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August 2018

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William Daniels

Capping off a 42-year career, First District Vice President William Daniels retired on July 1.

"Bill is one of the hardest-working people I know, said Fredericton, New Brunswick, Local 37 Business Manager Ross Galbraith, who is also a member of the International Executive Council. "He takes his work very seriously, and it's always been for the benefit of the members."

A member of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Local 402, Daniels was initiated into the IBEW in 1977. The journeyman wireman was originally a member of Local 339, before inside members were granted their own charter in 1980. He served on Local 402's executive board from 1987 to 1990, when he was elected business manager. He also served as president of the IBEW Ontario Provincial Council of Business Managers and as chairman of the IBEW Canadian Caucus for the 2001 International Convention.

"I don't think it was Bill's aspiration to become business manager, but he stepped up to the plate when we needed him to. His predecessor had to step down for medical reasons," said Local 402 Business Manager Glen Drewes. "Bill helped 402 get through some lean years."

In December 2003, the Fort William, Ontario native was appointed international representative, servicing 13 construction locals in his home province. He served in that role until 2013 when he was appointed by then-International President Edwin D. Hill when First District International Vice President Philip Flemming died suddenly on May 25.

"Bill really showed his commitment then. He didn't have time to transition into the role, he had to hit the ground running," said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. "He really came through for the Brotherhood."

Drewes says that was Bill's way, especially being from northwestern Ontario, to not shy away from duty.

"It's his Northern way of doing business," Drewes said. "No job or assignment was too tough for him."

As vice president of the First District, Daniels was in the unique position of being vice president for all of Canada, a vast territory that reaches all the way to the Arctic Circle.

"He's vice president of an entire country, and it's one that takes six hours to fly across," Galbraith said. "Just speaking logistically, it can be taxing. And yet, he was always available if you needed to reach him."

Daniels always made sure to represent the Canadian experience, Galbraith said, which is a benefit to both sides of the border.

"We have a distinct perspective and it's one that brings value to the table," Galbraith said. "Bill was always good about creating an environment where everyone was heard, and the IBEW is stronger for it."

Part of that perspective has been on display during the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Daniels and others in the Canadian labor movement have been helping direct the course of the Liberal government's actions.

In September 2017, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demanded a rollback of right-to-work laws in the U.S. The laws, which allow workers to opt out of fees associated with union representation, have been shown to depress wages and weaken collective bargaining power. No such laws exist in Canada.

"We've been asked for input from the beginning," Daniels told the Electrical Worker last year. "After every round of negotiations, the Liberal government has made sure to update us on progress and to listen to our concerns."

Canada's membership numbers have grown during Daniels' tenure, Galbraith noted, and while that's attributable to a number of factors, Brother Daniels' dedication was definitely one of them. The IBEW currently more than 71,000 Canadian members.

"My time as vice president has had its challenges, but it's also been very rewarding," Daniels said. "Getting to work with the caliber of people who share the common interest of making life better for working people ensures that the rewards surpass the challenges."

Those people, and the relationships he's built, are what Daniels says he'll miss the most.

"The beauty of this job is the people you meet along the way," Daniels said. "Retirement won't tarnish those relationships."

Daniels' advice for his successor, Thomas Reid, is to take time for self-care.

"This job can take its toll," Daniels said. "You can't do a good job of representing others if you forget to look after yourself, so remember to take the time to appreciate the things you like to do and the family you cherish."

It's advice Daniels plans to apply to himself in retirement.

"I want to spend more time with my wife, children and grandchildren," Daniels said. "Unfortunately, doing this job means that you spend a lot of time away, which translates into your family making the very same sacrifices that you make."

Drewes says he suspects Daniels will also take up an old hobby, one that he's won recognition for: fishing.

"I'm sure Bill and his teammate [Local 402 retiree] Brother Randy Stecky will continue fishing all over Northwestern Ontario without worrying about Monday mornings," Drewes said. "All of us here at Local 402 wish him well in his future endeavors and we kindly ask him to leave some fish in the lakes for us."

