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July 2014

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Download the New IBEW App

IBEW members are usually on the go. Many depend on their phones or tablets to check the latest news and keep in contact.

Now you can get the latest from the IBEW Media team wherever you are with the latest version of the IBEW app.

The new app brings readers news and videos, including articles from and the Electrical Worker newspaper. Users will also be able to access officers' editorials as well as letters to the editors and Local Lines.

It replaces the old app, which premiered in 2012.

"We know how important mobile communications is for our members these days," said International President Edwin D. Hill. "We want people to stay plugged in with the IBEW wherever they go."

The new app — developed in-house by the IBEW Media Department — features a clean and easy-to-navigate interface, making it simple for users to find what they are looking for.

And it's free.

You can get it at the Google App store or on iTunes. Just search for IBEW EW.


The IBEW's new app

Why Spanish Train-Maker is Leaving Wis.

Sad news out of Milwaukee. Spanish train-maker Talgo is vacating its factory in the city, four years after Gov. Scott Walker rejected millions in federal stimulus money to create a Milwaukee-to-Madison commuter line.

The funding, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was meant to create high-speed rail links across the country, which would have modernized America's industrial infrastructure, creating good jobs in the process.

Soon after taking office in 2010, Walker turned down the $810 million in federal rail funds. The monies, already budgeted for the state, went to Illinois instead.

Talgo set up its North American headquarters in Milwaukee shortly before Walker's election, with plans to make the city a hub for rail manufacturing in the Midwest.

The project was expected to create tens of thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs.

"Walker turned his back on a lot of jobs," said Milwaukee Local 494 Business Manager John Bzdawka. "Not just for electricians, but all the trades, plus manufacturing jobs at the Talgo plant."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters April 30 that the plant closing means lost jobs and opportunities in a neighborhood that needs them.

"It's a tragedy to the people working here," he said.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott also turned down federal rail money.


Wis. Gov. Scott Walker rejected millions in federal stimulus money for a new commuter line, costing the state thousands of jobs.

Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Gateway Technical College

Obama Appoints Presidential Emergency Board

President Barack Obama announced the creation of a presidential emergency board June 15 to help end four years of stalled contract negotiations with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, the IBEW and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

More than 400 workers engaged in a one-day strike June 14, which came at the end of a 30-day cooling period kicked off by SEPTA's decline of the National Mediation Board's offer of binding arbitration. The offer was accepted unconditionally by both unions.

Obama's action was in response to a request earlier in the day by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

The workers have been without a new contract since 2009. SEPTA stonewalled negotiations early on, refusing to offer both unions an agreement similar to the one they reached with the Transit Workers Union Local 234, which represents city subway and bus workers.

IBEW System Council 7 General Chairman Arthur Davidson says he is disappointed by SEPTA's unwillingness to agree to binding arbitration.

"We've been reasonable in bargaining with SEPTA throughout this process," he said. "I'm confident that if we can present our position to a neutral third party, we can end this dispute."

The IBEW represents 220 electrical workers on the transit system.

"[We] are united in seeking an amicable resolution to our respective contract negotiations," said a joint statement from both unions. "Our objective remains to reach equitable settlements that address the needs of our members along with our friends and neighbors in the Philadelphia metropolitan area who rely on the SEPTA system."

The presidential board will hear evidence and recommend a settlement, sending labor and management back to the bargaining table.

System Council 7, IBEW represents 3,330 railroad electricians throughout the United States.


President Obama appointed a presidential emergency board June 15 to settle contentious contract negotiations between labor and SEPTA.

Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user heat_fan1

Video on the Go: 'Trimming the Competition'

Tree-trimming is one of the most dangerous occupations out there, so having a voice on the job is vital. Hear from some New England tree-trimmers who found their voice by joining Hartford, Conn., Local 42. Our stunning video shows why IBEW-trained professionals are a cut above.


Bill Would Create Jobs, Save Energy

When it comes to renewable energy, Rhode Island lags far behind its neighboring New England states.

"Massachusetts and Connecticut have been booming when it comes to solar for a few years now," said Providence, R.I., Local 99 Business Manager Michael Daley. "Now it's time for us to catch up."

A bill sitting in the Rhode Island legislature would do just that, creating 250 new jobs and increasing economic output by upward of a half-a-billion dollars — all while cutting down on energy costs — by incentivizing renewable power.

Under the Distributed Generation Growth Program Bill, small-energy generators — often powered by solar panels or wind turbines — can plug into the grid, allowing them to sell power to the state's main utility, National Grid.

An earlier version of the program was passed by the General Assembly in 2011, and the results have been significant, write Daley, New England Clean Energy Council President Peter Rothstein and Rhode Island Builders Association Executive Director in an editorial in the Providence Journal. Approximately 175 jobs were created in the first 18 months of the program alone.

"Renewable energy companies from within and outside of Rhode Island's borders lined up in droves to vie for the wind, solar, anaerobic digestion and small-scale hydro projects awarded through the 2011 program," they write.

Daley says some of that renewable work has translated into jobs for his members, including solar installation projects on landfills and commercial rooftops.

He says the current bill could help kick-start the industry, helping to bring solar companies to the state.

"We're working closely with state officials to bring the work here," he said.

And with unemployment in the Ocean State running above 9 percent, anything that can create private jobs is a priority for lawmakers.

"[M]ore renewable energy projects mean more green jobs we can create to support those struggling with unemployment," said state Sen. Susan Sosnowski.


New legislation could help get Rhode Island IBEW members back to work.

Three Generations Strong

Ferrell Flynn, a retired 50-year member of Bogalusa, La., Local 1077, with his family of fellow IBEW members, including sons Rickey and Roger Flynn of Baton Rouge, La., Local 995, and grandson Jimmy 'Big Shot' Flynn, Local 1077 organizer, pictured with International President Edwin D. Hill, International Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore "Sam" Chilia and Fifth District Vice President Joe Davis at the Fifth District Progress Meeting in New Orleans last August. From left are Chilia, Rickey Flynn, Ferrell Flynn, Hill, Roger Flynn, Davis and Jimmy Flynn.