July ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

In the last three months (April, May and June) the IUEC has experienced three on the job fatalities. One mechanic was crushed by a hydraulic elevator, another was electrocuted while working in the overhead on a new installation and at this time there is no information on the third. Ours is a dangerous trade and those that make it to retirement will recount some close calls they had along the way. I’ve had a few close calls and a front row seat to more than my share of potential catastrophes. What I have learned is to be cautious around new equipment, especially that which I am unfamiliar, stop and evaluate the situation and do not be afraid to take your time when doing something new.

There is a good reason why our retired brothers and sisters became retired brothers and sisters. Some of it has to do with luck, some with self preservation and the balance to risk minimization for themselves and those around them. I have three mechanics I have worked with over the course of my career retire since April. All have taught me something about doing the job right and doing it safe. I hope to join them in retirement in ten years eleven months and 26 more days. Not that I’m counting.

For those looking to apply as an apprentice to the best trade in the trades, IUEC Local 17 will be accepting applications starting midnight July 16th. To apply, go to the National Elevator Industry Educational Program website, neiep.org, click on “About” and then “Careers” and then the link for Local 17. In order to be placed on the list you must meet all the deadlines in the application process. Good luck!

For those already in the apprenticeship program, turn in your OJT forms.

There is still room available in the motor alignment class being taught by John Taylor this November. It is a 12 hour class covering all aspects of this very important skill. If you are interested in this or any other continuing education, contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr., the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at JEDriscoll@iueclocal17.org.

The International is in the process of developing a new membership database that will allow it and the Local unions to manage all member information. Local 17 is starting to look at new computers that will be able to work with their system. Please take a few minutes to update your contact information with John.

The IUEC Local 17 Golf Outing will be August 6th at Pine Brook Golf Course, 11043 Durkee Rd., Grafton. The cost this year is $100 for golf, cart, food and prizes. If you have not already paid then get your money into Entertainment Chairman Mike Moennich or John at the hall ASAP.

As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

July ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

I want to say something about safety. Some may agree with what I have to say, others may disagree but, that is where conversations about important topics start.

Here it goes…

Safety, as with all things important, begins with ownership. Let me explain.

Most of us who have watched the business change over the last twenty years remember when we as individual elevator constructors owned the work we did. We took personal responsibility for the execution of our construction, service or maintenance jobs and, regardless of the outcome, owned the result for the better or the worse. I have had the pleasure of working with numerous professionals during my career who did just that. I have also had the pleasure of working with individuals who shunted the blame for poor outcomes to others. Both taught me something about the constructor I wanted to become.

When I took on a maintenance route as a temporary mechanic waiting to take my test, I took a personal responsibility for the 96 units under my care. Clearing up the issues resulting in five to seven callbacks a day and making the elevators my customers depended on as invisible as possible was my top priority. I was successful to the point where once my route reached 178 units all but two were running, all the violations and testing I was responsible for were clear and up to date. Customer satisfaction went from three out of five to almost five out of five and I had two to three callbacks a week.

I owned my route. I owned my job. I took pride in my work.

Along the way though, there was a shift. The testing team disappeared, the one-man pressure test became the norm, route mechanics were pulled away from their routes and teamed up with a helper or second mechanic to do contract repair. Billable work was limited to the four corners of the work order and if you noticed another problem, well, if it’s not on the paperwork then look the other way. The phrase “it’s not on the work order” became both a weapon by supervisors and a defense for the constructor.

The result of this being the company took ownership away from the constructor. We became complacent and began to accept that it was always someone else problem. The maintenance guy will find it, the service team will fix it, did the salesman even look at the job? We did what was on the work order. Where do we go tomorrow?

What I’ve noticed is that once we started to lose the ownership of our work, it has become a lot easier to walk away from small issues that could become larger problems. So that door gib is a little shallow, the maintenance guy will fix it. The demarcation on the step is broke. There are 96 steps on this escalator. What are the chances a kids shoelace will get caught? That brush looks a little iffy. Well, maybe it will be good enough for another couple of months until I can get back here to replace it. It’s these small complacencies that allow us to die a small death everyday.

