The Electrical Worker online
April 2020

Letters to the Editor
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The Importance of Pre-Apprenticeships

Thank you for your terrific article and photographs about impressive efforts in Boston, Detroit, Vancouver, Florida and elsewhere to widen apprenticeship access for women and other underrepresented groups. It was helpful to read how different programs addressed problems that emerged, like math preparation, childcare and properly-fitting safety equipment. As they go through their IBEW apprenticeships, I hope the Electrical Worker will continue to follow and share the changes our training programs implement to "level the playing field" and ensure these qualified and enthusiastic new members can achieve successful careers. Thanks to Farid Poursoltani [of Vancouver Local 213] for pointing out the challenge and importance that we all "be better allies." In these divisive times, this is leadership about solidarity that the IBEW can offer not only to other building trades but to the country.

Susan Eisenberg, Local 103 retiree

Important Safety Advice

As I approach my 78th year, I often reflect on my working years as an IBEW wireman. One particular incident in the very first year of my apprenticeship stands out above all others. At that time, I'd had but a few school training classes. I was very fortunate to be taught in one of those early sessions something that I believe saved my life: Never stand directly in front of a disconnect you are energizing.

At a steel mill under construction, I was assigned to partner with a journeyman who was given a welding project. The welder at the project location had no power, so I was told to "go turn it on." I tracked the power cable some distance to a temporary disconnect that was indeed "off." Thankfully, I remembered my lesson. I stepped clear to the right of the disconnect and engaged with my left hand. I woke up a few minutes later on my back a solid 15 feet from where I'd been standing with the disconnect cover on the floor beside my head. I suffered only a small scratch, but I have no memory of the blast.

I am a very proud IBEW member and very thankful. Thanks for letting me share my story so others can learn from it. Always work safe.

John Rice Jr., Local 309 retiree
Collinsville, Ill.