Manufacturing Member Makes Tapestry of Solidarity


February 18, 2014


At any gathering of union members, you can always count on one thing: T-shirts. Bearing the union’s colors and announcing--often quite loudly and creatively –their cities or towns, T-shirts help members express their pride.


Last year, some sisters in Lincoln, Neb., Local 2366 decided to build a savings account to help out fellow members who were off work on extended medical leaves.  So they put T-shirts and union pride to work as a fundraising device. 

Teresa Ekstein, a 41-year local member who was employed  by  electrical appliance manufacturer Square D and now works for its successor , Schneider Electric, volunteered to make a quilt out of T-shirts from the 11th District.

The quilt was raffled off at the district’s 2013 progress meeting--with all proceeds going to IBEW Local 2366’s Union Angels.

After he saw pictures of the quilt, IBEW Manufacturing Department Director Randy Middleton got in touch with Eckstein and asked if she would put her sewing skills to work to make a quilt and two pillows for a raffle at the next Broadcasting, Manufacturing and Telecommunications Conference to be held at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut in April.

Middleton sent out a request to 101 local unions to send T-shirts for the quilt to Washington.  He received 68. Then Eckstein went to work.

 One hundred and fifty hours later, Eckstein’s work was done with a giant quilt and two log pillows. “Teresa did a great job,” Middleton says.

 “Our manufacturing branch, like every union’s,  has taken some big hits over the past few decades,” Middleton says. “But the beautiful quilt and pillows show that we still have tens of thousands of members who manufacture and assemble high-quality goods throughout the U.S.”

 Proceeds of the raffle at Foxwoods will go to a local charity.