September 2015 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

International organizer Jim Lowery was in Cleveland for the July meeting to talk with the members about organizing efforts around the country and support the our current local Volunteer Organizing Committee efforts.

The video presentations of members Lowery and others have stripped form non-signatory companies and produced by NEIEP will be available shortly on line at with a link on the Local 17 web page. The videos give actual members who made the choice to come over to the IUEC from non-signatories the chance to tell why they made the leap. For many it was a very emotional and difficult change because of what they were told to expect by their former employers. There were others who have strong ties to those still working at those non-signatories and are actively attempting to bring them into the IUEC family.

Lowery also talked about a failed election at Metro Elevator in his home district near Maryland. The employees were reportedly being shortchanged on their contributions to Social Security and both federal and state taxes by under reporting wages on their pay check and other practices. While everyone knew about the potential legal and tax implications of the practice, it was the IUEC that stepped in even after losing the election to support the workers in getting the proper credit for their time to Social Security. Metro is currently being investigated by the IRS and Department of Labor for these practices.

The Local 17 VOC hand billed two jobs in July. The first is the tear-out modernization being done by non-signatory Gable Elevator at the Board of Elections job. The response from everyone on both sides was very positive and the literature made it into the job. The second was an informational hand billing at CMHA’s Riverview Apartments on West 25th Street near Lutheran Hospital. This job, as of this writing has not been awarded but, the hand bill emphasized the questions that residents and visitors should be asking of the building manager about the skills of the elevator technicians working in their building.

Lowery also talked about some of the soft skills needed when approaching employees of non-signatories. “First off realize that these are men and women who are working just like you are to make a good lifer themselves and their families. They also may not know about everything that we have (benefits, 401k, annuity, vacation pay, etc.) or may have misconceptions about what it means to be a union members.” He went on to give examples from his experience of workers who did not understand all we had. His final words to us were “the one thing you have to remember is to treat them like you would want to be treated. No one wants to be part of a group were they feel unwelcome.”
Where are they working?

Mike Miller and Matt Page installing an elevator at Honda Motor Cars on Mayfield Road for Otis,

Neil Beechuck and Kevin Driscoll installing a hydro at Ohio Caterpillar for Thyssen,

Jeff Ward and Nick Meyer replacing cables at Beacon Place for Thyssen,

Don Knapik and Ken Jung doing safety tests and generator repairs at 55 Public Square for Schindler,

Gerard Szmerkovsky and Craig Nolty installing a hydro at Cleveland Heights Apartments for Otis,

John Patton and Tom Gombar replacing travel cables at Bushman Industries for Kone,

Bill Yuhas and Bill Dudas repairing water damage at Upper Chester for Thyssen,

Jason Norman from Local 45 (Akron), Brendan Hyland, Dave Gnagy, Matt Hausler, Tim Moore, Joe Gauker, Joe Reyes and Zach Lanum at the Hilton Hotel job for Kone.

As of this writing there are seven mechanics on the bench.

Until net month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


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