On behalf of the members, officers and staff, we thank Brother Daniels for all his years of hard work and dedication and wish him and his family the very best in his retirement.


William Daniels

Thomas Reid

International President Lonnie R. Stephenson has appointed Thomas Reid as international vice president for the First District, which covers Canada's 10 provinces and three territories. The appointment, which was approved by the International Executive Council, fills the unexpired term of the retiring William Daniels, effective July 1.

"Tom has been a tremendous resource for our members in Canada for many years," Stephenson said. "Although Bill Daniels is leaving behind some huge shoes to fill, I'm confident that Tom is more than up to the task, and that electrical workers in the First District will benefit from his experience and wisdom."

Reid hails from Belleville, Ontario, "an area that doesn't traditionally go union," he said. In fact, when he started out working in the electrical trade, it was for a non union contractor.

But while Reid was in trade school, Kingston, Ontario, Local 115 organized the contractor, he said, and when he tried to return as a second-term apprentice, the local told him that he couldn't join the union unless he agreed to go through its own apprenticeship from the start.

Unprepared to abandon his training up to then and effectively start all over, Reid proceeded to get his journeyman ticket and to take on work wherever he could — although he found that, in many non union shops, pay often was based on seniority rather than on the work performed.

"Then, life happened," he said. "I got married, started a family — and started thinking about benefits. I knew I couldn't do that on my own." In the intervening time, Reid recalled, the IBEW had initiated some organizing changes that wound up making it easier for electricians in his situation to choose to join, and he was initiated into Local 115 shortly before his 24th birthday.

"When I joined, it was one of the proudest days of my life," he said, learning quickly that many of the negative stories he had heard about unions were false.

But Reid wasn't happy about some of the grumbling he heard from long-serving members. "They said, 'New guys are ruining the union,'" he recalled. "I knew that was wrong, and that the way to change that was for me to go in front of the room."

It didn't take him very long to become active in Local 115. In 1987, Reid became the local's recording secretary; three years later, he was elected to its executive board. During both stints, he served as the Belleville unit's chairman, and he was an active member of Local 115's organizing committee.

"Organizing is our life blood," he said. "There isn't any problem we can't solve when we organize."

In 1993, IBEW's Construction Council of Ontario, which represents approximately 16,000 members in 11 construction locals across the province, hired Reid to serve as an organizer.

"Eastern Ontario was my area," he said, "because I was centrally located in Belleville." He worked with three locals: Oshawa Local 894 (since amalgamated with Toronto Local 353), Ottawa Local 586, and his home local. His background, coming from non union contractors, proved useful time and again, as he was able to draw on his experience to help convince signatory contractors and electricians about the benefits of IBEW.

In 1998, then-International President J.J. Barry appointed Reid as an international representative to assist then-First District Vice President Donald Lounds and successors Phillip Flemming and William Daniels. In his new role, Reid focused his efforts on construction and industrial organizing.

There, Reid also represented IBEW on the General Presidents' Maintenance Committee for Canada/National Maintenance Council for Canada, an alliance of industrial maintenance building trades that negotiates and administers multi-trade agreements for maintenance work on industrial facilities.

"I think what we've done there is phenomenal," Reid said. "Maintenance work is good, steady work."

In 2013, Daniels asked Reid to come to the district's offices in Mississauga and work as his executive assistant, and the new vice president had nothing but good things to say about his predecessor.

"Bill's work ethic is really second to none," he said. "He is very committed and dedicated to the Brotherhood. He lives and breathes it; he's very loyal.

"You make a lot of acquaintances in this business, but very few true personal friends," Reid said, "and I consider Bill a true personal friend."

Reid is excited about the next step of his service to the First District. "As they say, 'A change is as good as a rest,'" he said. "It feels like a fitting progression for my career. It's part of what's so wonderful about the IBEW."

