The hectic life of an IBEW business manager offers few
reprieves and little free time.
But for Eric Patrick, leader of Rockford, Ill., Local 196,
such hard work was rewarded earlier this year when the Union
Sportsmen’s Alliance invited him to coastal Louisiana for
a fishing expedition.
In the surge of goodwill that accompanies the holiday
season, IBEW locals across the U.S. apply their skills to light
displays and community celebrations, winning praise in the
media and respect from hundreds of thousands of neighbors for
whom a visit to the displays is often a yearly custom.
The fate of a proposed $7.7 billion liquefied natural gas
export facility in Oregon will likely be decided in the next
few weeks and members of the IBEW are lobbying for the
When workers vote “union yes,” it’s often
a hard-won victory. But tougher still can be the path to a
first contract, where the skills of newly-minted activists are
put to the test against the possibility of continued company
resistance and difficult negotiations.
Bridging differences between members is often difficult
enough for local unions. Deciding how apprenticeships will be
filled can sometimes be a point of controversy.
Unions representing more than 1 million federal workers in
Canada – including the IBEW – are coming together
to take on anti-worker legislation that threatens collective
bargaining rights and on-the-job safety
Longtime members of N.Y. Local 1212 who perform all video,
editing and broadcasting at the U.N. were deeply worried.
A record 67.5 million women are working today, but many
women suffer from low-pay and a gender-based wage gap that
makes it hard to get by.
Math isn’t just important for balancing checkbooks and
passing tests. It’s vital to a career in the electrical
Stan Osnowitz, an unemployed journeyman electrician member
of Baltimore Local 24, said he hates being unemployed.
“It is a waste of my abilities. I love being an
electrician,” he says. Out of work since July after
working for three years straight, Osnowitz is one of more than
two million unemployed job seekers who could lose federal
jobless aid if Congress does not act to extend it before the
end of the year.
Missouri Republicans are looking to start the New Year off
on the wrong foot, with another legislative battle over
Here are just five ways Comcast has given workers a raw deal
in one of its most financially successful years on record.
Fed up with poverty wages, fast-food workers across the
country are holding a one-day strike Dec. 5.
A new, custom-built deer blind in Texas Hill Country set the
stage for kids with mobility issues to experience the thrill of
the hunt safely and comfortably, due to the completion of a
conservation project organized and sponsored by the
Houston-area union community and the Union Sportsmen’s
When FairPoint Communications bought Verizon’s New
England landline holdings in 2008, the company announced that
fears among IBEW members who had worked for Verizon that the
new company would outsource and cut jobs were unwarranted.
Too often when school boards face budget shortfalls, music
education is the first to go.
But for Washington, D.C., students, music in the classroom
is alive and well thanks to a donation from Local 26 and
Americans reject slashing Social Security benefits, but
that hasn’t stopped well-funded lobbyists on Capitol Hill
from continuing to push Congress to make Social Security
Ontario Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak’s
antipathy toward unions is no secret, but a recently leaked
internal campaign document reveals just how anti-labour a
potential Tory government could be.
Across the breezy expanse of Iowa, clean wind-powered energy
But for workers in this booming industry, safety on the job
can be scarce. That’s one reason why nonunion employees
at the TPI Composites plant in Newton are looking to the IBEW
Dick Yuengling, president of the nation’s oldest
brewery, has rarely kept his contempt for unions under
wraps. In 2006, he supported a move by workers in his
Pottsville, Pa., brewery to decertify their Teamsters
The deadline was already extended to Nov. 30, so you have no
How the nuclear power industry will find enough qualified
workers to build, operate and maintain plants in the future was
the topic of an online conversation featuring International
President Edwin D. Hill and senior executives from
Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. announced Nov. 12 a
multibillion-dollar effort to overhaul and expand its
electrical transmission network, ensuring reliable service and
enhanced capacity to meet the demands of a growing economy.
As any member can tell you, the IBEW isn’t just about
good wages or strong contracts. It’s also about
commitment to community.
Alaska possesses one of the stronger labor movements in the
United States, with a union density rate only second to that of
New York State.
As the economy continues its steady recovery, demand for
telecommunications workers is picking up. But many of the best
jobs are only open to people who keep up with the
industry’s rapidly changing technology.
The Labor Department’s jobs report released last week
revealed some interesting data about the health of the economy
and the industries represented by the IBEW.
