September ’13 Labor Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

 There were four members of IUEC Local 17 eligible for the Mechanics Exam held on September 11.  As all journeymen know, the final exam of your apprenticeship is actually the easiest one you take.  The true test comes every day after that when you have to balance the pressures of safety on the job, company imposed time restraints and the desire to do your best as a union craftsman.  These are not always easy obstacles to overcome.  Sometimes, when the sun, moon and stars are all in alignment, the job moves forward flawlessly to the satisfaction of all.  Sometimes Mr. Murphy visits the job and the best laid plans fly out the window.

An airline mechanic friend once summarized the philosophy of the industry as “if you find it, fix it because that is one less thing to make the aircraft crash.”  For the most part, this culture of safety has resulted in the airline industry having a very good safety track record.  Because the elevator industry is unique in our scope of work and our exposure to the general public after the pile of parts becomes a living, breathing machine, we have a special responsibility to the riding public to ensure their mode of transportation is, first and foremost, safe and then reliable.  If this means taking extra time to reset the actuating pressure or speed of a safety device, take it.  If that means leaving a unit down until the proper adjustment can be made, take it.  It is far better to error on the side of safety than to leave a safety device designed to protect the public in a state that will never allow it to work.

Think about it like this:  when you’re done with a job, would you feel good about having your family ride than elevator or escalator?  If you have a nagging voice saying “no” then damn the yelling you’re going to get.  Do the job right.

After 138 years in business, Edmonds Elevator, Cleveland’s oldest independent elevator company, was purchased by Thyssen Krupp effective July 1.  In a letter to Local 17, former Edmonds president Tina Schaffer said “I would like to thank you (Tim Moennich) and the union board members and local members for being so supportive and helpful while we transitioned through the personal and company loss of Big Mike (Schaffer).  You will never fully understand how much that meant to me but I assure you it did not go unnoticed.”  Big Mike Schaffer passed away last year.

Local 17 is left with six signatory companies:  the four majors (Kone, Otis, Schindler and Thyssen) and two independents, Maximum and Ross.

The IUEC Local 17 softball team took another early exit from the Cleveland Building Trades Softball Tournament held again this year at James Day Park in Parma and the Euclid Community Center in Euclid.  In their first game, the intrepid team of softballers took a hard early loss to the IBEW B team 20-10.  The game was called in the sixth inning.  Redemption followed on Friday when Ironworkers 17 went down in the “Battle of 17’s” with the IUEC retaining the trophy 13 to 8.  It was Pipefitters 120 that became their undoing when a late rally in the seventh dropped the Constructors from the tournament in a 14-12 loss.

The one bright spot was Anthony Metcalf who, once again doing his best Babe Ruth, walloped two over the fence home runs, one of which being a grand slam and  added to that an inside the park grand slam to his total.  Ric Supinski was denied a sure multi-base hit when the home plate umpire called his Game 3 seventh inning hit down the third base line foul. That helped end the rally and secured the win for 120.

In honor of our brothers in the Other Local 17 and the topping off of the new Inner Belt Bridge, I was forwarded this last year by one of the IUEC members.

The Bridge Builder

By Will Allen Broomgoole

An old man going along a lone highway

Came at the evening cold and grey

To a chasm deep and wide

Through which was flowing a solemn tide.

The old man crossing in the twilight dim,

For the solemn stream had no fears of him.

But he turned when he faced the other side,

And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man” said a fellow pilgrim near,

“you’re wasting strength in building here.

Your journey will end with the end of day

You’ll never again pass this way.

You’ve crossed the chasm deep and wide,

Why build a bridge at the evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old grey head

“good friend, in the past I have come” he said

“There followeth after me today

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm that has been naught to me,

To the fair haired youth may a pitfall be.

He too must cross in the twilight dim.

Good friend, I’m building this bridge for him.”