This attitude also extends to safety. Safety has become a morning slogan on a thread, a poster contest for your grade schooler, a bag full of stuff to take to a job, a threat of three days off or a piece of OSHA driven paper. All of this fulfills the company responsibility to provide a comprehensive safety program to their employees as well as defined disciplinary actions for non-compliance. Realistically, how many times have we seen the same videos in our monthly safety meetings? Enough to recite the script?

There has to be a fundamental change in the way we view safety and it cannot be top down, it has to be inside out. By this I mean, when you find a problem fix it. Once you have found an issue it becomes your responsibility to see it is remedied, do not pass the buck. Sometimes this will mean leaving critical units out of service. So what! If you discover a critical design flaw in a piece of equipment, take it up with the proper people. This might mean calling your company engineer directly. “But my boss will be mad!” So what! We work in an industry where everything is designed, manufactured, installed, maintained, repaired and operated by humans. This leaves a lot of room for error and no one can think of everything. If you do call the engineer, do not just complain, offer a solution.

Ultimately if you own your job, you own your safety.

 

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the family of Brother Rick Bodnar who passed away February 27th.

As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.
Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
DKnapik@windstream.net

June ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

In the past two months the IUEC has lost two Brothers in work related accidents. The first was a Brother in Columbus who was working on the valve of a newer-style hydraulic elevator system with the tank in the pit. During disassembly of the valve, the car started down in an uncontrolled manner pinning him between the car and the tank. He was working with two other constructors who both were in the pit area at the time of the accident. The second accident was in Dallas where a mechanic was working on a traction car with the disconnect in the overhead and was electrocuted when pulling the mainline.

It goes without saying that working in the trades is dangerous. We deal with the possibility of life altering events of either our own making, chance or others on a daily basis. Please look out for one another. If you see another trade working in an unsafe manner or leaving a hazard for others, say something or better yet be an example of a safe craftsman. It can make all the difference in the world.

Organizing is still a major push by the International. In 2017 the IUEC organized 287 members and there were 1824 new hires industry wide. This means that a little over 13 percent of the new members brought in to the International last year were the result of the organizing efforts of the 16 members of the organizing department and the Volunteer Organizing Committees of the locals.

Organizing is the way to keep your union and your local strong by bringing more options to the table for work and raise the standard of living of those currently working at a non-signatory. The IUEC and Local 17 have made a strong commitment to make our jurisdiction 100 percent signatory. Everyone that does our work deserves to be paid like the professionals they are and have the best apprenticeship program available.

There are still a few non-signatory companies in the Cleveland area and IUEC Local 17 needs to hear about where they are working. At the bottom of the article is a list of the signatories for Local 17. If you see a company not listed below then please call Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. at 216-431-8088 or email him at JEDriscoll@iueclocal17.org

IUEC Local 17 will be accepting applications of its apprenticeship program on July 16th. Those interested in applying must go to the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) website neiep.org, click on Careers, cursor to the bottom of the page and click on the link for Local 17 STARTING AT MIDNIGHT JULY 16TH. In order to be considered for a position on the list you must follow all the steps indicated. Good luck to those wishing to join the best trade in the trades.

A letter from Local 17 is being sent to members and their families on behalf of American Income Life Insurance Company. Since 2004 AIL has contacted members of Local 17 about life insurance products and services. All members and retirees receive a $3500 accidental death benefit through the Local regardless of whether they talk with an AIL representative or not. AIL is a 100 percent union company. If you are looking for insurance products, it may be worth your time to talk with an agent.

 

The Brothers and Sisters of IUEC Local 17 send their condolences to the family of retired Brother Rick Bodnar who passed away February 27th.

As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

June ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

There’s a lot going on so lets get started…

Congratulations go out to Joe Gauker for passing the Mechanics Exam. As I always say, the Mechanics Exam is the only unbiased evaluation of your knowledge of the trade you will ever have. Work smart and work safe!

Starting this fall there will be three apprentice classes to reduce the class size and give more opportunities for individualized instruction. I am also pleased to say that I am joining the instructing team. As of this writing I do not know how I will be used but, I am looking forward to the challenge of passing on what little I know to the next generation of constructors.

Two issues arose over the past month worth passing along regarding the contract and work we claim. A company was going to send two helpers to unload a truck while their mechanics were in training. The supervisor calling it in said it “wasn’t a big deal because it would be unloaded by a Lull anyway.” This is not the right answer. We unload the trucks, not the other trades or company drivers. Second, if drilling a hole is sub-contracted out a mechanic must be on the job the entire time including the assembly and disassembly of the rig.

