December ’12 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

There is a lot going on so let’s get started…

There is a signup sheet for an OSHA 10 class.  The class leads to a receiving an OSHA 10 card which is vital to gaining access to many construction job sites.

NEIEP has recently partnered with Goddard College to offer elevator constructors the opportunity to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Goddard, a liberal arts institution based in Plainfield, Vermont recently assessed the NEIEP curriculum and recognized the apprenticeship program as the equivalent of 52 credits towards the 120 credit hours needed for a BA degree.  NEIEP students can also apply to transfer credits from previously completed college studies toward their degree.  If you are interested in looking into this unique opportunity you can visit the Goddard website at goddard.edu or call Business Agent Tim Moennich at the hall.

The State of Ohio is doing a survey of the building trades to update their information of prevailing wages across the state.  As you know, union and non-union contractors bidding on prevailing wage jobs have to pay the prevailing wages in the area.  In the last four years the number of cases brought up by the Obama administration for prevailing wages has dramatically increased and that trend is expected to continue.

At the Tri-State meeting organizers from the International reported that non-union Oracle Elevator is in trouble.  They recently lost the lucrative Ohio State University contract after two of their best mechanics were placed with Local 34 (Indianapolis) and are having a hard time doing any business in Columbus.

Also at the meeting, General President Frank Christensen reported that the supervisors are continuing to give away our work.  He advised that if you see “work by others” on a print and you know it is work we claim, just do it.

The International advises that nobody should sign the Schindler vehicle policy.  There is a DMV form which has been approved by the International.  If you have any questions, as always, call Tim.

We are very fortunate at IUEC Local 17 to be at full employment with many out-of-towners in our ranks.  A quick survey of six locals (Boston, Akron, Baltimore, Louisville, Toledo and Columbus) shows that out of 2037 members represented 244 are out of work.  Boston leads with 192 of the total unemployed and 1258 of the total members.

Another quick tidbit… in 1996 there were seven working constructors for every retiree.  In 2012 the ratio is two to one.

Congratulations to everyone that came out and voted in the November general elections.  Your vote did make a difference!  Organized labor came out large for President Obama and Senator Brown to help them retain their seats.  Unfortunately we lost friends in Dennis Kucinich and Betty Sutton, both of whom were caught in gerrymandered district fights.

I have been following politics since I was knee high to a grasshopper and have always considered myself a junky.  I lived for the next election night victory high and feared the crash of a loss.  For years politics was my opium and I chased the dragon.

It seems to me that every election cycle presents worse attacks than the previous iteration.  This year was no exception.  The fear porn and outright lies extolled by the Right made me sick.

Days before the election I received a call from a woman in a Republican call center in Cincinnati.  After she spent five minutes trying to scare me into voting AGAINST Obama I asked her why I should vote FOR Mitt Romney.  Her main reason came down to “he’s not Barack Obama.”  I then went through her whole script and pointed out where fear porn AGAINST something is not a reason to vote the other way.  After some prodding she said her main fear was that America was going socialist and I told her we were too far along that road to go back to the democracy we were taught about in school.  But that is a conversation for another time.

The one thing I’ve learned about election night is that more times than not, the electorate make the correct decision.  Like them or not, in our lifetimes men like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush 41 and 43 and even Nixon, Ford and Carter all defined the times they lead in.  Barack Obama is no exception.  My most sincere hope is that as he moves forward in a second term, we see the leader we so expected in the first.

Where is my methadone?