September ’21 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

As the International revs up its preparations for the 32nd Convention being held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the end of the month, I want to share something I wrote on behalf of IUEC Local 17.

In March of this year, the Local voted to buy two advertisements in the convention book: one a congratulatory ad and the other a two-page spread of photos along with a short history of the Local. As your correspondent, I was tasked with preparing both of these pieces for the book. After going through my own personal archive spanning my time as correspondent to the journal and the photo albums prepared by former correspondent Eddie Ference and others, I selected 108 possible images for inclusion.

Some images, such as those of Brothers that left us far too soon, were of paramount importance for inclusion. Others represented touchstone points in our history which, when looked at individually, transcend time and speak to not only our past but, our present and future.

On September 26 the advertisements as well as the photos I selected for inclusion will be posted on the Local’s website,, for all to view. The text below is the history of the Local I wrote for the two-page spread.

Don Knapik

A Very Short Overview of Local 17 for the 32nd IUEC Convention

IUEC Local 17 was chartered November 5, 1903 with the objectives of “encouraging a high standard of skill among its members, cultivating a feeling of of friendship among the craft, obtaining and maintaining a fair wage, assisting each other in securing employment, protecting our jurisdiction and engaging in activities which further our interests.”

Local 17’s territory covers Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Lake and Lorain counties and the Local’s members are routinely found working in other jurisdictions. This is especially true as most of the Local’s signatory companies have regional or area operations which overlap other jurisdictions, especially Akron (Local 45).

The close relationship between Cleveland and Akron was highlighted by the three-year long organizing campaign for Gable Elevator of Twinsburg. Since Gable was headquartered in Akron’s territory but, also worked in Cleveland this created a special need for cooperation between the Locals. The Cleveland Volunteer Organizing Committee (VOC) took the lead in the effort and with the aid of Organizer Jim Lowery, the cooperation of Business Managers Tim Moennich of Cleveland and Dave Morrow of Akron, Gable became a signatory three years to the month from the first hand billing. After the campaign, the program pioneered by Local 17 was submitted to the International and now forms the basis for VOCs and organizing efforts across the union.

Local 17 has also made a special effort along with the International in recognizing the importance of mental health awareness and suicide prevention among its members and their families. The International has highlighted the need for awareness in the 2019 and 2020 October issues of the Elevator Constructor where services for those in crisis and their families are discussed in an open forum. The Local also financially supports several local charities, chief among them the Holy Family Cancer Home in Parma.

As with any human endeavor, there is a desire for togetherness and the Local holds several gatherings and dinners every year. The retirees are honored early on at the Retiree’s Dinner, followed by a golf outing, participation in the Cleveland trades softball tournament and the annual Children’s Christmas Party.

Throughout the years, Local 17 has strove to live up to the challenge laid down in its charter. With each succeeding generation of constructors building upon the foundation of those who came before, our predecessors efforts are never in vane. We as a Local and an International only have the view to see farther because we stand on the shoulders of these giants.

This is Cleveland. This is Local 17.

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