For many decades, IBEW members have skillfully brought news
and entertainment to local audiences across the nation, working
for major broadcasting companies like CBS, Fox and ABC.
Nova Scotia Power’s announcement that it was
considering outsourcing at least 250 utility jobs is being
criticized by workers and consumer activists as a threat to
good jobs and reliable service.
As millions of Christmas and holiday season displays take
shape across the nation, picking the best is surely a difficult
task. But some shine brightest.
The federal Davis-Bacon Act – along with its state and
local counterparts — helps keep construction jobs good
jobs and maintain high standards in the industry by requiring
contractors receiving public funds to pay the local prevailing
The 2010 midterm elections brought to power a wave of
anti-worker governors and legislators. Some are notorious for
their attacks on workers’ rights: Scott Walker in
Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida, Rick Snyder in Michigan.
Amtrak has long been the whipping boy of congressional
right-wingers, who decry federal spending on the nation’s
passenger rail line as wasteful.
You hear it from the mouths of young people every day: I
can’t afford college. The debt would be too big.
I’m not sure what to do.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative
government launched a sneak attack on federal workers’
rights earlier this month with the introduction of a new budget
After a generator failed at a Montana coal-fired power plant
on July 1, the operator, PPL Montana, announced that some
members of Colstrip Local 1638 would later be placed on
furlough for at least 90 days.
The nation’s economy showed disappointing growth in
September, with only 148,000 jobs compared to 169,000 jobs
created in August.
The Northeast Line Constructors chapter of the National
Electric Contractors Association has donated $1 million to
support the national outside apprenticeship program. Chapter
Manager Mike Gilchrist said the donation was the groups way of
saying thank you to the linemen and contractors who helped
rebuild after Superstorm Sandy destroyed billions of dollars of
property and cut off power to more than 8 million homes across
New Jersey, New York and New England.
Labor unions and allies in the city of Watsonville, a
fertile agricultural center on the central coast of California,
have had much success in 2012 convincing progressive candidates
to run and win seats on their city council. Many council
members had labor union backgrounds, says Castroville Local 234
Business Manager Andy Hartmann.
A Michigan judge took an anti-union city manager to task
last week, ruling that Lowell City Manager Mark Howe lied and
unfairly targeted union activists – just to punish
workers for joining the IBEW.
The construction industry is making a strong comeback in
Arizona, with the number of construction permits up in 2012.
But the state actually lost construction jobs over the summer.
The reason, says many industry observers: worker
misclassification, which is a way for contractors to keep
employees on the worksites but off the books.
Leaders of the Danish Union of Electricians, along with
their counterparts on the employer side, visited the IBEW
International Office Oct. 1.
In the midst of the chaos of Hurricane Sandy, National
Grid, employing thousands of IBEW members in New York and New
England, decided to roll out a new computer system to account
for overtime pay and expenses.
Rice Electrical Services and Controls is the latest member
of the St. Louis Local 1 family after the business terminated
its contract with a rogue electricians union – the
Associated Electrical Contractors Local 57.
The officers of the International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers sadly report that IBEW Government Employees Director
Chico McGill passed away Sept. 27. With a generous spirit and
an outsize personality, he was throughout his career an
outspoken voice for workers.
annual IBEW photo contest is a showcase for members to
demonstrate their skills with a camera and shine a light on
their too-often overlooked jobs. For 15 years, the IBEW Journal
and The Electrical Worker have printed hundreds of photos of
and by IBEW members at work—turning the lights back on
after storms, building architectural marvels and performing
hundreds of other jobs that contribute so much to communities
across North America and even beyond.
In today’s economy, education is vital to getting
ahead. And the National Coalition for Telecommunications
Education and Learning is the place for telecommunications
professionals looking to gain an edge through advanced online
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President
Edwin D. Hill issued the following statement today:
“The draft regulations issued by the Environmental
Protection Agency regarding emissions from newly-constructed
power plants threaten economic growth and America’s
energy future. Read more...
More than 100 young IBEW members from across the United
States and Canada will be in Washington, D.C., Sept. 27-29 for
the first ever Reach out and Energize Next-gen Electrical
We know the professionalism and skill that members of the
IBEW bring to the job every day.
Now hundreds of millions of TV viewers know as well.
Coming on the heels of last year’s national ad
campaign, a new IBEW spot – titled “Power
Professionals” – went on the air this month.
