October 2019
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Also In This Issue Canada's Choice
Federal Election Offers Stark Choice for Working Families read_more

Detroit on the Rise
City's First New Car Plant
in a Generation to Be
IBEW-Built read_more

North of 49°
Our Seat at the Table read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Notre siège à la table read_more

Fee Payers Plan for 2020 read_more






Change of Address



Cover Photo

Michigan Partnership
Offers Second Chance

Detroit needs tree trimmers, hundreds of them.

Fallen trees are responsible for nearly 70% of the time customers of DTE Energy, the local utility, spend without power; tree trimming reduces power cuts by 60%, according to the company. Every year, the company's more than 31,000 miles of power lines grow, and so do the trees.

Detroit Local 17 and DTE have been remarkably successful in filling out their ranks. Their 1,300 line clearance-tree trimmer members make up one of the largest LCTT units in the country. They run one of only two Labor Department-certified apprenticeships for the trade. (The other is the Northwest Line JATC in Vancouver, Wash.) They have more than 200 apprentices in some stage of the two-year program.

The average journeyman can easily earn six figures, the benefits are good, and so is retirement. But they can't keep up.

"There's a shortage of tree trimmers because of the nature of the job," said Detroit Local 17 Business Manager Dean Bradley. "What we're doing here is very, very physically demanding and very, very dangerous."

Even if DTE and the IBEW wanted to lower standards and try to handhold the not-quite-up-to-snuff onto the job, there simply is no faking your way through the apprenticeship, Bradley said.

"The job has its own yardstick," he said. "If you panic at 60 feet, you're not going to make it."

For a fair number of people, the tracks stop there. The road is closed. The washout rate in the apprenticeship is nearly 50%.

Bringing in nonunion workers hasn't worked either, Bradley said. Even if they come from arborist backgrounds, they haven't proven productive enough, safe enough or prepared to work around the wires. They just don't stick.

"The company doesn't want to hire anyone who didn't make it through our apprenticeship," Bradley said. read_more

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Officers Column Stephenson:
Power in Numbers read_more
A Fair Economy
Needs Unions read_more

TransitionsLarry Hogan;
Anthony "Tony" Makris;
David J. Yockel read_more

PoliticsDelaware, Oregon Step In to Protect Public Employees;
Study: West Virginia's Prevailing Wage Repeal Lowers Wages, Not Costs;
Union-Busting App Backed by Billionaires;
Unions Step Up Fight to Block Executive Orders read_more

Organizing WireHotel Employees in the IBEW? In this Iowa Community, They're a
Perfect Fit read_more

CircuitsPennsylvania's New Juneteenth Holiday
Extra Special to One
IBEW Member;
Patience Pays as New Missouri Members Finally
Get First Contract;
Soaring CEO Pay a Growing Threat to U.S. Economy;
Trayer Workers Put
'Rolls-Royce' Switchgear in Linemen's Hands read_more

LettersBattling Addiction;
'One of the Best
Breaks of My Life';
Solidarity Saves Lives;
Praise for IBEW Apprenticeships read_more

In MemoriamAugust 2019 read_more

Who We AreA Lifetime of Service Propels Colorado Member's Candidacy read_more