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February 2017

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A Universal Experience

At age 10, I had no clue in the world why my dad left once a month to go to a "union meeting." I didn't understand that him paying dues was a privilege, not just a requirement to have a job and us to have money. Hearing about my father working with a new "apprentice" meant nothing more to me than my dad training someone new at his job and "signing the books" was just a wait list for the next cool jobsite he would work on. I thought he simply had a bunch of friends that met up to have cookouts. But as I grew older, I realized that the unions were not just a group of co-workers working and sharing their lives. It was an extended family, my extended family.

Watching my father stand up for the men that didn't have a voice, I learned how to speak out against mistreatment. I learned it is my obligation to see that those around me are being treated fairly. Without the union, I would be another bystander.

At almost every holiday, you would see me and my dad walking into the union hall with my coleslaw, no matter the season. Union events meant serving, and it was fun for me.

In school, I learned about what unions are and what they stand for. I already knew that unions are responsible for the construction of our strong middle class. My convictions on the value of labor unions made it more personal.

I never knew the immensity of the union either. I knew that my dad traveled for work but when I was in eighth grade, I saw what it was to "transfer a ticket." After we moved to Nashville and he joined Local 429, I saw the close-knit family I knew in Kansas City wasn't going away, it would start over and be just as great. My dad was welcomed in and treated as if he was one of them immediately. Through the union, I have learned compassion, initiative, hard work, brotherhood and pride. When I look at architecture, I can turn to my friends and say, "My dad and the union and his brothers built that."

Ashley Jean DePung, daughter of Local 429 member Daniel DePung
Nashville, Tenn.


Local 429 member Daniel DePung and his daughter, Ashley Jean

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends.

Dollars and Sense

I was making $10 per hour in 2006 and told myself that I needed to increase my income. I joined the IBEW and today I am making $55 an hour. I appreciate this brotherhood immensely. It has given my family a quality of life some people never get to experience.

Scot Chambers, Local 71 member
Columbus, Ohio

Nothing New Here

I read the article, "State Lawmakers across America are Coming After Your Union and Wages," [in this issue and previously posted at]. Remember, the Republican Party has had right-to-work as a plank in its national platform ever since they passed it over President Harry Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley amendment. This is nothing new. Republicans hate unions, they always have and always will. Get it out of your mind that some of them are your friends. Democrats are the only friend a union man has and not all of them are friends.

Roy Gunter, St. Louis Local 1 retiree
Benton, Mo.