July 2019 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

By the time this hits your mailbox in early July, Independence Day will be around the corner and I will again be on some sort of cycling adventure.  In the past my wanderlust took me to Boston and Portland, Maine, Albany to St. Albans, Vermont, Pittsburgh to DC and the Three C Tour (Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati) to dump a bottle of Lake Erie water into the Ohio River.  This year I’m at a bit of a loss to come up with some sort of destination.  The Seattle to Portland, Oregon run is probably not good due to wildfires and the Katy Trail across Missouri might be flooded out.


I don’t know why I have this affinity for the Cuyahoga River valley.  The Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trial cut through a swath of industrial, farm and park land stretching from Wendy Park on the Erie shore south past Akron and into the Amish enclave of Zoar in Tuscarawas County.  There is something beautifully transcendent about navigating a place where history and industry so intertwine and around every corner is another swatch of the tapestry that makes northeast Ohio a special destination. 

I’ve done several sections of this ride over the years as a warm up for other runs but, with new sections opening up to reconstruct the canal’s path it might be time to scratch that nagging itch of curiosity about what is around that next bend.  After all, that is what adventure is all about. 

The May Local 17 meeting was attended by IUEC Assistant Director of Organizing Dan Baumann and former Local 17 organizer Jim Lowery to answer questions on local and national organizing efforts.  

On the local front, Menard’s has moved into the Cleveland area and not allowed any of the Cleveland Building Trades signatories, including the elevator signatories, to bid on their work.  Instead the general contractor, McConnell Excavating, brought out of town non-union workers to build the new store on Brookpark Road.  As a response, the CBT and Local 17 picketed the job with over 100 tradesmen and the inflatable rat greeting passers by on Brookpark Road.  

The elevator was installed by out of town, non-signatory Able Elevator from Louisville, Kentucky.  According to Baumann, Able as well as Oracle, Delaware and Richmond Elevator are part of a national organizing effort.

Lowery talked about how the successful three year effort of Local 17 to organize Gable Elevator has become a template for running an organizing campaign for the International.  “The campaign was so well run we are applying the lessons learned here to other locals around the country.”  He pointed to efforts in Louisville and Dallas/Fort Worth as locals using the Cleveland model.

On May 17, Local 17 held the annual Retiree’s Dinner at Harry’s Steak House in Independence.  Five retired Brothers: Ray Bowles, Mark Carollo, Ken Eaton, Robin Eaton and Scott Runyon received their Gold Cards and plaques from the International.  For full photo coverage, go to the Local’s website, iueclocal17.org.

The 2019 Local 17 Golf Outing was held on Saturday, June 1 at Hickory Nut Golf Course.  There were 60 members and guests shooting 18 holes of golf on a pleasant Ohio day.  The big winners of the day were Jeff and Scott Ward with a combined 7-under par 67 for the day. 

Brunswick Ward 3 Councilwoman Sister Andrea Rodriguez is holding a campaign fundraiser golf outing on July 26th at Bunker Hill Golf Course, 3060 Pearl Road, Medina.  The cost is $85 for golf and dinner or $30 for dinner only is paid before July 19.  For more information contact Chad Gibson at chad@bunkerhillgc.com.

As of this writing the bench is empty.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



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