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December 2017

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Wanted for Higher Office: You

The presidential elections of 2016 should be a wake-up call for all of us, along with the words of our own IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson. I have read this publication front to back religiously since I joined the IBEW in 1982. The articles published on the multiple topics and campaigns are always spot-on, especially the most recent regarding healthcare and right-to-work legislation and this should be at the forefront of all our minds. As a proud third-generation member, I could not be prouder that my son is now the fourth.

Our family has more than 91 years of elected service to our local union between the generations. In 2003, I was tasked with helping the IBEW statewide by accepting a gubernatorial appointment. In 2012, I was elected to the state House of Representatives.

The IBEW and the labor movement have benefited throughout the state by having a seat at the table, but we need more. Due to gerrymandering practices, many states are controlled by the GOP but by holding an elected office and developing relationships, we can curb the attacks on our families and our union. Whether being elected to a school board, county commission or as a small-town mayor, each position can be a useful tool in our box. I strongly encourage you and/or your families to get involved politically so that we stand a chance to survive nationally. No matter how you may be registered, there is a place for you to run for office and help us be certain that the opportunity to join a union is there for future generations. I owe my success to the IBEW and the leadership that pushed me out of my comfort zone and into an elected office. Your neighbors need you to step up.

Think of it like this: you will never call the president but you will never hesitate to call your union or local elected official for help and that is where we can make a difference. We are called upon to rebuild a neighborhood, city or country after a disaster, so why not become the foreman of our own? We are the volunteers, coaches, scout leaders and have done more community service than every elected official combined. It is time that we take control of our own destiny. Get involved!

Ed Neilson, Local 98 member

Getting the (Safety) Message

Thanks for getting arc flash hazards front and center in the November issue of the Electrical Worker ("The New World of Arc-Rated Gear"). We really need to get to every lineman and inside wireman with this message. It is a bigger challenge for the inside than it is for linemen as they are for the most part, already in arc-rated clothing.

One of our instructors brought in his copy (I did not get mine yet) and asked for data on the number of fatalities from arc flash. We have struggled at the 70E committee for many years with respect to empirical data on arc flash fatalities. In fact, the updated Annex K in NFPA70E 2018 attributes 98 percent of electrical related fatalities to shock and no numbers are provided on arc flash because they could not be found. If you have any data, we sure could use it!

James T. Dollard Jr., Local 98 safety coordinator

[Editor's Note: The injury statistics in the story were primarily drawn from a 2015 report "Occupational Injuries from Electrical Shock and Arc Flash Events" released by the Fire Protection Research Foundation. The report gathers information from medical and trade journals, electrical incident data and other sources. It can be found at Help the IBEW keep accurate track of incidents by filing an Occupational Injury, Illness or Fatality Form 173. Not only is it required, it helps keep everyone informed and safe on the job. Forms can be completed on the IBEW website at]

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

Unions Give Back

Reading November's story, "New Jersey Couple Opens Home to Homeless Vets," I thought, 'Here's a great story of a union member giving back to his community because he can … because of his union membership.' Great job, Brother [Mike Lipari and Julie Lipari]! In solidarity lies great things.

Chris Millas, Local 1820 member
Neptune, N.J.