The Electrical Worker online
August 2017

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A National Strike?

I am tired of reading the Electrical Worker where we, as union members, are told over and over how our rights as workers are constantly being trampled on by the Republican legislators not only in Congress, but in many states as well.

Here's a novel idea. Why don't ALL labor union leaders call for a one-day shutdown of our country? Think of Teamsters, construction unions, railway workers, airline pilots, food service workers etc., just to name a few, bringing this country to a halt. All this whining and hand-wringing is accomplishing nothing! The unions in Europe have the right idea in shutting down their countries and we see what strong unions they have.

Now I realize that this may not endear us to the public, but we are in a war for our very lives. Will there be collateral damage? Yes, but in any war it is necessary for the furtherance of ideals.

If you call yourselves union leaders, then lead and call for a nationwide strike to call attention to our plight as American workers. Stop crying and start fighting!

Joe Bauer, Local 102 retiree
Paterson, N.J.

Living the IBEW Objects

I now realize how different we are within the IBEW. Reading the Constitution of the IBEW should be enough to know how we should treat one another in this organization. Reading the Bible is enough to know how we should treat one another in our everyday lives.

Working together for the good of this organization, sharing knowledge, showing compassion when in need (the fifth object of the IBEW), giving back when asked and saying "thank you" when someone does for you or your local.

The eleventh object of the IBEW Constitution (elevate the moral, intellectual and social conditions of our members and their families in the interest of a higher standard of citizenship) is the most powerful of them. We must live it, want it bad enough, expect nothing less than the intentions of the forefathers who crafted these objects. We are humans and we will make mistakes. Accepting the judgment of others is particularly difficult when you are in a position of leadership. How can members carry forward and promote these objects with a sense of resolve when many are lacking knowledge and really care mostly about themselves? Let's stir up a sense of urgency.

Jimmy Burk, Local 479 business manager
Beaumont, Texas

Memorializing a TV Trailblazer

Joseph Michael Sokota, an award-winning cameraman for CBS Sports, who did pioneering studio work in the early days of broadcast television, died on April 15. The New York Local 1212 member died four days shy of his 90th birthday.

Sokota was hand-picked to be the lead cameraman for the Jackie Gleason Show by the CBS president in the 1960s. By then, Sokota, who spent 38 years at CBS, was a 10-year veteran of the medium.

"Oh, Joey, Joey, it's so good to see you!" Helen Hayes (known even then as "First Lady of the American Theatre") would say as she walked onto a set.

His credits include shows starring Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, Arthur Godfrey, Jason Robards and Orson Welles. He smoothly made the transition from black-and-white broadcasts to color technology: a first was "Cinderella" starring Julie Andrews.

Declining offers to move to film in Hollywood, Sokota won five Emmy awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement shooting for CBS Sports. Following race cars with his camera on the fourth turn of the Daytona 500, Sokota wore a crash helmet himself. His manned position was later replaced with a robotic camera because of the physical dangers working so close to the curve.

Sokota enlisted in the Army in 1945, spending many off-duty hours photographing scenes of architectural beauty amid the devastation in Europe from World War II.

Sokota was behind the camera at Cape Canaveral (called Cape Kennedy in the 1960s and early 1970s) for NASA launches. He covered political conventions and worked on CBS News programs, including "60 Minutes."

Janice Sokota, Local 1212 member
New York


Joseph Michael Sokota