February 2024

February Issue

IBEW Sisters Join Fellow Tradeswomen in D.C. for Celebration, Solidarity

Solidarity, strength and sisterhood were on full display as nearly 4,000 tradeswomen — including almost 400 IBEW members — descended on Washington, D.C., for the 13th annual Tradeswomen Build Nations conference.

Right-to-Work Ends in Michigan as IBEW-Backed Law Takes Effect

Unions and working families in Michigan celebrated Feb. 13 as the state’s repeal of its so-called right-to-work law went into effect.

Your Turn: Cast Your IBEW Photo Contest Vote Now

Your union asked, and once again you answered the call: Photos by the hundreds were submitted last year for the 2023 IBEW Photo Contest. You showed us your work sites in spaces dark and narrow to wide open. You gave us a glimpse of your union meetings, your parties and picnics, and even your pickets.

IBEW Wins Upgraded Pension Benefits for Members

The IBEW and its contractor partners have agreed on a historic package of retirement benefit improvements.

Local 6 Members Mark 80 Years of Cable Car Work

San Francisco’s world-renowned cable car system celebrated 150 years of service last summer. In 2024, members of Local 6 are marking their own milestone: For 80 years, the local’s electrical transit mechanics have maintained and repaired the system’s instantly recognizable wood-and-steel vehicles.

With First Contract Secure, PGA Freelancers See Good Days Ahead

The IBEW officially began its partnership with PGA Tour Entertainment just before Christmas, when employees and freelance technicians working for the company overwhelmingly approved a first contract.

Jackpot: IBEW Helps Make High-Speed Rail a Winner for Workers, Passengers

Japan’s bullet train turns 60 this year, Eurostar turns 30. For the past 15 years, China has been pouring billions into building the world’s largest high-speed rail network.

A Blueprint for Future Work: Local 595 Helps Build Carbon Capture Facility

It might sound like science fiction, but members of Dublin, Calif., Local 595 recently finished work on a facility where carbon dioxide, the key chemical compound driving the global climate change crisis, gets absorbed right out of the air.

January 2024

January Issue

Ohio Manufacturing Members Speak Up, Win Overtime Boost

Oxford, Ohio, Local 2287 Business Manager Pam Combs works alongside fellow members at a Schneider Electric plant in the southwestern Ohio city. She doesn't have to go far to hear their concerns — and she has had a few herself.

A Dynasty Returns Local 47 Members Reunite, Win Lineman's Rodeo

IBEW linemen Brian Wheeler and Toby Claude were part of a dynasty in the world of lineman's rodeo. They competed together on three-man teams that won the best-of-the-best division at the international competition three consecutive times, from 2009 to 2011.

'Now I Can Repay Her': President of Ambitious Texas Local Organizes His Mom

As the president of El Paso, Texas, Local 960, Rene Ortega has been ushering in a lot of changes. The union is more active in the community, and it even won a ballot initiative in 2022 that was crucial to its members. But the one thing he might be most proud of is organizing his mom.

After His Sudden Death, a Beloved Foreman Trainer’s Legacy Lives On

The IBEW’s Tenth District lost one of its most colorful and respected foreman trainers last January when Charlotte, N.C., Local 379 Assistant Manager Business Manager Edgar W. Brown died suddenly at 66.

IVP Cooper: Locals Could Learn From Recent Creative Organizing Win in Toledo

Toledo, Ohio, Local 245 recently organized the workers of a newly formed flagging company, and Fourth District International Vice President Gina Cooper is hoping that the way this win came about will spark creative organizing conversations throughout the IBEW.

IBEW-Led Training Center Tour Educates Ohio’s Solar Energy Leaders

Business managers from more than two dozen IBEW locals in Ohio joined officials from 20 solar companies, six nonprofits, the Port of Cleveland and the city of Columbus at Local 683’s Electrical Trades Center in September to help these renewable energy stakeholders get a better sense of how seriously the union takes its role in their success.

