May 2019
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Also In This Issue Members Power Parliament
The West Block’s
IBEW Renovation read_more

The Power of Politics
Workers Making Inroads in State Governments read_more

A Moving Tribute
IBEW Leaders Honor America’s Fallen read_more

North of 49°
New Program Aims to
Help Trades Recruit
More Women read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Nouveau programme qui vise à aider les métiers pour recruter plus de femmes read_more

IEC Minutes
December 2018 read_more








Cover Photo

America's Underground Crisis:
Aging Infrastructure Brings Opportunity for Gas Workers

Beneath nearly every American city, a crisis is unfolding. While talk of America's crumbling infrastructure focuses on bridges and roads, ports and airports, below ground the aging pipe networks that carry natural gas to homes and businesses grow more dangerous by the day.

For decades, labor unions, public safety advocates and environmentalists fought to increase funding to quickly replace the oldest, most vulnerable pipes with little success. The Department of Energy released calls to action. Public service and utility commissions would approve funding to repair damage and hook up new customers, but most of the U.S. iron and unprotected steel distribution mains — some a century old — were only slowly replaced.

Then, in late summer 2010, an explosion ripped apart a neighborhood in San Bruno, Calif., just south of San Francisco. A weld on a 30-inch steel pipe ruptured and exploded, sending a thousand-foot fireball into the night sky. The pipe had been installed more than a half-century earlier.

Tragedy followed a year later in Allentown, Pa. — five dead, three injured. The cause: a 12-inch main installed in 1928. In 2014, a gas main break in East Harlem, N.Y., leveled half a city block, killed eight and injured 48. The gas main had been installed in 1887.

The tragedies focused attention on the potential catastrophe beneath many American cities and state after state, with the help of the Obama-era Department of Energy, began to fund multi-billion-dollar programs to accelerate replacement and increase hiring.

In many parts of the country where the IBEW represents gas workers, the result has been increased hiring and overtime for some of the best paid blue-collar jobs in the nation.

"We fought to get this funding and now we are seeing the benefit, for our customers and for our members," said Utility Department International Representative Chris Harris. "Good jobs, better safety. Everybody wins."

The Problem

Nearly half of America's existing natural gas infrastructure was built before 1960 and cast and wrought iron pipes were used extensively in those years. Wrought and cast iron are brittle and reactive. Like older plastics, they can crack and break from frost heaves or other ground movement. read_more

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Officers Column Stephenson:
You're Our Best Organizer read_more
Why We Can't Ignore
Politics read_more

TransitionsRobert Prunn read_more

Politics‘Skills Need to Change’
for Energy Workers, IBEW Tells Lawmakers;
Trump Budget Takes Aim — Again — at Federal Workers;
Trump Administration Issues Weakened Overtime Rule read_more

Organizing WireToledo Local Looks to Recruit from New Communities read_more

CircuitsLocals That Battled
Energy Deregulation
Scheme Share First-Ever Edwin D. Hill Award;
Fastest Growing Jobs
in the U.S. Look Good
for the IBEW read_more

LettersHoover Memories;
Tribute to an IBEW Artist;
Excited for RENEW/NextGen;
Praise for Prevailing Wage read_more

Who We AreLocal 1212 Legend Mentors Young Members after Stellar CBS Career read_more


Change of Address