The Electrical Worker online
May 2023

My IBEW Story
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Paul Nuspl, journeyman wireman
St. Louis Local 1

"College never appealed to me. I enjoyed working with my hands and attended a technical high school. I was working for a supermarket after graduation when someone told me a contractor was looking for help.

I knew nothing about unions. I applied, then dropped everything I was doing and went to work.

Through that, I completed an apprenticeship with Carpenters Local 57. It wasn't the best training. I learned a lot more in high school. I was helping other apprentices more than the instructor did.

After eight years, I was starting to get burned out. The contractor was making me not want to be an electrician anymore. They made you fear for your job all the time and forced you to work overtime when you didn't want to.

It was then that I learned about Local 1 and talked with Business Representative John Kahrhoff. I knew right away that joining the IBEW would be very beneficial, but it still made me and my wife nervous. We have a house and three young children to support, and change is hard. But once we looked into the pension plan, we decided that for our future, the IBEW was the way to go.

I tested out of the Local 1 apprenticeship and went right to work. My wife was able to stop working and stay home with our kids. I have a good relationship with the contractor I work for. I am going to have more money contributed to my pension in the next two years than I would have in eight years with my previous job.

I now work with John and my Local 1 brothers and sisters explaining the power of IBEW membership to Carpenters members and nonunion electricians. I always go straight to that pension. Even with the older guys, I remind them that they are fully vested in Local 1's pension plan on their first day.

Joining the IBEW was one of the best decisions I've made. I encourage anyone to join me. You are part of a community that's more than work. It's family."