May ’14 Labor Citizen

Over the years, the celebration of May Day has brought a sense of joy, sadness and fear. Originally May Day began as a celebration of summer, planting and new life by Celtic and Germanic tribes as a way of cleaning house and shedding winter garb.

Think about it, when does Spring cleaning start in earnest?

Around the end of April beginning of May when the weather is more receptive to outdoor activities. On the morning of May 1st in St. Andrews, Scotland locals celebrate with a torch light procession to the North Sea where revelers plunge into the sea naked. In Germany, the day is traditionally celebrated with festivals and the delivery of a streamer draped tree or pole to the home of a love interest.

In America, May Day has a bloodier connotation. In 1886 four strikers at McCormick Harvesting Machine Works were killed by police. As a response a May 1st rally was called for at Chicago’s Haymarket Square. When police tried to disperse the crowd, a bomb went off and the resulting police riot left at twelve dead. Four alleged anarchists were later tried and hanged for their part at the rally. In the wake of this bloodbath the Second International of the Communist Party, trying to seize the mind and hearts of their American comrades, appropriated the date as International Workers Day and, for years, celebrated it with military parades. Since then uttering the phrase “Happy May Day” branded you as a Fellow Traveler and in the 1950’s would have given you a front row seat to meet Senator Joe McCarthy.

As for me, when I wish someone a Happy May Day it is more in the vein of my Celtic and Germanic friends than the Second International. I also take a moment to remember the men and women who bled in the streets for our right to organize for a better life. So fellow travelers however you choose to take it…


Two notes for apprentices. First, the last day to make up missed classes is May 29th. Second, turn in your completed OJT forms or you will be called to appear in front of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee.

For those with 2G and 3G welding certification, section D1.1 of the requirements says that in order to maintain your certification, you must make at least one documented shielded arc weld every six months. It is your responsibility to maintain your documentation and have a supervisor sign-off on your welds. If your certification lapses you have to private pay for the cost of recertification. NEIEP will not cover recertification.

If you are working as an assistant mechanic, please check to be sure that your Appendix A forms are being signed by yourself, the company and the union. This will avoid future problems.

On April 3rd the Volunteer Organizing Committee hand billed the businesses and apartments on East 4th Street. The effort was to raise awareness of the residents and patrons of the neighborhood to issues of elevator safety. The response to the hand billing has been encouraging for the VOC. There are several other actions planned for the coming months and the local needs the help of everyone in the trades to protect not only the elevator work but the work of all the trades. If you are on vacation and stay in a hotel where there is renovation going on, ask the owner or manager if they are employing union labor. If they aren’t, go somewhere else. This is a way of voicing your fraternity with our fellow tradesmen and keeping your money earned by union labor supporting union labor.

The VOC is also asking all trades to keep reporting to our hall anytime they see a non-signatory on their job. This has been a successful effort and aided the Committee in identifying several buildings for follow-up by Business Manager Tim Moennich, our International organizer or members of the committee. IUEC Local 17 signatories are Kone, Maximum, Otis, Schindler, Ross and Thyssen-Krupp Elevator. Tim can be reached at 216-431-8808 or emailed at

IUEC Local 17 sends its condolences to Brother Bob Kobasic whose father, Ed, passed away. We also send condolences to the friends and family of Brothers Jim, John and Tom Goggin on the untimely passing of Jim’s son James. James was a member of IUEC Local 45 (Akron) and recently initiated into this great trade.

As of this writing there are five mechanics out of work.

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