May 2020
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Also In This Issue IRAP Victory
Trump Administration
Backs Off Plan to Gut Apprenticeships read_more

A Home of Their Own
Louisville's Pro Soccer Team Gets Stadium with an IBEW Assist read_more

Blocking IRAPs
in Oregon

North of 49°
Charitable Donations Mark the CFL's Closure read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Des dons de bienfaisance confirment la fermeture
du FCT read_more

IEC Minutes
December 2019 read_more

My IBEW Story Pauline Lutton read_more





Change of Address


Cover Photo

Brotherhood Across Borders
Angola Hospital Mission Bonds IBEW, Italian Electrical Workers

After two weeks in the dusty, southwest corner of Angola helping to electrify a remote maternity hospital, Alex Alcantara was full of emotion as his "unbelievable trip" came to an end.

"I missed my family to death, but I miss those people I had the honor of serving in Angola as well," the New York Local 3 journeyman wireman said on social media, where he'd been posting videos every couple of days.

"I can't get that out of my head and my heart," he wrote, all caps. "I have way too much. Material things don't matter any longer. Humanity, friendship, love, health… that's my goal for a better world for all."

Alcantara, who goes by "Archie," traveled to Angola with fellow Local 3 journeyman Lou Alvarez last summer to work with Italian electricians on a solar array to power Chiulo Hospital, the only medical facility of its kind for hundreds of kilometers.

"We have a skill set that many people don't have. We can give somebody a resource that they can't afford," Alvarez said. "To me, that's fulfillment. It's not just about earning a living. It's about what we can give back."

That spirit imbues Electrical Workers Without Borders North America, an IBEW-supported nonprofit that sponsored the journey to sub-Saharan Africa.

The organization is one of the legacies of the late, visionary International President Edwin D. Hill, who lived and breathed the words of the union's century-old declaration, "Our cause is the cause of human justice, human rights, human security."

A devout Catholic and proud trade unionist, Hill dreamed of EWWBNA as a way to serve those principles, said Don Siegel, the group's president and Hill's decades-long friend.

"He saw this as a way to fulfill both missions," said Siegel, who retired as Third District international vice president in 2017. "He knew that when he retired he would need something to do. He had so many plans. Ed envisioned this becoming a worldwide organization — tied to the IBEW, but with an arm's-length relationship — that would spread the message of the IBEW and build our reputation throughout the world."

PREGNANT women show up at the walled Chiulo compound well before their due date, some walking a hundred or more hot, arid miles to give birth assisted by doctors and nurses. It is their best hope in a country with one of the world's highest infant mortality rates.

"Sometimes they come with their own mothers to give them a hand, sometimes with two or three children," Alvarez said. "They walk, with big bellies, from miles and miles away just to get to the waiting area."

A small house provides shelter for some women. But many others pass time on benches during the day and sleep in tents on the compound's primitive grounds. "When they go into labor, that's when the hospital opens the door," he said.

Local 3 Business Manager Chris Erkison tapped Alvarez to head the mission, just as he'd trusted him to lead past hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Alvarez brought Brazilian-born Alcantara on board, knowing his fluency in Portuguese, Angola's colonial language, would be invaluable. He filled out the team with journeymen Everest Campbell and William Bonaparte, who arrived mid-month to help finish the project as their Local 3 brothers headed home. read_more

  Local Lines Get Adobe Flash player

Officers Column Stephenson & Cooper: Solidarity Amid Crisis read_more

TransitionsJerry Westerholm;
Mike Emig;
Douglas E. Wiegand read_more

PoliticsTrump Slashes Navy Ship Orders, Threatens to
Cancel Shipyard CBAs;
IBEW Member Wins
Maine House Seat;
IBEW MP Paves Way
for Canada's Ratification
How Prevailing Wage
Boosts Homeownership read_more

Organizing WireVEEP Graduates Get a
New Brotherhood read_more

CircuitsJourneyman Uses
Life Story in Appeal
to U.S. House Panel;
Oregon Locals Provide
New Pregnancy Benefits
for Members;
Ohio Locals Honored
by LAMPAC for Job‑Protecting Efforts;
IBEW Visit Proves Eye‑Opening for Ohio Students read_more

Letters"Letters" will return in next month's issue.

We Want to Hear From You: Send your letters to or
Letters to the Editor,
The Electrical Worker,
900 Seventh Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20001.

In MemoriamMarch 2020 read_more

Who We AreTennessee Utility Members
Honored After Pulling Woman from Raging Flood Waters read_more