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July 2020

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Editor's note:
Local 3 journeyman wireman Alex Alcantara wrote the following letter to the editor in April while helping construct an overflow ward for COVID-19 patients. A version of it was published in the New York Daily News. Send your own letters about the important work you and your IBEW sisters and brothers are doing during the COVID-19 crisis to your local newspapers. It's a great way to share your IBEW pride in your communities.

On the Front Lines

I splice another wire on a cold Monday morning outside Coney Island Hospital, the overflow tent. One ambulance after another pulls up. Young men and women medics risking their lives to save someone else's. I've been here four days. I've seen some of them multiple times. I wave at them to show respect, they wave back, showing me love.

It makes me think how many unsung heroes are showing up for work every day, making sure that we all can survive at home. We know what an unbelievable job the nurses and doctors are doing. But what about the porters keeping the hospitals sanitized? Or the engineers, electricians, carpenters and laborers keeping the hospitals running? Or the truck drivers delivering masks and essential supplies to protect hospital workers so they can keep saving lives? What about the sacrifices that security guards, police officers and firefighters are making to protect us?

In the building trades, we are always on the front lines, and proud to be there. I worked on the pile the first five days of 9/11, doing everything I could to save even one life. I wasn't able to. I think about that every day. Now, bringing power and light to this makeshift hospital, I'm honored to be doing my part to try to help save thousands of lives.

All of us at IBEW Local 3 are proud to help our city and state pull through this crisis. Our union teaches us that we don't work just for ourselves. We don't work just for a paycheck. We are here to serve.

So next time you see that electrician or plumber, carpenter, laborer, tin knocker, pipefitter, sanitation worker, police officer, firefighter, EMT — anyone out there on the front lines — give them a wave. No words are necessary.

Alex "Archie" Alcantara, Local 3 member
New York

Giving Back

Thank you for the May issue of The Electrical Worker. The article on the Local 3 guys in Angola was very touching. On page 5 there is a picture of Lou Alvarez with a young patient. Next to that is the advertisement for our photo contest. Your 1st place winner should be that picture of Mr. Alvarez. It reflects who we are and what we do.

Richard Hetherington, Local 164 retiree