Indiana Wireman Is a Full-Time Foreman, Free-Time MMA Fighter

After working all day, many IBEW members look forward to going home, having dinner and relaxing. But not Laporte, Ind., Local 531 member Jonathon Appelman.

The Leather-Clad Solidarity of the IBEW’s Motorcycle Clubs

There are a lot of ways to foster solidarity in a union, and one of the most fun — and loudest — is with a motorcycle club.

December 2023

December Issue

One Size Does Not Fit All: How IBEW Sisters Are Pushing for Proper PPE

For a long time, Phoenix Local 640 member Xan Folmer just dealt with the risks associated with ill-fitting fall harnesses and other personal protective equipment.

‘We’re Going to Be Heard:’ Pro-Union NDP Takes Power in Manitoba

The IBEW in Canada celebrated when the New Democratic Party — a longtime advocate for the nation's working families — swept into power in the Manitoba provincial elections Oct. 3.

IBEW Members Win Big in Union Plus Contests

Teresa Baranowski was an excellent student and standout soccer player at Lake Central High School in northwest Indiana near Chicago.

IBEW Signs Billion-Dollar PLA for Southwest Clean Energy Transmission Line

The IBEW signed a project labor agreement Dec. 11 to build a $1.3 billion, 580-mile transmission line in New Mexico and Arizona.

In the IBEW, Every Season is a Season of Giving

For generous souls everywhere, the winter holidays are an extra-special time of giving. The brothers and sisters of the IBEW collect warm coats and clothes, run turkey and toy drives, stock food banks, prepare and serve hot meals, and make their communities festive and bright with magical lighting displays.

Oregon Wirewoman Makes History at Electrical Contest

Molly Muller's union brothers and sisters, training director, business manager, friends and family were thrilled and proud when she became the first woman to win the IBEW's Western States Electrical Contest.

November 2023

November Issue

Honoring Veterans with a Smooth Transition to the Brotherhood

Hector Carrillo has a path to prosperity, and it happened by accident.

No ‘Miracle’ Needed: N.Y. Electricians Ably Update Olympic Venue

When the aging site of the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y., needed modernizing, the officials who oversee the sports complex knew they could trust the IBEW’s electricians from Watertown Local 910.

Retired Illinois Member Receives Bronze Star for Service in Overlooked Vietnam War Unit

Edward Aldrich and the men he fought with in the 720th Military Police Battalion during the Vietnam War finally reached a point where they thought their service would never be recognized.

Fate of Pro-Worker Candidates on the Line as Election Day Nears

The clock is ticking down to major elections in Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky and Mississippi, along with a special congressional election in Rhode Island and thousands of city, county and school board races nationwide on the Nov. 7 ballot.

October 2023

October Issue

‘The Fans Are All Into It’: Local 1 Members Reflect on Pride, Challenges in Building Soccer Stadium

When a major new sports venue opens in the city of the IBEW’s birth, it’s a safe bet that St. Louis’ Local 1 performed the electrical work.

With Persistence and Love, St. Louis Members Step Up for Senior Dogs and Cats

Older pets without homes have a lot of cards stacked against them, but thanks to a few St. Louis Local 1 members, they have one more place to go and a better chance at finding a forever home.

Members With Hydro Ottawa Strike for Safer Working Conditions

The nearly 400 IBEW members who work for electrical utility Hydro Ottawa went on strike against their employer June 28 after the utility’s final contract offer ignored their concerns about safety on the job.

At the Center of a New Manufacturing Boom: The IBEW Nothing but Opportunity

America’s factory floors are busier than they’ve been in generations. Massive new plants are under construction. And more are on the way as manufacturers pour more than $500 billion into U.S. microchip production and clean energy technology.

September 2023

September Issue

At the Center of a New Manufacturing Boom: The IBEW Nothing but Opportunity

America’s factory floors are busier than they’ve been in generations. Massive new plants are under construction. And more are on the way as manufacturers pour more than $500 billion into U.S. microchip production and clean energy technology.

