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September 2019

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Fighting Addiction

Thank you for your cover story on opioid abuse in the construction industry in August's Electrical Worker. There are so many people suffering, and no one wants to talk about it. This is a great start.

I work at Local 1245 with a program called the Peer Volunteer Program. It's been run by Pacific Gas and Electric since 2000 and is available to all employees to help those with substance abuse issues have a safe place to seek help. We have over 30 union and management employees who volunteer with the program that's available 24/7. All of our volunteers are in recovery from alcohol and addiction and are at least two years clean and sober.

We reach out to employees through annual safety meetings and have helped hundreds of PG&E employees over the years. I'm retired now, but I work as a presenter on behalf of Local 1245. I'm always struck by how quiet rooms get when they learn that the presenters were all active addicts and alcoholics; people start listening because that makes it real.

I just want others to know that we have firsthand knowledge of what it's like to struggle with addiction and we're here to help. There's more information available about our program at and we'd be happy to talk to other IBEW locals interested in setting up similar programs. The first step to recovery is talking about the issue, and I'm glad to see that happening at the IBEW.

Brent Turner, Local 1245 retiree
Vacaville, Calif.

Adventures Past

I enjoyed July's Electrical Worker article about Brother John Murphy's adventure to Antarctica [The Electrician at the End of the Earth, July 2019]. It brought back a lot of memories of my own time there more than 50 years ago.

In 1963, I was a third-year apprentice with New York Local 3 and also a member of the U.S. Navy. I went active in July of that year, when I was assigned to the USS Glacier out of Boston. We sailed through the Panama Canal and on to Christchurch, New Zealand, where we resupplied. We then headed to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, where our ship broke a channel through the ice to allow cargo ships to offload their supplies.

I spent 14 months on the ice, and though I was a third-class electrician on the ship, I spent most of my time installing piping that allowed ships to offload various types of fuel needed to sustain the station.

I was impressed by my fellow Local 3 brother's great adventure. Thanks for sharing it.

William Horn, Local 3 retiree
New York

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Atlanta's Finest

Congratulations to the AGL workers at the new Atlanta Local 1997! I'm a member of LocalĀ 995 in Baton Rouge, La. I personally know how hard it is to organize in a right-to-work state. You guys accomplished a major victory. I hope you get everything you ask for.

Steven Stathes, Local 995 member
Baton Rouge, La.

Say 'No' to Florida Energy Deregulation

Responding to "Florida Activists Fight to Fend Off Deregulation Threat" from last month's Electrical Worker:

Deregulation is just another word for lining some rich peoples' pockets.

Roger Eberstein, Local 131 retiree
Kalamazoo, Mich.