Illinois Local Hits Homer with Little League Scoreboard
May 21, 2013
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.
In Libertyville, Ill., Local 150, and the Northeastern Illinois Labor-Management Cooperative Committee have discovered a powerful antidote to repel negative images and to build respect and trust in their community.
With the installation of a new digital scoreboard, adorned with the IBEW’s colors at the Libertyville Little League’s junior’s field, Local 150 has won applause from parents, grandparents, young ballplayers and extensive praise in the village’s newspaper. “Many of the union’s local families have played in the Libertyville Little League baseball program since it began more than 60 years ago,” said The Lake County News-Sun.
Local 150 Business Manager Don Carlson says:
Local 150 has been sponsoring Little League teams in Libertyville for 20 years. It represents our commitment to community, joining together our ideals and moral structure. Next to our union’s logo on the scoreboard it says: ‘IBEW, serving Libertyville since 1914.’
Libertyville is an affluent community, says Carlson, where many residents don’t naturally support unions. But, since it’s one of the largest, most influential towns in Lake County, that makes it even more important for Local 150 to be engaged, active and visible.
So when he found out that the Little League was looking for sponsors for the new scoreboard, Carlson contacted the LMCC, which includes Elgin Local 117 and Aurora Local 461, and pledged the full $10,000 needed. Signatory contractor Baum Sign supplied electricians and equipment for installation. Carlson, whose local also contributes to Libertyville Days, a yearly festival, says the LMCC is one of four that have hired full-time business development directors.
“We have found that serving our community in this kind of way is a much more positive and long-lasting way to win friends and support for the IBEW than parading around a rat and talking about scabs,” Carlson said.
The Libertyville scoreboard was manufactured by Fair-Play by TransLux, a Des Moines, Iowa company that was organized in 2006 by Local 347. Members there voted to join the union after a sponsorship and neutrality agreement was negotiated between the company and the IBEW Construction and Maintenance Department. The agreement followed successful efforts by other local unions to donate scoreboards to their communities' sports teams.