British Columbia Local Graduates First Indigenous-Specific Apprenticeship Class

When Wakenniosta Cooper graduated from her apprenticeship in August, she wasn't just part of the Electrical Joint Training Committee's first Indigenous-specific cohort. She was already a decorated tradeswoman, having won Apprentice of the Year in 2021.

IBEW Sisters Find Their Careers in Growing Manufacturing Sector

Kianni Vigeant had never considered a job in manufacturing before serendipitously landing in one. Dianna O'Brien only knew about the possibilities because of her mother. Yet both women have found successful careers in this growing segment of the American economy, reinvigorated thanks to new investment and an emphasis on "Buy American" by the Biden administration.

Unions Power the Economy, Says Treasury Report — and Most Americans Agree

The Biden administration has come out with new data supporting a long-held view: that unions are good for the middle class, and what’s good for the middle class is good for the American economy. And, according to new polling, most Americans agree.

‘I’m Not Leaving’: IBEW Members Step Up in Aftermath of Hawaii Wildfires

The wildfires that devastated Maui in early August were among the worst natural disasters in Hawaii’s history and were the deadliest fires in the U.S. in over a century. As always, IBEW members were there to help pick up the pieces, many of them on the job when they didn’t even know the fate of their own homes.

August 2023

August Issue

Workers Win, Low-Road Contractors Lose Under New Prevailing Wage Rules

The most sweeping updates to federal prevailing wage law in 40 years are now on the books, meaning more money in the pockets of IBEW members and other construction workers on federal projects.

Broadband Boom is Boon for IBEW

Membership in the IBEW’s Telecommunications Branch has significant growth potential during the coming years via the Biden administration’s $42 billion broadband expansion plan.

“Like The Stanley Cup Playoffs for the IBEW” After 58 Years, Hockey Tournament Remains Beacon of Brotherhood

Ottawa, Local 586 Business Manager John Bourke had a message for the coach of his local's hockey team when it finished in second at the IBEW's highest-level hockey tournament: Pretty good — but you can do better.

Panasonic Battery Plant Means Work for Busy Kansas City Local

Kansas City, Mo., Local 124 construction members already were busy with a number of major projects.

Robotics Is Way to Give Back, Thrive on the Job for Local 5 Apprentice

Jonathan Sherwin has spent much of his Pittsburgh Local 5 apprenticeship performing heavy industrial work, often in steel mills that frame western Pennsylvania history.

IBEW Couple on 4,000-Mile Ride to Fight Childhood Cancer

Memo to IBEW members: Be on the lookout for the Brotherhood's logo on a pair of bicyclists when out traveling this summer. The Scheids are back on the road, looking to raise money in the fight against childhood cancer.

July 2023

July Issue

‘Vote No and Vote Now’ Ohio IBEW Fighting to Defeat Anti-Worker, Anti-Democratic Ballot Issue 1

A minority of Ohio voters could wield majority power under an anti-democratic ballot measure that would make it nearly impossible to pass pro-worker referendums and other initiatives protecting Ohioans’ liberties and livelihoods.

Conn. Lighting Manufacturer Embraces Code of Excellence

Leadership at the specialized manufacturer Lighting Quotient recently — and enthusiastically — agreed to take their decades-long relationship with the IBEW and New Haven, Conn., Local 1040 to the next level by implementing the union’s Code of Excellence.

Line Clearance Tree Trimming Locals See Wage, Training Gains

Among the many challenging tasks that IBEW members perform every day, one of the most dangerous is the work that line clearance tree trimmers do to keep power lines obstruction-free.

Organizing Plan Ignites Growth at Newfoundland and Labrador Local

For years, Local 2330 was in a slump. Membership was declining at the local in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and there was little active organizing. But with a few changes, it's on a new path — and already adding signatory contractors and members.

