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July 2020

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Reno Local Transformed Parking Garage
Into Temporary Hospital

Across the United States, empty facilities have been converted into much-needed hospitals for patients suffering from COVID-19. In Reno, Nev., members of Local 401 performed that critical work in an especially unique place — a parking garage.

"It's like a feat of human ingenuity and effort," said Reno City Council Vice Mayor Devon Reese in a Facebook video when he toured the area. "When we put our minds together as a community … we can do anything."

The Mill Street parking garage, part of the Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, is now home to 1,400 beds on two floors that will serve overflow patients suffering from COVID-19. The location allows caregivers to remain on campus and still have accessibility to existing hospital infrastructure such as labs, pharmacy, imaging, food services and other critical services.

About 20 members worked on the project in two shifts, which began in early April, said Local 401 Business Manager Jacob Haas. It finished just 10 days later and increased Renown's ability to handle patient care by about 173%.

"It was basically a 24-hour project," Haas said, adding that the work isn't entirely unlike what members would do for a tradeshow or other temporary structure.

Members were given all necessary personal protective equipment, including masks purchased by the local, and got daily temperature checks, Haas said. They also practiced social distancing as much as possible and increased hand-washing.

"Our members are being really good and really safe throughout all this," Haas said.

Local 401 also had members working on conversion of a GM plant for ventilator production, featured on The project included travelers from Detroit Local 58, who worked 70-hour weeks alongside the locals over two shifts. Production was completed in early May.


Members of Reno, Nev., Local 401 provided the power to a temporary overflow hospital in a parking structure that's part of a local medical center.

IBEW Members Make Face Shields
to Help Fight COVID-19

With personal protective equipment in short supply, enterprising IBEW members have stepped up to make face shields and masks for health care workers with their personal 3D printers.

Trevor Harding, a member of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Local 1928; Daniel Ruckus, a member of Dover, N.H., Local 490; and Sammy Cozzo, a member of Chicago Local 134 all originally got their printers for personal use, for the fun of making things like Star Wars figurines and chip clips. But when the coronavirus hit, they realized they could use the devices for a greater purpose.

"I just wanted to help," Harding said. "PPE is such an important thing."

With N95 face masks still scarce, both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control suggest the use of face shields that cover the entire face when no masks are available.

Harding first started making the face shields at the end of February, printing the plastic headband and bottom portions and attaching them to a clear plastic shield with a fastening device, around the same time as Cozzo. Ruckus says he started around the end of March. All worked tirelessly at it for months.

"Normally I would be printing figures and toys," Ruckus said. "But this is important."

Cozzo made plastic face masks with an air filter as well as face shields, and has given them to nurses and nursing homes as well as less expected recipients like the Guatemalan Consulate and the National Guard. Some have even gone to people in other states.

"Some people were in tears telling us how grateful they were because they have a family member with cancer or asthma," Cozzo said.

Harding, a Prince Edward Island resident, has had a helping hand — his son, Rylan.

"It feels amazing to be able to help," said the meter reader for Maritime Electric. "And it's been wonderful to have my son doing this with me."

Cozzo has also had help, from his friend Carlos Salinas as well as other Chicago-area residents with 3D printers. In all, they had about 10 people working with about 40-50 machines.

"The feedback and support has been really great," Cozzo said. "It's definitely not just me."

Harding first shipped his face shields to the U.S., though he has since switched to making the equipment for health care workers in his home area and for Nova Scotia Power. After that, he planned to ship some to Ontario and more to the U.S. In May, he said they'd printed about 350 so far.

"It is a lot of work, but it's such a great learning experience for my son," Harding said.

Ruckus says he can produce about one mask every three hours and has given them to various frontline workers and hospitals in the Granite State and around New England.

"Dan has really gone the extra mile," said Local 490 Business Manager Denis Beaudoin Sr.

Cozzo says he and his team had printed over 3,000 masks and close to 2,000 shields by May. Some were even customized.

"Brother Cozzo has really stepped up to the plate. He and his volunteers have done a tremendous amount of work and all for the safety of the community," said Local 134 Business Manager Don Finn. "Brothers and sisters, this is what organized labor is all about. We not only take care of our own but more importantly, we make communities better."

The three members are all donating their masks.


IBEW members have been spending their spare time 3D-printing face shields to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Local 1928 member Trevor Harding, right, and his son, Rylan.

New Mexico Local Powers Overflow Hospitals for Coronavirus Patients

Members of Albuquerque, N.M., Local 611, with help from a handful of travelers, completed work on two hospitals to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in the Southwest.

"I am extremely proud of our Local 611 members and travelers, whose skill set and determination are vital to our state during this pandemic," said Business Manager Carl Condit. "Our members have worked around the clock to ensure we have adequate and dependable health care facilities, operated and maintained our power generation and transmission capability and are diligently providing critical support to our national security mission."

About 16 members worked to rehabilitate the old Lovelace hospital at the Gibson Medical Center in Albuquerque into a 200-room facility covering about 75,000 square feet. The project ran from April 3 to April 18 with three crews working 24 hours a day. The facility includes 20 rooms to accommodate severely ill patients and 180 rooms for "non-acute infectious" patients.

Members also worked to repurpose a gymnasium in Chinle, Ariz., part of the Navajo Nation. The project included bringing in a temporary generator and automatic transfer switch to the 35-bed facility. Work began around April 20 and finished in early May.

"These have been two of the most successful projects in terms of morale and production because of what's at stake," said Clinton Beall, senior vice president of signatory contractor B&D Industries. "We had people asking to work on these projects because of their importance, especially on the Navajo Nation."

The Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico, has the highest per capita rate of infections in the U.S. At the beginning of June, there had been more fatalities than 13 states, in part due to a lack of hospital infrastructure.

Members on both projects received daily temperature checks and were given full face masks and gloves, as well as normal personal protective equipment, Beall said.

"Everyone did a really good job of staying safe, including distancing," Beall said.

Both projects were done with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Gibson project was estimated to cost around $500,000.


Members of Albuquerque, N.M., Local 611 worked on two alternative care hospitals to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, including one in Chinle, Ariz., pictured, on the Navajo Nation.

Member's First-Ever Solo Marathon
Raises Money, Inspires Community

Josh Horan had never in his life run anything close to a marathon. But the physically active Windsor, Ontario, Local 773 member felt so compelled to do something to fight the worldwide spread of COVID-19 that he recently challenged himself to train in only three weeks for a long-distance solo run, and to turn the effort into a fundraiser to help buy personal protective equipment for health care providers.

"I was joking with my wife one day while we were taking a walk in our neighborhood, and I suddenly had the feeling like I could just run to the Ambassador Bridge," Horan said. The privately owned international connection between Windsor and Detroit is about 20 miles away from Horan's home in Belle River, just a few miles shy of a marathon's 26.2 miles. "The most I'd ever run was maybe a mile or mile-and-a-half," he said.

Horan is a Red Seal-certified electrician who likes to stay busy professionally as well as personally. His résumé includes a range of residential and commercial projects, and before COVID-19, he was even helping to revitalize Local 773's political action efforts.

But a lot of job opportunities for IBEW members, Horan included, have stalled during the novel coronavirus pandemic. He's tried to remain physically fit in his down time by working out and running. He also goes on regular, local walks with his wife, Jessica.

After that one inspirational stroll near the two-lane bridge over the Belle River where it empties into Lake St. Clair, Horan sat down and planned out what became the "Bridge to Bridge" run. He set a GoFundMe goal to raise at least CA$10,000 to buy protective masks, gloves and other supplies for the Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation. And he marked May 1 as the run's date, three ambitious weeks away.

A triathlete friend helped Horan develop a training plan, and the electrician managed to get in eight miles on one of his last training sprints before Run Day. "I learned a lot about running — about form, training and discipline," he said.

As ready as he ever would be, at 9 o'clock that Friday morning Horan set out west from Belle River and toward the Detroit skyline, one of his favorite sights. His route to Windsor kept him on sidewalks and less-traveled roadways along the Lake St. Clair and Detroit River shorelines.

He ran non-stop for the first half of the course before switching to intervals of running and walking, keeping safely socially distant from pedestrians along the way so he could run without wearing a mask and breathe more freely. "The weather cooperated," he said. "It was a beautiful day. I couldn't have asked for better."

A fellow Local 773 member, Glenn Marshall, drove a support vehicle bearing an IBEW banner and magnet, while other friends and family members provided encouragement along the course, along with water and energy-boosting snacks.

Inspired by Horan's effort, Marshall's hockey-enthusiast 14-year-old son, Jayden, raised money for the cause by practicing his shooting and stick-handling skills in the family's driveway while the electrician ran.

A fellow Ontarian whose wife works in health care heard about Horan's run and decided to support the IBEW member by running the route from the opposite direction. "We crossed paths somewhere around the halfway point and exchanged a mutual peace sign," Horan said.

Horan had estimated it would take him five hours to reach the Ambassador Bridge, but he only needed four. "I surprised myself," he said. "It went off without a hitch." Friends and family were waiting for him at the finish line, watching as he reached through a fence to physically touch one of the span's support columns.

Since then, several other people have also made the Bridge to Bridge fundraising run, with some even turning around and running back to Belle River. "I'm happy to see that the positivity is contagious and the support from strangers that I now consider friends," he said.

Horan would like to see the event become an annual fundraiser for issues such as mental health or homelessness. "It was never about one person," he said. "It's been about our community, since Day 1. It's great to see the community pull together."


Windsor, Ontario, Local 773's Josh Horan recently challenged himself to run a near-marathon distance — something he had never done before — to raise money for a local hospital foundation.

Chicago Member Snaps Pics of Blue Angels Flyover

When Joseph Glynn saw that the Blue Angels flight path over Chicago would go over his union hall, he made sure to grab his camera before he went out to catch the show dedicated to honoring essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I just thought it would be cool," said the Local 134 member and amateur photographer of the show that took place on May 11. "When I saw the jets coming, I ran out and took about six or seven shots."

He captured the impressive skills of the U.S. Navy pilots flying in close formation framed by the Local 134 sign on one side and the American flag on the other. In one of the shots, the sign's digital scroll is displaying, "Thank You" with a heart.

Messages on the sign have been interspersing words of thanks to essential workers and other coronavirus-related information along with the more typical union messages. Included on the rolling scroll are "Clean Hands Save Lives," "Thank You Front-line Workers," "Proud Union Home," and "All in Illinois."

"We want to thank our first responders, doctors and nurses, but just as importantly our IBEW Local 134 members and the entire union construction industry who have been frontline essential workers since this pandemic erupted," said Business Manager Don Finn. "We continually demonstrate why we are the best of the best."

Local 134 members are working in hospitals across the city and helped power an alternative care facility at the McCormick Place Convention Center.

Members and union staff have also lent a hand to retirees by offering care packages of non-perishable foods and toiletries. The local has also delivered masks and gloves to retirees and members on jobsites.


Chicago Local 134 member Joseph Glynn snapped a shot of the Blue Angels flying over the local's hall on May 11.