The Electrical Worker online
April 2016

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Manufacturing Excellence: A Top Priority

This edition of The Electrical Worker reports on an exciting partnership between New York Local 3 and Eaton Cooper Lighting. IBEW Code of Excellence labels now are affixed to the company's products as they leave its facility in Hicksville, N.Y.

Eaton Cooper is the first company to display the labels, but the Code of Excellence already is having a profound impact in the manufacturing branch. The IBEW has reached agreements with nearly 60 other companies to implement Code of Excellence training. That number is going to rise.

Here's why: Nearly everyone knows American manufacturing has been devastated, but the raw numbers still are sobering. The IBEW now has approximately 40,000 members in the manufacturing branch, about an 87 percent drop from 1970.

We can't expect corporations to suddenly stop going overseas in search of cheap labor. But we can put ourselves in a better position to meet that challenge. We must show pride in our work and a commitment to our craft.

The Code of Excellence asks for nothing from a good worker that he doesn't expect from himself. Show up on time and work a full eight hours. Commit to a drug-free workplace. Let other workers know when they aren't pulling their weight. The only things new with the code are undergoing training and affirming those principles in writing. In turn, management agrees to work collaboratively with IBEW members to produce the best possible products for consumers.

Some members have wondered if the Code of Excellence will lead to an increase in disciplinary issues with management. Quite the contrary. We've found that reported discipline cases dropped more than 50 percent at some locations that have implemented it.

Others wonder if we are getting too comfortable with private businesses. Not a chance. The IBEW will continue to protect your rights on the job, ensure your safety and push to make sure you have a decent paycheck.

We understand there are no guarantees. Corporations will continue to look to slash costs. But now, we can remind them they have the most productive workforce in the world.

All of us must look for innovative ways to protect American jobs in a demanding environment. The Code of Excellence does just that. I'm asking you to support it and follow its principles at your workplace. You'll be proving once again there is no better worker than an IBEW member.


Also: Chilia: A Clear Choice in November Read Chilia's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President