January ’12 Article to the Cleveland Citizen

January 13th is a mandatory meeting for the installation of officers.  If you do not attend and are not on vacation or working overtime that night, then you will be subject to a $20 fine.

NEIEP is offering three opportunities for continuing education this first quarter.  The first opportunity is a three-night OSHA 10 class to be taught by John Taylor.  The dates are yet to be determined.  Second is another welding class leading to 3G and 4G certification.  It will be taught over two weeks from 5pm to 9pm at Lincoln Electric, the world leader in arc welding equipment headquartered in Euclid, Ohio.  For proposed class dates and other details, contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088.

Lastly, NEIEP has developed a number of new online courses, labs and videos covering a number of topics. These are all offered at no cost to constructors.  If you have a particular class you would be interested in seeing Local 17 offer, please contact Tim as our instructors are willing to start a class if there is enough interest.

Congratulations to Brother John Goggin for being the first member of Local 17 to receive his signalman’s certification.  This is an online course offered through NEIEP and completed with a written and oral examination by the NEIEP area coordinator.  It is free and offered to all elevator constructors.

Brother Tom Koch will be stepping down this year from the school board.  On behalf of everyone in the local and in particular those that have had the honor of being your students, I would like to say thank you for the dedication and patience you have shown to everyone you have touched through the years.  You have made a positive impact on the trade in general and Local 17 in particular.  We are all richer for your efforts.  His spot will be taken in January by Jerry Reitz.

If you have not started to save money for the end of the contract, start now! The new year is a great opportunity to get a handle on your income and potential expenses for the future.  People never plan to fail they just fail to plan.


Make it Something Great


I’m sitting here on the cusp of 2012 pondering the year that has been, to put things lightly, tumultuous at the least and revolutionary in so many ways.

We started off the year with a slew of new governors, most notably Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and our own John Kasich, ramming through public-sector collective bargaining bills that limited union negotiations on a variety of issues.  We in Ohio repealed SB 5 in such a landslide that our once boastful governor looked like a schoolboy who just took a whipping from his headmaster on election night.  It was a great win for labor and sent a clear message about the power that well organized groups can still have on our political class.

This coincided with the Arab Spring that over threw long entrenched dictators from Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and the continuing struggle to unseat the leader of Syria.  While these countries are not progressing in the American mold of freedom, they are creating their own expression of democracy that suits their Arab heritage.  The quandary is whether these new governments will be friendly to America or become radical Islamic states.  Essentially overthrowing the dictator they knew for the dictator they did not know.  Now with the recent death of Kim Jong Il, North Korea has a young and untested leader with his finger on the nuclear button.  Keep that in your sights for 2012.

In America we have the Occupy movement which has succeeded in raising the awareness of the 99% that live under the Golden Rule (the one percent with the gold makes the rules for the 99%) to the excesses of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve.  In Oakland they shut down the port in support of the Longshoremen and were attacked in several cities by the police force with no provocation.  The attempts by the establishment to frame them as old hippies getting their last kicks before retiring to Florida have failed because the face of these protestors is young, clean shaven and linked together by social networks.  This makes it very difficult to cut off the head of the movement because there is no central figure to demonize.  The only way to smash them is to crush the idea that freedom exists in America and the idea this republic was founded upon the preservation of individual liberty is a fallacy.  The push back on these protestors is either the death throw of the old guard or the institution of more liberty seizing programs by the self-appointed rectors of all that is good.

It is because of Occupy and the Arab Spring that Time Magazine named the protestor as their person of the year.  A prediction… Occupy will gel into a true political movement and be a force in 2012 like the Tea Party on the right.

We now have the traveling circus called the GOP primary with its calliope of revolving frontrunners.  My prediction for 2012… the one to come out of this mess to run against President Obama will be the winner of a war of attrition that will fracture the GOP and give the president a second term.

If you have been watching the History Channel with any frequency you know that the Mayan long count calendar ends on December 21, 2012, the winter solstice and shortest day of the year.  While I do not believe that we are on the dawn of the biblical Apocalypse, I do believe that this year, with all the tumult leading into it, will be a small “A” apocalypse for the entrenched powers seeking nothing more than their own selfish agenda.  What can and must rise out of the ashes of 2011 is a new realization that the old paradigm is over and a new thought process that encompasses our new reality has taken hold.

Facebook has succeeded where eons of religion, politics, geography, philosophy, art, literature, war, peace, education, money, TV, radio and newspapers all failed.  We are all now linked into each other in ways no one has ever dreamed.  The question then becomes… is this new linked reality good or evil?  A tool is not inherently good or evil.  The new reality will be what we make it.

Make it something great.


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