Know your contract and know what it means. Do not give up our work.

Congratulations to NEIEP and Work Preservation on their outstanding job at the Ohio State House highlighting the training each and every elevator constructor must go through to be come a mechanic and the continuing education available to them. The program targeted Ohio’s House and Senate members as well as the staff of the Ohio Department of Commerce Industrial Compliance Division and was meant to support efforts to pass the Elevator Safety Bill through the legislature. Currently 32 states have licensing of elevator constructors.

 

Where are they working?

Jeff Lindell and Dave Francis in Kentucky doing escalator work for Kone,

Scott Hicks and Ryan Todd in Westerville installing two cars for Schindler,

Brett Olofinn adjusting in Beachwood for Kone,

Pat McCann and Brian Owens installing a two stop and a three stop at UH Women’s and Children’s Hospital on Euclid for Thyssen,

John Logue and Brandon Alley at Cleveland Clinic S Building doing a five-car mod for Otis,

Bernie Sickle and Corey Ptak at Beachcliff Apartments in Westlake doing a jack for Schindler,

Tom Gombar and Tim Moore on the RTA route for Kone,

Anthony Metcalf and Mark Carollo at the Lorain County Courthouse doing a jack for Thyssen,

DJ Spring and Deven Shields at University Circle installing three cars for Otis,

Pat McCann and Brian Owens unloading jobs at Ursuline College and Cleveland Heights Communion of the Saints for Thyssen,

Jason Saunders and Lemroy Hurd at Trinity Towers doing a two-car mod for Otis,

John Patton, Heath Kramer, Todd Ross and Joe Gauker at Progressive Field opening the stadium,

Scott Hicks and Ryan Todd at the Van Aken District doing two six-stop cars for Schindler,

Jason Faber and Mike Hogan at Stouffer’s doing a door mod for Thyssen,

Dave Gnagy and Matt Carlton at WO Walker doing a two-car mod for Schindler,

Robin Eaton and Ray Mack at the Browns Stadium replacing travel cords for Kone,

Don Knapik and Jason Tischler at AECOM replacing travel cords and roller guides for Schindler,

John Brunner and Ernie Rodriguez installing a hydro in Beachwood Parking Garage for Schindler,

Tom Peska and Dan Varga at Scranton Road Church installing a four-stop hydro for Schindler,

Bob Meyer and Chris Scholle installing a four-stop hydro in North Royalton for Thyssen,

Dave Francis and Jeff Lindell at West 25th Street Lofts installing two six-stop cars and one service car for Kone.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the family of Brother Allan Greene who passed away March 21st.

As of this writing there is one mechanic and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
DKnapik@windstream.net

May ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

Just a few thoughts on Memorial Day…

We set aside Memorial Day to remember those that gave their last good measure and those that came home that have since passed on. Those that have served know that not all wounds are visible and many of the brothers and sisters they stood arm in arm with continue to fight a battle everyday with memories and demons on times past.

Two years ago I was riding Murray from Pittsburgh to Washington DC along the Great Allegheny Passage and C&O Canal when just past the Mason-Dixon Line I ran into Marty Wills (USMC) who was walking from Muskegon, Michigan to Camp Lejune, North Carolina to draw attention to the 22 veterans that commit suicide everyday. It was humbling to hear his story and even more humbling to think about those who survived the war zone and succumbed to the demons only they could see.

To those reading this that served in any capacity in the military, thank you for your service. Without people like yourself, America would never have become the great country that she is. To those of you that served in a war zone, I extend my most sincere gratitude and thankfulness that you returned home from your service to your family and are able to work in the best trade in the trades.

Take time to talk with these brothers and sisters.

Take time to hear their stories.

No one needs to make that number 23.

Congratulations go out to Joe Gauker for passing the Mechanics Exam. As I always say, the Mechanics Exam is the only unbiased evaluation of your knowledge of the trade you will ever have. Work smart and work safe!

Starting this fall there will be three apprentice classes to reduce the class size and give more opportunities for individualized instruction. I am also pleased to say that I am joining the instructing team. As of this writing I do not know how I will be used but, I am looking forward to the challenge of passing on what little I know to the next generation of constructors.