Alliance for Retired Americans Helps IBEW Retirees Voice Their Power

Despite recent victories in Congress, such as legislation that protects multi-employer pensions, American retirees’ hard-won benefits remain politically precarious. That’s why the AFL-CIO’s Alliance for Retired Americans is on the watch.

A Test That Could Save Your Life

When Mike Finn, a retired journeyman from Portsmouth, N.H., Local 575, first found out about the Building Trades National Medical Screening Program, it didn't seem urgent. But eventually he signed up, and it may have saved his life.

Prevailing Wage Laws Work, Multistate Study Finds

Anti-union politicians have been targeting prevailing wage laws, one of the most effective tools for ensuring fair wages for public construction projects, for years, with six states repealing theirs in the past decade.

'Lead by Example': Oklahoma Members Help Feed Needy Kids

Oklahoma City Local 1141 members stepped up to volunteer at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in February, continuing a tradition of solidarity and goodwill in the community.

June 2023

June Issue

Powering Chicago: How Local 134 Connects With Overlooked Communities

IBEW local unions know they need to grow quickly with the massive surge in infrastructure projects across North America. Part of that means extending their reach to historically underrepresented groups in the electrical trade.

Heat Safety in Focus as States Seek Emergency Federal Standards

It’s no longer a question: Summer temperatures in the U.S. are rising, and the heat is clearly taking its toll.

‘We Never Stopped Applying Pressure’: Hard-Fought Success on Rail Sick Days

After months of negotiations, the IBEW’s Railroad members at four of the largest U.S. freight carriers finally have what they’ve long sought but that many working people take for granted: paid sick days.

'Unions Are Cool Again': Generation Z Finds Its Place in the IBEW

Young workers are entering a workforce that is still recovering from the pandemic while also dealing with high inflation and rampant income inequality. There is no shortage of economic anxiety.

Future Leaders: Apply for the Founders' Scholarship

Every year, the IBEW awards scholarships worth up to $24,000 to help cultivate a new generation of leadership in the union and the electrical industry.

Outsmart and Outlast How a Local Turned a Years-Long Fight into a Victory for All Canadian Workers

The law in Canada couldn't be any clearer: Workers have the right to form unions, and companies must negotiate with them when they do.

May 2023

May Issue

Locals' Outreach Programs Give Young Women a Glimpse of the Electrical Trade

There's more construction work than construction workers, and that means the race is on to recruit more people to the trades. Local unions across the IBEW are casting a wider net by welcoming historically underrepresented groups like women and people of color.

Long Organizing Push Pays Off for Fast‑Growing Arizona Local

Organizing is often described as a marathon. It takes time to build relationships and establish trust. For Phoenix Local 640, that long effort has come to fruition, and the local's rolls are swelling.

Winning the Battle Against Right-to-Work 'We're Not Stopping With Michigan'

When Michigan repealed its so-called right-to-work law in March, it wasn't just a huge victory for working families in that state. It was a shot across the bow.

Prime Minister Pledges Anti-Scab Legislation During Local 213 Visit

Justin Trudeau used a fitting backdrop to pledge support for one of Canadian labor's highest priorities.

Your Work, in Focus - 2022 Photo Contest Winners

For a quarter-century, The Electrical Worker has asked you to send in pictures that showing how we are all bound together, and then vote on your favorites.

Appreciation - Fred Ross Jr.: One of Labor's Great Organizers, One of Our Own

Fred Ross Jr. from Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245 was one of the most celebrated organizers of his generation.

After Coming to U.S., Local 26 Member Lives Her Dreams Through IBEW

IBEW membership is a powerful tool for improving one's life. Claudia Achury's story is proof.

‘Exciting’ Agreement Brings Fiber Jobs to IBEW Lineworkers at Alabama Power

IBEW utility lineworkers in Alabama will soon be running fiber-optic cabling for broadband internet, thanks to a recent agreement with Alabama Power. The pact stands to have far-reaching job-growth and training implications for IBEW utility workers across the U.S.