Also supporting Reid's appointment are his wife, Kathy, and his adult children — daughters Kate and Meagan, along with son Peter, an apprentice with Local 115.

Please join the officers, staff and membership in wishing Brother Reid success as he takes on this new leadership role.


Thomas Reid

Will Paul

Support Services Director Will Paul, who used the skills he learned while a Naval machinist as a springboard to an IBEW career, retired effective Aug. 1.

A native of Baltimore who was raised in suburban Timonium, Md., Paul knew little about organized labor while growing up. Neither of his parents were union members. After one year of college, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy, where he served for six years as a machinist, including a 4½-year stint aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The experience took him to 17 countries and changed his life, he said.

"It forces you to grow up and accept responsibility," said Paul, who was Petty Officer 1st Class at the time of his discharge in 1983. "It's also a good educational tool because you learn a trade. Getting out of the Navy, I was qualified to work at any nuclear power plant in the country."

He returned home to Baltimore but found the local utility wasn't hiring, so he took a job at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and became a member of Montpelier, Vt., Local 300.

After about a year there, he took the advice of some co-workers and got involved in the local union, where he served on the executive board, as chief steward and on several labor management committees and two negotiation committees, all while working as a licensed reactor operator.

"Good management knows the value of a partnership," Paul said. "When you were active in the union, the management [at Vermont Yankee, which closed in 2014] knew your value."

After 10 years at Vermont Yankee, Paul, his wife and three young children moved to the Washington, D.C., area after he was appointed to be an international representative in the Utility Department, focusing on nuclear and electricity generation and environmental issues.

In 2003, International President Edwin D. Hill asked him to become the director of the newly formed Support Services Department, which combined several areas in the International Office, including printing, filing, imaging and the mailroom. It is in charge of purchasing supplies and equipment for the I.O. and making them available to the district offices and local unions.

It wasn't easy for Paul to leave the Utility Department. His work there provided lasting memories, such as when he was part of a group of environmental experts that met in the White House with advisors to then-President Clinton. Paul also went door-to-door during organizing attempts at Baltimore Gas & Electric and traveled to Japan for three weeks in exchange program with the Japan Institute for Labor Policy.

But he was honored that Hill asked him to take on the added responsibility.

"When the international president asks, the answer is 'Yes sir,'" Paul said.

Paul and his staff were extensively involved in the setup and planning for three International Conventions. He also was in charge of the sale of IBEW merchandise and preventing outside entities from using the IBEW's copyright-protected logo without permission.

Throughout his tenure, Paul said he always tried to remember that he worked for the members, and that he had a responsibility to wisely use the portion of their dues sent to the International Office.

"We're all blessed with IBEW membership," he said.

Paul and his wife, Janet, plan to keep their home in Olney, Md., and make good use of a boat they recently purchased on Chesapeake Bay. He also plans to remain an avid volunteer in the community. Paul was active in several organizations throughout his career, including 20 years with the Olney Boys and Girls Club and nine years with the Boy Scouts.

The officers, staff and members thank Brother Paul for his service and wish him and his family a long, happy retirement.


Will Paul

Jim Ross

Jim Ross never expected to be a director, an international representative, a business manager or even, really, a union wireman.

No one in his family worked in the trades and there was, he said, an expectation that he would go to college. In high school in Parkersburg, W. Va., he worked summers and weekends for a friend of the family, a nonunion electrical contractor, to save up money for school.

But in his first year at West Virginia University, he discovered he was a pretty good electrician for a Biology-Chemistry double major. He was back home a year later, back with the contractor, and he was happy.

"I just love construction. You can't beat working with your hands. I like looking back and saying, 'I built this,'" Ross said.

While he loved the trade, and the boss treated him well he said there were no benefits, no vacation, no future.

His mother, Christine, worked at a union metal fabrication shop, Murray Metal. The message she brought home was that he needed to get down to the hall at Parkersburg Local 968 and put in an application.