The Department of Defense has canceled repairs for a damaged
nuclear submarine and ended a program that monitors orbiting
space junk, two striking examples of consequences of a federal
austerity program that could lay off dozens, potentially
hundreds, of IBEW members.
The IBEW’s efforts to tap into good jobs in the
booming energy sector are seeing big results in West Virginia,
with hundreds of members hard at work building and maintaining
the infrastructure needed to get the Mountaineer State’s
rich natural gas load to market.
Two years after the launch of the first IBEW app, the IBEW
is putting the finishing touches on a new news app for digital
Volunteers from Richmond, Va., Local 666 joined members from
the plumbers and pipefitters and the Virginia Building and
Construction Trades Council on Aug. 21 to help create more
accessible walkways for York River State Park visitors with
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to be in
Washington, D.C., Aug. 24 to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and
Freedom, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous
“I Have a Dream” speech.
Diesel bus mechanics employed by the Delaware Transit Corp.
never had much need for a union. That is until one of their own
was fired – all because of his breakfast.
ADT alarm system installers know that when they finish work
at a new customer’s home, they’re offering
something priceless – greater peace of mind for the whole
A toll-free call center connection to someone in India has
been a punchline for comedians and TV sitcoms for years, but
for the thousands of Americans who have lost their jobs in call
centers, outsourcing is no laughing matter.
The United Food and
Commercial Workers, which left the AFL-CIO eight years ago
to join the Change
to Win Coalition, is rejoining the nation’s largest
A coalition of 20 unions including the IBEW has already seen
progress from a campaign to challenge the furlough of 650,000
Department of Defense civilian employees. Since July 1, the
Alliance has been urging members of Congress to eliminate
11 unpaid furlough days that are part of the federal
sequester. The furloughs amount to a 20 percent reduction
Family members of IBEW members have been awarded
scholarships worth $6,250 by the Union Plus Educational Fund.
The grantees were among more than 100 winners, representing 36
unions who were awarded up to $4,000. They were chosen out of a
pool of more than 5,300 applicants based on their academic
performance, financial need and a 500-word essay describing
their career goals and their relationship with the labor
One year before his city made headlines as the largest
municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit Local 58 Business
Manager Mike Richard was meeting with his member of Congress to
underscore the need to give Detroit and Michigan residents the
first crack at construction jobs on several Detroit-area
projects that were in the planning stage.
Raise the Minimum Wage - President Obama reiterated his call
for raising the federal minimum wage in his speech on the
economy last week.
D.C. Apprentices Get Organized - Washington, D.C., Local 26
journeyman wireman Adam Reed started out in the work force at
just about the worst time imaginable.
In the midst of the Great Depression, a still photographer
shot a picture of 11 ironworkers eating lunch on a steel girder
840 feet above the streets of New York City. The photo,
entitled “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” was staged. But
the workers who demonstrated the lengths and heights people
will go to for a job, were real. And their lack of safety
equipment symbolized the sacrifices workers made just to find
any job and feed their families.
Union sportsmen take a back seat to no one when it comes to
expert, responsible hunting and fishing and working to preserve
habitats for wildlife from neglect or abuse. But the Union Sportsmen’s
Alliance, a union-dedicated outdoor organization, is
setting an even broader example by infusing the principle of
solidarity into a new program that brings together
volunteers—including IBEW members—to tackle
conservation projects in parks across the U.S.
Toronto, Ontario, Local 636 utility workers and Hydro Ottawa
partnered earlier this month to help power up a group home that
serves residents with physical disabilities and seniors.
Electrical workers and their employers are raising the alarm
about loopholes in the Affordable Care Act that threaten to
undermine quality coverage for more than 26 million
Pittsburgh Local 5 members are being credited with saving
dozens of local senior citizens from a fire that tore through a
nursing home June 25.
The President’s statement on energy today is a step in
the right direction on the long road to reaching a balanced,
workable consensus on energy issues.
A recent poll shows a strong majority of citizens opposing
the use of more foreign guest workers in the trades. And labor
leaders are bringing that message to lawmakers as they debate
new immigration proposals that would have far-reaching effects
on the industry.
Some say religion and politics don’t mix. But
politicians often call upon their religion as an inspiration or
justification for their actions. Nowhere is this truer than in
North Carolina, where both houses of the state legislature are
under Republican control by Tea Party conservatives who often
cite scripture to support their agenda.