‘Huge’ Win for Code of Excellence: On-Clock Training at Raytheon Plant

More than 2,400 Raytheon Technologies missile and defense workers are getting on-the-clock training on the IBEW’s Code of Excellence program, thanks to a years-long effort by the leaders of Waltham, Mass., Local 1505 and representatives from the Second District office.

 

April 2023

April Issue

A BEAUTIFUL TEAM:’ N.Y. Members Battle the Elements to Build Boom That Protects Region’s Power

Every year in late November or early December, media outlets in and around Buffalo, N.Y., report on the installation of a huge ice boom at the head of the Niagara River. For good reason, too. Without the arch and the IBEW members who install it, the entire region could be in harm's way.

Mentorships Build Solidarity and a Stronger IBEW

Years ago, New York Local 3 member Lowely Cheung had a problem. She had to do some wiring and was under a strict deadline. She needed a 10-foot ladder and was told they didn't have any that day, so she should just use the shorter ladder, which she would have to stand on top of, risking her safety.

Biden Praises IBEW in Economic Address at Local 26

When fourth-year apprentice B. Travis Brown got the call from Washington, D.C., Local 26 to introduce the president of the United States for a major speech at the hall, he almost didn't pick up. He's glad he did.

March 2023

March Issue

Outsmart and Outlast How a Local Turned a Years-Long Fight into a Victory for All Canadian Workers

The law in Canada couldn't be any clearer: Workers have the right to form unions, and companies must negotiate with them when they do.

Michigan Repeals Right-to-Work, Restores Prevailing Wage in Historic Win for Working Families

Michigan became the first state to repeal a right-to-work law in nearly 60 years when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill on March 24 that was passed by the state’s House and Senate earlier in the month.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Race Offers Ray of Hope for State’s Working Families

The Wisconsin Supreme Court election is one of the most important political races in the United States this year, promising to have a big impact on union members and working families.

IBEW Joins Landmark Labor Deal to Help Build and Run High Speed Rail From L.A. to Vegas

The IBEW has joined a coalition of labor unions to sign an agreement to build and run what is billed as the first truly high-speed passenger rail line in the U.S.

IBEW Sister Shines as Ambassador for Pre-Apprenticeships at State of the Union

A budding electrician had the hottest ticket in D.C. as President Joe Biden delivered a sweeping State of the Union speech that reported on record-breaking job growth and other unparalleled progress for American workers.

IBEW Benefit Funds Get New Leader Focused on Growth

The IBEW’s benefit funds had a change in leadership March 1, but members can be forgiven if they missed it.

Boston Local Organizes Convention Center Workers

Workers at Boston's convention centers have been dealing with subpar pay and poor working conditions for years. So when they got the chance recently to join Local 103, a group long known for its experience and for going to the mat for its members, they were all in.

In Ontario, Electrified Ferry Offers Glimpse of Future Marine Work

The conversion of an airport ferry from biodiesel to electric power could help carry more marine-based work to the members of St. Catharines, Ontario, Local 303 and beyond.

Utility Group Presents Stephenson with Prestigious Honor

Former International President Lonnie R. Stephenson's career received a fitting epilogue when the Edison Electric Institute awarded him its rarely issued Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award.

Michigan Senate Votes to Repeal ‘Right to Work,’ Reinstate PLAs

The Michigan Senate took a big step toward restoring workers’ rights in the state on March 14, when it voted to repeal the state’s right-to-work law and restore project labor agreements on public projects.

Training Program for Foremen Helps Fill Education Gap

The job of a foreman may come with a bigger paycheck, but a key downside to the job has been that it hasn’t historically come with an instruction manual.

New Manufacturing Charter in Iowa Aims to Make Member Service Easier

In September, the IBEW welcomed Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Local 1974 as one of the union’s newest chartered locals, representing hundreds of workers making mission-critical military and GPS products equipment.

