March ’13 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

There is a lot going on in IUEC Local 17 with education for our membership.  I am proud to report that IUEC Local 17 has thirteen members in its apprenticeship program.  This is the largest apprentice class the local has had in years and they are lucky enough to be instructed by Jerry Reitz.  Retired Brother John Taylor is currently teaching a mechanics class in the mysteries of solid-state motor control.

IUEC Local 17 is once again offering, in cooperation with NEIEP, the highly popular welding class taught at Lincoln Electric, the world leader in welding equipment and supplies.  The 40-hour class is geared to certifying the constructor in 3G (vertical up) and 4G (overhead) positions.  The class runs for two weeks and is four hours a night.  If you are interested in the welding class or any other educational opportunities offered by the local, please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

Please watch this space and the local’s website, iueclocal17.org, for information on an upcoming apprentice recruitment.  Dates and times have not been announced, but if you or anyone you know would like to enter this challenging trade then this is your time.

Sunday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and once again IUEC Local 17 will be taking part in the annual parade honoring Ireland’s favorite son.  This is always a well-attended family oriented event and everyone is encouraged to attend and march.  The route travels down Superior and we usually set up near the Plain Dealer building about East 20th Street.  This is a great opportunity to create memories and friendships that last a lifetime.

On Friday, April 19, 2013 IUEC Local 17 will honor our retired members at Frank Sterle’s Slovenian Restaurant, 1401 East 55th Street.  Refreshments will be served at 5:30 and dinner will begin at 6:30.  As always, this is a members only event.  The cost at the door is $30 per person and includes the family-style dinner.  All retired members attend for free, but a reply should be sent in for a reservation.  Please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at the hall for your reservation.

Saturday, June 1st is the date for the annual IUEC Local 17 Golf Outing to be held again this year at Mallard Creek Golf Course, 34500 Royalton Rd., Columbia Station.  It is a two-man scramble format over one of the best public courses in Cleveland.  Please watch this space for times and costs.

At the Tri-State meeting Local 17’s former organizer and recently appointed regional director, Jim Chapman, reported that Oracle Elevator, the Florida-based non-union elevator contractor, recently lost the highly lucrative contract at The Ohio State University.  This brings the total number of employees in their Columbus office down to four.  Oracle was started in 2004 by former Otis Elevator NA president Bill Miller and former NAES president Mark Boelhouwer.

It is no secret that Right-to-Work-For-Less is a top priority for the Republican-led statehouse. Their greatest ally in the struggle to drive down wages and benefits to workers is the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), an anti-union group based in Alexandria, Virginia.  The ABC’s agenda is to spread false information about union contractors and attempt to push anti-worker legislation like RTW through statehouse after statehouse.  To counter this movement, the AFL-CIO is looking for volunteers to work phone banks to educate the public about the issues relating to RTW and its consequences.  If you can give a couple of hours, please contact Tim at the hall for further information.

It seems as though Article IV work, or our work jurisdiction according to our contract, is constantly under assault by the companies.  Over the years there have been attempts to erode the work, mostly due to advances in technology like plug and play, we as elevator constructors perform in the field.  Remember when every push button box was hard wired?  Remember when making cross connects on construction or mod meant pulling a series of multi-cords between controllers?  Remember when controllers actually had relays?  These are all examples of how the industry has changed and our work has been given away in the name of progress.

Now the current ploy is to say that our company does not have anyone “qualified” to do the work.  Whether it is cab work, setting machine beams, boxing out cable holes, welding jacks or laying flooring if it goes in an elevator it is our work.  The only way to protect it is to stand up and say “this is work we claim under Article IV and according to the Standard Agreement signed between the union and companies it is to be done by union elevator constructors.”  Sometimes a boss will make excuses about giving it away.  Even though your boss did not sign the contract, someone higher than him did.  Remind him that when he gets to make decisions about the content of the contract and its approval, he can comment, otherwise he is as bound by it as we are.

It is, after all, a two-way street.