April 2020
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Also In This Issue Social Security
Under Attack

Proposal Threatens Disability Benefits read_more

Mustaches and Dodgeball
Toronto Tourney
Promotes Men's Health read_more

Sweet Success
Portland Members Negotiate Big Raises
at Nabisco read_more

North of 49°
Globetrotting Halifax Members Maintain Royal Navy's Fleet read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Les membres d'Halifax voyagent le monde pour réparer la flotte de la Marine royale read_more

NEBF 2020 read_more

IEC Minutes
August 2019 read_more

My IBEW Story Emma Basmayor read_more







Cover Photo

A century ago in Detroit, IBEW Local 58 members were locked in a bitter dispute with employers who wanted to slash workers' pay from $1.25 an hour to $1 an hour.

That's a 20% pay cut, and few would have blamed these IBEW members for authorizing a strike to protest the move. But they didn't strike.

That's because in 1920, the union's relationship with electrical contractors had undergone a dramatic transformation. That was the year the IBEW partnered with electrical contractors to create the Council on Industrial Relations for the Electrical Contracting Industry.

"It makes sense if you've never heard of the CIR," said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. "Strikes make headlines; good labor-management relationships usually don't. But make no mistake: The Council on Industrial Relations really is one of the most important construction industry organizations out there."

And for the last 100 years, this unique labor-management organization has helped the IBEW's construction and maintenance members in the United States to peacefully avoid strikes by having their cases considered — and arbitrated — by a group of their electrical industry peers.

"The CIR is a good indication of where we've been, and it gives us a good look at where we need to go and what needs to be looked at over time," said National Electrical Contractors Association CEO David Long. "It gives us a very clear indicator of industry issues, especially things that aren't being resolved on a consistent basis."

A Vision for Labor Peace

Labor unions in the U.S. had gained significant power by World War I's end in 1918, often resorting to strikes to fight things like low pay and unsafe working conditions. But not everyone was thrilled with the amount of influence working people wielded, and builders increasingly began to turn to nonunion — and non-striking — electrical workers. This slow shift started driving down wages and prices just as demand for quality electrical work was reaching record heights.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and similar associations, meanwhile, were concocting the "open shop" concept, lobbying lawmakers to allow union members to work side-by-side with workers who weren't paying dues. Their goal was to gut unions' power through gradual financial starvation, a strategy later rebranded as the so-called right-to-work. read_more

  Local Lines Get Adobe Flash player

Officers Column Stephenson:
An Organizing Call to Arms read_more
The PRO Act and
Our Future read_more

TransitionsEd Mings;
James Foreman;
Victor K. Uno read_more

PoliticsThe Trump Administration Opens Door to Silencing Federal Workers;
NLRB Cracks Down on Union Symbols at Work;
NLRB Threatens Oregon Law Protecting Workers from Union-Bashing Captive Audience Meetings read_more

CircuitsLocal 3 Sculpture Celebrating Workers Selected for Public Art Competition;
Recruitment Records Fall in Right-to-Work Alabama read_more

SafetyA Safer Workplace: New Jersey Utility Members Collaborate to Innovate read_more

LettersThe Importance of
Important Safety Advice read_more

In MemoriamJanuary 2020 read_more
February 2020 read_more

Who We AreDoing Things
the Hard Way read_more


Change of Address