Alabama Power Members Build House With Habitat for Humanity

IBEW members who work for Alabama Power joined a team of more than 100 volunteers to build a Habitat for Humanity home, a project that was completed in just 10 days.

New England Members Upgrade Nuclear Station

It's been decades since the Seabrook Nuclear Generating Station went online, providing clean baseload energy to customers in New England. And thanks to the work of IBEW members who navigated a long, complex project, the plant now has decades more to go.

February 2023

February Issue 

'The Right Person for This Moment Introducing International President Kenneth W.Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper grew up in a house with no indoor plumbing in one of the poorest neighborhoods of a dying Rust Belt town and then joined one of the smallest construction locals in Ohio.

PGA Tour Entertainment Employees Choose IBEW, Long History of Excellence

The IBEW has had a strong relationship with its national broadcasting partners for decades. So, when PGA Tour Entertainment employees went looking for a union, they had a good idea where to turn.

Voting Now Open for IBEW Photo Contest

It’s that time of year. The nine finalists have been selected for the IBEW’s annual photo contest and, as usual, members have provided us with stunning images.

For the 31st Time, IBEW Technicians Responsible for Big Game’s Sites, Sounds

If it is Super Bowl Sunday, there’s a good chance IBEW members are playing a large role in the day. That will be the case again this year’s game, when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12.

January 2023

January Issue 

Detroit Tree Trimming Program Brings in New Workers, Garners International Attention

Detroit Local 17’s tree trimming program is one of only two Labor Department-certified apprenticeships in the country, and what makes it even more special is the relationship the local has with the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, Mich.

With IBEW Leading the Way, San Diego Voters Remove Ban on PLAs

San Diego voters on Nov. 8 approved Measure D, which overturned a ban on project labor agreements in the city.

Wins in Michigan Could Mean Farewell to State's Right-to-Work Law

The political adage "Elections have consequences" is going to be put on display in Michigan in ways that could benefit IBEW members and all working families, including a potential repeal of the state's so-called right-to-work law.

'Honored and Thrilled': IBEW Sisters Shine in Presidential Spotlight

The twinkle in President Joe Biden's eye and delight on his face said it all: Once again, an IBEW member had knocked his socks off.

Boston Local Swears In Its Most Diverse Apprentice Class Yet

When Boston Local 103 Business Manager Lou Antonellis swore in this year’s class of apprentices, he welcomed the most diverse class in the union’s history. And it wasn’t by accident.

Nebraska Local Helps Manufacturing Plant Get $70 Million Investment

Lincoln, Neb., Local 2366 members have been working at Schneider Electric for the past 50 years, but the coronavirus pandemic created an opportunity for the manufacturing plant’s workers to show just how essential they really are. And it helped spur a $70 million investment by the company.

Pennsylvania Locals Get Apprenticeship Funding

Two IBEW locals in Pennsylvania were awarded state funding exceeding $1 million for their apprenticeship programs.

IBEW Members Restore Power After Hurricane Fiona

IBEW members worked around the clock to restore power to Atlantic Canada after Hurricane Fiona battered the region in late September.

In Annual Showcase of Skills, IBEW Electricians Again Bring Home ‘Ideal’ Awards

IBEW apprentice and journeyman wiremen once again took several top honors at the annual Ideal National Championship, held Nov. 4-5 in Tampa, Fla.

Senate Confirms IBEW’s Klein to TVA Board

The U.S. Senate on Dec. 21 confirmed retired Tenth District International Vice President Robert Klein as one of six new directors on the governing board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, bringing a labor voice to the electrical utility serving nearly 10 million customers across a wide swath of the South.

$100 Billion Semiconductor Plant Is 'Erie Canal Moment' for IBEW, New York Economy

For two years, Syracuse, N.Y., Local 43 Business Manager Alan Marzullo was part of a small group working with state and civic leaders to convince Micron Technology to build a new semiconductor facility in their community..