It took three more years before he could leave the nonunion contractor in 1977. Ross never waited around for another job.

First it was the picnic committee. Within two years of topping out, he was appointed to the executive board.

"I don't know what they saw in me, but I never missed a meeting, and whenever they asked for a volunteer, I stood up and asked what the job was later," Ross said. "I have a sense of gratitude for all I have, and I enjoyed the trade."

In 1985, only eight years after topping out, he was president of the local. A decade after that, the executive board appointed him business manager.

"After so many years as president I understood the position and really, the question I asked wasn't why I should be business manager. It was more, 'If not me, who?' No one else had the experience," Ross said.

Local 968 wasn't big, boasting just 180 members when Ross took over, but it was active. No business manager ever ran unopposed and Ross ran four times, each one a fight — a fight he won.

"My proudest achievement is beginning the shift in mindset towards growing the membership," Ross said. "We were buying jobs, and that had to end."

After the fourth run, the man he succeeded at Local 968, Greg Gore, then a Fourth District international representative, made a recommendation. The Construction Department needed an experienced hand, someone who understood the National Maintenance Agreement and the General President's Project Maintenance Agreement, which Ross did.

"It was stressful, and when the opportunity presented itself, I thought it might be time," Ross said.

As an international representative Ross managed relationships with contractors, intervening to keep disagreements from turning into disputes. When International President Emeritus Edwin D. Hill needed someone to take over the Political Department, Ross again said "yes."

"I always remember the date: April 1, 2015," he said. "April Fool's Day."

Capitol Hill wasn't a world he ever felt comfortable in, he said. The way he had solved problems on the jobsite just didn't ever seem to apply to the world of politicians.

So, when the Construction Department needed a leader later that year, once again the Brotherhood asked, and Ross said "yes."

Now, after 41 years, there are no more jobs to do. Ross retired at the end of June to rewards that were impossible to see from that nonunion shop, earned from a career filled with achievements. He and his wife, Valerie, are moving to Colorado to be close to his family and the mountains he has always loved.

Retirement hasn't come clear in his mind yet after so long rising when needed, but he says he is confident he'll figure it out. His final message to his brothers and sisters who continue the fight is simple.

"The nonunion electrician isn't the enemy. I was one of them," he said. "We shouldn't take someone who knows nothing, but when 70 percent of the work is being done by the other guy, there are an awful lot of people out there who know more than nothing."

Please join the officers and staff of the IBEW in wishing Brother Ross a long, healthy and happy retirement.


Jim Ross

Ed Mings

International Representative Ed Mings has been appointed Director for Outside Construction Membership Development, effective June 1.

Mings will be the first to fill the new position created by International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.

"If we can't man a job, we lose the job. Our contractors won't even bid it. They don't even try," Mings said. "My job is simple: we need more people."

Mings has been the Outside international representative in the Construction Department for nine years. Before that, he was business manager of Rockford, Ill., Local 196, starting in 2001.

Mings joined the IBEW in 1976 as an assembler at Essex Wire and began his outside apprenticeship four years later. He worked with the tools for the next 16 years before he switched his card to Springfield Local 193, where he was appointed assistant business manager and brought on staff as an organizer.

Stephenson created the position, in part, because nonunion contractors have been growing rapidly, as have the ranks of nonunion linemen, especially in smaller jobs.

"You look at the outside work happening out there, and IBEW members are only doing 33 percent of it," Mings said. "We say we're the best at it — and we are — but at some point, we've got to admit we're not organizing hard enough if the other guy is doing twice the work."

Mings says he doesn't think any complicated organizing strategies are necessary.

"There is no reason to recreate the wheel. We can use the round one we've already got and have had since Henry Miller," he said.

The biggest challenge the IBEW faces is the absence of smaller contractors.

