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October 2019

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Battling Addiction

Thank you for your important story on opioid addiction in the August Electrical Worker. I'm so happy to have had a great career in the IBEW. I was a good worker, but I was also a drug user. When I became a lineman in 1981, I worked for a power company and made a good living, but I had to call it quits in 1989 when my addiction became too much to handle. I got clean and sober in 1992 thanks to my brothers and my union. They all helped me so much, and I got my life back on track and worked as a contractor until I retired in 2011. I'm still clean today.

Charles Gross, Local 210 retiree
Atlantic City, N.J.

'One of the Best Breaks of My Life'

I am and always will be a proud IBEW member. I was fortunate to receive my 50-year pin at a recent local union meeting, and as I stood to say a few words to the membership, my life flashed before my eyes. It seems like yesterday that I was an 18-year-old kid learning how to become a tree trimmer with Asplundh. It wasn't easy, and I thought about quitting more than once. But I kept going and learned valuable lessons, like "a good day's work for a good day's pay." I later went on to become a journeyman lineman, where I worked for many contractors and the electric company. It all taught me that it's good to have friends in the right places, and becoming an IBEW member was one of the best breaks of my life. Thank you.

Larry M. Vick, Local 17 retiree

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

Solidarity Saves Lives

Responding to "Washington, Tennessee Harden Penalties for Assaults on Utility Workers" from September's Electrical Worker:

The IBEW is the most awesome and productive program in the USA. I'll say it again, united we stand, divided we beg. We are a Brotherhood.

Tim Langley, Local 728 retiree
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Praise for IBEW Apprenticeships

In July and August, we asked members to speak out to the Labor Department on what made IBEW apprenticeships great, and many of you responded online as well:

I taught in Local 595's apprenticeship program for 20 years and our program turned out some of the finest journeymen and journeywomen in the country. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most technically challenging work environments anywhere, and our graduates are always up to that challenge. Knowledge is power!

Roger England, Local 595 retiree
Dublin, Calif.


If there are a bunch of "journeymen" walking around who are undereducated [like the proposed DOL rule would make things], it diminishes the value of being a JW. The bad electricians will make all electricians look bad. And, if open shops can claim to have as many JWs as NECA contractors (even if their education was substandard by comparison), it will give them an advantage in getting certain contracts. Lowering a set of standards while keeping the same name hurts the reputation of everyone with that title, regardless of what education they personally received.

Ciara Lozano, Local 606 apprentice
Orlando, Fla.