Like nonprofit organizations across North America, the Boys
and Girls Club of Green Bay, Wis., is scraping for funds to
keep its programs alive even while the need to help struggling
citizens grows due to a still difficult economy.
What if the controversy raging over the National Security
Agency’s surveillance of domestic phone calls is
overshadowing an abuse of privacy that could undermine our
nation’s democracy in a myriad of ways that the NSA
spying never could?
In what organizers are calling a stellar campaign victory, a
determined group of skilled technicians working for
SimplexGrinnell in Winnipeg stood up for rights on the job and
voted IBEW May 22.
In a genre best known for caped crusaders and mutants saving
the universe, one IBEW local is using comic books to tell the
story of another kind of hero: the union men and women who made
the American middle class.
On June 3, with a little over one year to go before their
contract with FairPoint Communications expires, business
managers and co-workers representing 1,700 IBEW members in
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont traveled to the
company’s annual shareholder meeting in Charlotte,
Two Harbors, Minn., power and water workers are going public
about stalled efforts to renew their two- year contract.
Dublin, Calif., Local 595’s new training center
formally opens on May 30, instantly becoming one of the most
efficient and technologically advanced commercial buildings in
With sadness, the IBEW announces the death of First District
Vice President Phillip Flemming on May 25. He was 68.
Federal shipyard workers across the United States won a
temporary respite May 14, when the Pentagon announced that they
were exempting employees from mandatory unpaid furlough
Front and center of a new Memorial Day dedication in
Minnesota is an IBEW member and one of the once-anonymous
Marines who were the first to raise the American flag on Iwo
Summer is coming. For many, this means vacations on the
beach, kids lounging at home and trips to the pool. But for
utilities, summer means raging thunderstorms and hurricane
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, originally sponsored
by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, has
maintained conservation as a core mission since its founding in
The mile-wide tornado that tore through Moore, Okla., May 20
killed dozens and left a swath of destroyed homes, businesses
and schools in its wake.
When it comes to attitudes about unions and our members,
Americans often summon the negative images spread by our
adversaries, rather than considering the contributions of union
members who could be their neighbors like the firefighters,
police personnel or nurses. Or electricians.
Seventh District International Vice President Jon Gardner
will retire from office on June 1.
For the IBEW's Darrell Taylor, organizing water treatment
workers at the Alberta oil sands has been a lot like the tricky
process of extracting raw fuel from the soil - slow and steady,
but promising in the end.
Effectively bridging the different perspectives and
experiences of three and, sometimes, four generations in the
same workplaces can be a daunting challenge for seasoned
leaders and emerging activists alike.
Eric Varela’s story is all too common. After serving
as a combat infantryman in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne
Division, Varela returned to California in 2008 to record high
When Dave Royle was a student at central New Jersey’s
Woodbridge (N.J.) High School in the late-1980s, he was well
known for his smile.
Missouri’s House Workforce Development and Workplace
Safety Committee approved “paycheck protection”
legislation on April 10. The bill would weaken public-sector
unions by prohibiting members from having dues earmarked for
political action from being automatically deducted from their
When Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, joined with
his Democratic colleague W. Va. Sen. Joe Manchin, to propose a
bill on background check for gun owners, he was hailed as a
“voice of reasonable compromise.” Not so fast.
To honor those who have lost their lives as a result of
job-related illness or injury, dozens of countries around world
have designated April 28 as Workers Memorial Day.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) today salute the
nation’s men and women who risk their lives daily to keep
electricity flowing to the nation’s homes and
Labor unions and progressive activists are speaking out and
organizing in opposition to President Obama’s proposal to
reduce Social Security benefits as part of his budget proposal
announced on April 10.
Labour activists in Western Canada are calling for a
moratorium on the federal temporary foreign worker program,
saying that the system is rife with abuse.
Celebrated poet Maya Angelou once said, “Living a life
is like constructing a building; if you start wrong, you'll end
If the same statement can describe a career, Michelle Braga,
a 17-year-old Pittsburgh-area vocational-technical high school
student who is aiming for an IBEW journeyman wireman
apprenticeship, is on the right track in both spheres.
The best way to keep working is to keep up with the work, an
increasingly demanding task with telecommunications
IBEW members in Canada are cheering TransCanada
Corp’s. proposal to build a pipeline to transport crude
oil from Western Canada to refineries in the east.
