December 2021
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Also In This Issue Protecting Retirement, Creating Jobs
IBEW Pension Investments Put Members to
Work Now read_more

Blinken Pledges
Pro-Worker Approach to Trade, Foreign Policy read_more

North of 49°
Skilled Trades Certification Returns to B.C. read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
La certification des métiers spécialisés retourne en
C.-B. read_more

My IBEW Story Theresa Gifford read_more

Grounded in History The Birth of the TVA at Norris Dam read_more

NEAP Summary
Annual Report

NEAP Benefit Notice read_more




Change of Address


Cover Photo

Puerto Rican Utility Workers Choose the IBEW

The 650 members of an independent union representing Puerto Rico's utility workers merged with Orlando, Fla., Local 222 in June, giving the IBEW a permanent presence on the island for the first time in decades.

The merger brought all the workers of the new national utility operator, LUMA Energy, to the IBEW just days after it took over operations of the island's struggling electrical system June 1.

Local 222 also signed a project labor agreement with LUMA covering billions of dollars of grid reconstruction funded by Federal Emergency Management Agency grants.

"Our local has had jurisdiction in Puerto Rico, but we haven't had anyone working there for several decades," said Local 222 Business Manager Bill Hitt. "It's like we added an entirely new state or a province of brothers and sisters."

The Unión Insular de Trabajadores Industriales y Construcciones Eléctricas had represented many of the utility workers at LUMA's predecessor, Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, since UITICE was taken over by Francisco Reyes Santos in 1964.

Reyes' son, Hector, took over leadership of the organization in 2013, and watched as the national utility operator, PREPA, fell year after year into debt and disrepair.

Then, four years ago, the electrical infrastructure of Puerto Rico was decimated by two Category 5 hurricanes: first Irma and then, two weeks later, Maria. Sustained winds over 150 mph, gusts of 180 and, during one extraordinary 24-hour period, 21/2 feet of rain bombarded the Commonwealth.

Between 3,000 and 5,000 people were killed and power was knocked out for the whole island. Nearly all of the 3.5 million residents were without power for months, some for almost a year.

Since 2017, billions of dollars were spent to restore power, with contracts given primarily to nonunion contractors based in the continental U.S. But the entire system is just as fragile as it was before the storm, Hitt said. read_more

  Local Lines

Officers Column Stephenson:
Gratitude This
Holiday Season read_more
Here Come the Jobs read_more

TransitionsJames F. Mulloney;
Jack J. Bove read_more

PoliticsWhitmer Reinstates Michigan's Prevailing Wage Amid Nonunion Outcry;
Union Support is Up and Women are Major Beneficiaries;
How Unions Close the
Racial Wealth Gap read_more

CircuitsThe Code Is Turning an
Up-and-Down Relationship Around at This Southern Maryland Electric Co-Op;
Illinois Member Joins All-Woman Crew for 'She Build' Volunteer Project;
'Brotherhood Outdoors' Features Colorado Member's First Whitetail Hunt;
Seattle Local 46 Invests in the Next Generation of
Union Leaders read_more

LettersCheers for an
Inclusive Union read_more

In MemoriamOctober 2021 read_more

Who We Are18-Year-Old Ohio Member Saves Mother-Son Pair off North Carolina Coast read_more