The Electrical Worker online
November 2020

My IBEW Story
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Kurt Heinz, Journeyman Wireman/Substation Inspector
Seattle Local 77

During my last two years in college I worked as a summer helper in the Substation Department at Puget Power, now Puget Sound Energy. After graduation, I had a choice. I could either throw myself into the business world at rock-bottom wages and benefits, or I could pursue a union trade in the electrical industry with all the wages, benefits and stability that came with it.

At the time, after our honeymoon, my wife and I had $20 between us, but we both had good union jobs — her as a teacher and me as a union helper wireman. I've never looked back on my choice.

The IBEW gave me the opportunities to work my way up in the company, from summer helper and equipment operator to journeyman wireman, wire foreman and substation inspector. I've had the opportunity to teach and stay active as chairman of our local Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.

Along the way, the IBEW has provided skills in safety, leadership, community and given me the financial ability to raise a successful family, be a community leader and provide a positive example for people around me. This brotherhood has given me retirement security and peace of mind in my 33rd year of membership, and I'm proud that my son is beginning his apprenticeship in this very trade.

Without the IBEW, I could never have achieved all that I have, and my family wouldn't be where it is today.