible because some skilled women and men in our union are making it possible.


Also: Cooper: Federal Union Busting Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President