Two issues arose over the past month worth passing along regarding the contract and work we claim. A company was going to send two helpers to unload a truck while their mechanics were in training. The supervisor calling it in said it “wasn’t a big deal because it would be unloaded by a Lull anyway.” This is not the right answer. We unload the trucks, not the other trades or company drivers. Second, if drilling a hole is sub-contracted out a mechanic must be on the job the entire time including the assembly and disassembly of the rig.

Know your contract and know what it means. Do not give up our work.

Congratulations to NEIEP and Work Preservation on their outstanding job at the Ohio State House highlighting the training each and every elevator constructor must go through to be come a mechanic and the continuing education available to them. The program targeted Ohio’s House and Senate members as well as the staff of the Ohio Department of Commerce Industrial Compliance Division and was meant to support efforts to pass the Elevator Safety Bill through the legislature. Currently 32 states have licensing of elevator constructors.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the family of Brother Allan Greene who passed away March 21st.

As of this writing there is one mechanic and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
DKnapik@windstream.net

May ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Happy May Day!

The close of March 2018 brought to an end the career of Brother Ray Bowles. Ray was fortunate enough to have made a career at one of Cleveland’s premier properties, Landmark Office Tower.

I cannot say enough good about Ray. He was a long time officer of the Local, most recently serving as a Trustee. His steady hand and even manner helped guide the Local through some very rough times. He was also very willing to take the time to teach anyone who would ask about the in’s and outs of the equipment he shepherded over his 30-year tenure as a resident or answer any questions about the Local’s finances.

I was fortunate to substitute for Ray a couple of times when he took vacation. The job was intimidating but not overwhelming. When I showed up on Friday to shadow him for the day he gave me two things: a yellow wire nut and a single rag. When I asked what they were for he told me the wire nut was to block the Otis doors when I got off at a landing and the rag was to clean the equipment “and I’d better get them both back!”

And he did.

He also said that when someone could snatch the wire nut from his hands he would leave. Well, Pat Kenney snatched the nut.

The torch has been passed.

Local 17 will open up recruitment on July 16th. To apply for a position, the candidate must go to the NEIEP website, neiep.org, click on Careers and cursor does to the lower left of the page and select the option for Local 17, Cleveland. They must also complete all the requirements in order to be considered for a spot on the list. Good luck to all interested in joining the best local in the best trade in the trades.

The Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner has a new home. The 2018 edition of this annual crowd pleaser will be held on May 18, 2018 at Harry’s Steak House, 5664 Brecksville Rd, Independence, Ohio. As always, retirees are free and members pay $35 at the door. There is a choice this year of steak or chicken cordon bleu, so get your reservations in as soon as possible.

 

Where are they working?

John Goggin and Brian Chambers at the Federal Reserve hanging travel cords for Schindler,

Tony Kuhn and Ken Eaton installing two eight-stop hydros at Knickerbocker Apartments in Bay Village for Thyssen,

Tom Gombar and Tim Moore at RTA doing oil lines,

Jim Thompson and Pat Pollack doing a three car mod at Cedar-Brainard for Otis,

Chris Scholle is in Columbus on a rail crew at Mt. Carmel for Thyssen,

Chris Wyant and Zach Lanum at Sisters of Notre Dame installing two hydros for Schindler,

John Patton doing retrofits at Embassy Suites in North Canton for Kone,

Brendan Hyland and Russell Barrows at Vanguard Apartments in Beachwood for Kone,

John Goggin and Tim Lieb doing comp chains North Point for Schindler,

Brett Oloflin in from Local 45 adjusting at West 25th Street Lofts for Kone,

Christino DeJesus and Jim Rogers installing a five-stop 3300 at West 9th Street Lofts for Schindler,

Scott Hicks and Ryan Todd at Baldwin Wallace College installing a four-stop 3300 for Schindler,

John Patton and Heath Kramer at Stokes Federal Building shortening cables for Kone,

Brendan Hyland and Russell Barrow at the Cleveland Athletic Club installing two cars for Kone.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Brother John Larsen who passed away February 11 and retired Brother Ralph Butler who passed away February 15.

As of this writing there is one mechanic and two apprentices on the bench.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
Dknapik@windstream.net