"If there is a line that is 200 miles plus, it is rare we don't get it," Mings said. "But 6, 8 or 20 miles, we're getting our butts kicked. We don't have enough people and very few contractors of that size, so we've got a chicken-and-egg-type problem."

Mings says he will be putting his travelers' boots back on after a few years working mainly out of the International Office. He says he will be targeting the pockets of the U.S. and Canada with missing employers and missing workers.

"We will still be stripping people. I love that. Basic organizing. It has worked since the beginning, but we also have to stand up 'mom-and-pop' shops that have a dozen people too," Mings said.

Stephenson said Mings is the perfect person for the new position.

"Unfortunately, union is an ugly word for too many linemen out there. Ed is a linemen to his bones. He understands them and our contractors better than anyone in this Brotherhood," Stephenson said. "We have 132 outside locals and every one just got a huge hand up getting bigger and stronger."

Please join the staff and officers in helping Brother Mings in his new position.


Ed Mings

Bennie Sandoval

Bennie Sandoval was attending a nonunion trade school in the mid 1970s when he told his instructor that some relatives were members of skilled construction unions.

He got some advice he didn't quite expect.

"I talked to him about my dad, and he told me to give [an IBEW apprenticeship] a try," said Sandoval, who retired as a Seventh District international representative on June. 1.

"It was very good advice. I was doing pretty well in the class, and he was a residential contractor. He said that to further your knowledge, you need to get into an apprenticeship. He was the one that ended up getting me into the JATC program."

It turned into quite a career.

Brother Sandoval was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and his family moved to Albuquerque, N.M., when he was 8. His father worked for defense contractor McDonnell Douglas and was a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Sandoval was married, had just turned 21 and was "working at the YMCA making $2.50 an hour," he said, when he began his apprenticeship in 1976 with Albuquerque Local 611. He topped out as a journeyman inside wireman four years later.

Sandoval served one term on Local 611's examining board, three terms on its executive board and three terms as treasurer. He also served on the negotiating committee, worked as an organizer and became active in New Mexico politics, all while continuing to work in the field.

"The camaraderie I had with my fellow workers and the sense of accomplishment I had at the end of the day, that was very special," Sandoval said.

In 2003, he joined the Seventh District staff as an organizer. It wasn't an easy adjustment at first. New Mexico is the only state in the district without a right-to-work law, and Sandoval had to adjust to organizing in states where organized labor had considerably less respect.

"Getting the locals to be functional in an area where there is very little union work going on and educating the members about what the IBEW can do for your benefits and working conditions was huge," he said. "It was really about finding the right people to grow the IBEW."

Sandoval was appointed a Seventh District international representative in 2008. One of his first assignments was serving Weslaco, Texas, Local 1015, a newly chartered local union in the Rio Grande Valley with little union presence. He helped hire and train staff and calls it the highlight of his career.

"Him and Tom Davis (another Seventh District organizer who recently retired), both of them taught me a lot of things," said Local 1015 Business Manager Sergio A. Salinas, who was hired as an organizer by Sandoval in July 2006. "They let me know that one person at a time will let us grow. Make sure we teach them the right way to do things so they know what the IBEW is all about and never, ever make false statements. That will not help anyone."

Salinas said Sandoval's being fluent in English and Spanish helped him connect with potential members, who have seen their wages double since Local 1015 was chartered.

"He brought so many positive things," Salinas said. "He always told me, 'Don't listen to the bad apples. Just keep doing what you're doing.'"

In retirement, Sandoval and his wife, Merlinda, plan to split their time between Albuquerque and a home in Chama, N.M. near the Colorado border. Paul Sandoval, Bennie's brother, works in the metering department for the Public Service Company of New Mexico and has served as a Local 611 steward and organizer.

"I was on the road for 14 and a half years," Sandoval said. "I just want to be home for now. Maybe in five or six months, I'll do some traveling, but I am in no hurry."

The IBEW officers and staff thank Brother Sandoval for his service and wish him a long and happy retirement.


Bennie Sandoval