The Philadelphia City Council passed a bill last week that
would require virtually every employer in the city to provide
their workers with paid sick days – earning the enmity of
Comcast, a major player in Philly politics.
Workers across the nation rallied March 20 and 21 to protest
likely furloughs brought on by the more than $1 trillion in
automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequestration.
IBEW leaders are praising President Obama’s March 13
nomination of civil-rights attorney Thomas Perez for Secretary
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President
Edwin D. Hill says President Obama’s nomination of Ernest
Moniz to be the next U.S. Department of Energy secretary
“is the right choice to lead our nation as we enter a new
era of energy policy.”
It’s not easy finding common ground in Washington,
D.C., these days. Getting Democrats and Republicans – not
to mention business and labor – to agree on anything
seems an impossible challenge.
Thousands of IBEW members who work for the federal
government or for private government contractors awoke Friday
morning facing a shaky economic future. The sequestration
– the series of draconian federal spending cuts totaling
$1.2 trillion – went into effect March 1, meaning that
more than 1 million federal workers face unpaid leave or worse
unless Congress takes action to rescind the cuts.
It’s one of the biggest challenges facing the economy
today: providing retirement security for America’s work
If you think the looming “sequester” – the
series of automatic federal spending cuts set to go into effect
Friday, March 1 – doesn’t affect you and your
family, think again.
Few words are as chilling to workers as “corporate
merger.” Too often the aftermath is slashed jobs, cut
wages and managers acting unreasonably.
It’s one of the most powerful lobbying organizations
in the United States today, exercising an outsized influence in
the Republican Party and driving policy decisions in state
houses and governors’ mansions across the country.
And chances are you’ve never heard of it.
The Department of Defense is sending out dozens of contract
cancelations and preparing to lay off ten, possibly hundreds of
thousands of workers because they can no longer fund projects
started after 2009, dues to the inability of Congress to pass a
Years of management favoritism, lack of respect on the job
and the threat of declining wages had been wearing on hundreds
of Sears service technicians in the upper Midwest for
Austin construction workers and workers’ rights
activists are accusing hotel developer White Lodging Inc., of
cheating employees out of tens of thousands of dollars in wages
on one of Austin’s most high-profile construction
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced a
bill on Feb. 5 that would impose so called right-to-work
Union members and public safety officials are calling on
President Obama to finalize an Occupational Safety and Health
Administration standard that would reduce workers’
exposure to silica and save lives.
Dial One Wolfdale Electric Inc., was one of the Toronto
area’s largest nonunion contractors, performing millions
of dollars in commercial and industrial work each year.
The AFL-CIO Now blog is publicizing a
list of union-made food and drinks for members to enjoy on
Super Bowl Sunday.
Victor Lovelady’s family members say he was a hero
long before the project manager for a Houston-based energy firm
was killed at an Algeria natural gas plant after being held
hostage by Al Qaeda terrorists.
While gridlock reigns in the
legislative halls of Washington, D.C., states are churning with
anti-union bills, including Pennsylvania, where activists are
Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation that would
drastically curtail the rights of teachers, firefighters and
other public workers to participate in the political
On Jan 15, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration
and leading freight railroad BNSF Railway Co., marked a big
step forward for on-the-job safety by signing an accord that
protects from retaliation workers who report on-the-job
The International Executive Council has appointed
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Local 37 Business Manager Ross
Galbraith Eighth District IEC member.
Summarizing the Obama administration’s accomplishments
in remarks to the IBEW Convention in Vancouver, now-retired
General Counsel Larry Cohen said:
We again have a Department of Labor that is a department
for labor. It is no longer an anti-labor labor department,
which it was throughout the Bush administration.
Henry Miller, the first President of the IBEW, died in 1896
without enough money for a decent burial... members of the IBEW
established a fraternal death benefit association in 1922 whose
essential purpose was to provide the named beneficiary of a
deceased member a sum that might permit our member to be
interred in a dignified manner.
2012 was a big year for union members with a passion for
hunting and fishing. The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance
– a national organization of union members committed to
outdoor sports and conservation – surpassed 50,000
members, its highest number yet.
Union folks shouldn’t be surprised when our
adversaries play word games. Terms like
“right-to-work” or “ownership society”
sound, to many, as American as the Super Bowl until people find
out that the first could cut their pay and benefits and the
second would put benefits like Social Security and Medicare in
the private hands of Wall Street.