December ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

At the November meeting Sister Andrea Rodriquez reported on the Women Build Nations Conference held October 12-14 in Seattle, Washington.  Rodriguez and her husband, fellow Local 17 member Ernie, were among the 130 attendees representing the IUEC at the conference.  Of the 2000 tradeswomen in attendance, 58 were working IUEC members.  “The incredible show of support from the IUEC is astounding but, the sisterhood within the IUEC and combined trades alike was like nothing I’d ever experienced.”

Attendees had a selection of trade specific caucuses as well as CORE classes on labor history, collective bargaining and other labor related subjects.

“Knowing we are not forging through this as alone as many of us thought has been an empowering experience.  Making connections and bonding with Sisters that share in our realities has created a force that will forever change the culture of our trades.” 

A large thank you to all the trades for the effort to educate US Senators and Congressmen about the issues facing pension plans.  According to IUEC General Secretary-Treasurer Larry McGann all hearings by the Select Committee on Pension Solvency have been held and their final recommendation is pending.  This is the committee charged with finding a solution to the underfunding issues faced by many multi-employer pension plans.  

The spring semester starts the first week of February.  If you have any questions about class assignments, call Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at

John Taylor recently completed the first motor alignment class.  The next round of classes will begin soon so if you are interested in signing up, contact John Driscoll at the hall for further information.

For those of who are being asked to have a background check done for work related purposes, the check can only be for criminal background and not financial.  Your employer can only receive a pass or fail result.  If you have any questions, contact the Hall.

Notice:  The December 14, 2018 and January 11, 2019 meetings are Mandatory Meetings for the election and installation of officers.  Fines will be levied for non-attendance.

The Brothers and Sisters of IUEC Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Brother Jeff Ford whose father passed away and retired Brother John Lopiccolo who lost his wife.

As of this writing there is one apprentice on the bench. 

December ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Since we last talked the trade had two more fatalities.  I’m sure by now all the rumors and speculation have run rampant, companies have reminded employees about the penal aspects of their safety policies, appropriate memorials have been said and two more families have loved ones not coming home from work tonight.

An all too familiar refrain.

A few years back, I took an escalator callback at one of the Greater Cleveland RTA train stations.  After barricading the bottom of the unit, I went to the top, removed the top floor plates and went looking for the errant switch that stopped the unit.  When I was sure I found and repaired the problem, I turned the unit on and stood at the top to observe operation.  After a few minutes I saw people rising up the unit and immediately hit the stop switch before the lead person was able to fall into the running steps.  

After explaining that I couldn’t let them continue on and pointing out the elevator, all but one walked back down.  He was taller than me, larger than me and had on a TSA uniform.  I did my best to stay professional and held firm that he walk down.  After a few minutes of rising tension and a growing crowd, I said to him “when I’m at the airport that is your world. You are in charge.  Inside these barricades is my world.  I’m in charge.”  I then pointed out the cameras trained on us and my access to Load Dispatch and the RTA police and asked him if he would like them to explain things.

After grunting a few not so subtle barbs, he relented, walked down and I continued with my repair.

I owned my job, my safety and ultimately the safety of those who chose to follow someone who blatantly disregarded the first safety rule:  don’t mess with a barricade.

I lost no sleep that night.

Just a reminder that December 15th is the day for the Annual Local 17 Children’s Christmas Party held at the hall.  It is an event that is always well attended and a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and their families.  Santa will visit and pass out gifts to children 12 and under and, of course, there is entertainment for children of all ages.  The fun starts at 1 pm at the hall.

Where are they working:

Joe Sumph and Brian Bond doing a mod at Westerly for Schindler,

John Goggin and Matt Herbold recabling at Penton Media for Schindler,

Gary Thompson and Brian Siether at Moreland Courts doing a mod for Schindler,

Jeff Lindell and Dave Francis at North Coast Harbor installing a four-stop, 

Dave Adrian and Zach Miller doing service work at the steel mill for Otis,

Bill Dudas and Tony Kuhn doing a two-car mod at the Drake for Thyssen,

Jeff Ward and Rob Zadravec replacing a machine at Case for Thyssen,

Dave Gnagy and Matt Carlton at Executive Commons in Woodmere doing a two-car mod for Schindler,

Chris Wyant and Chris DeJesus at Danbury Nursing Home in Mentor installing two 2-stop hydros for Schindler,

John Logue and Pat Pollack at Bridlewood Apartments in North Olmsted doing a two-car mod for Otis,

Scott ticks and Ernie Rodriguez at Middleburg Residence Hall installing two 4-stop are for Schindler,

Scott Villanueva and Bob Connelly at Fairview Parking Garage doing a mod for Otis,

Tim Wood and Zach Lanum doing safety tests for Thyssen,

Dave Dietz and Jason Tischler at Crowne Centre replacing six door operators for Schindler,

DJ Spring and Deven Shields at the Cleveland Clinic Dental School installing three  4-stop traction cars for Otis,

As of this writing there are two mechanics and two apprentices on the bench.

Until next month…

Happy Holidays, work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


November ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

Since we last talked the IUEC lost another Brother to an on the job accident.  On October 24, 2018 in Local 93 (Nashville) Brother Daniel Jones, a 26 year old apprentice working for Nashville Machine Elevator Co., lost his life. No further details are available at this time. 

This marks the second time in as many months the IUEC lost a Brother in the field.  Another time all the proper prayers will be said.  Another time condolences will be passed along and another time a husband, father, son and Brother will not come home from work. No matter who you are reading this.  No matter what trade you practice.  No matter what it takes to go home every night… 

I don’t want to write your obituary.


Starting this school year, all apprentices will be required to complete Practical Exams which count toward points on the Mechanics Exam.  The purpose of the Practical is to demonstrate proficiency in specific skills required in the field.  NEIEP has chosen which skills in the particular courses it wants to test, how it will test those skills and to what set of standards those skills will be scored.  

Currently RC 500 will be required to complete this exam before the end of the year.  An exam for RC 700 is close to complete and is planned to be rolled out before June.  Eventually seven of the eight courses will have Practical Exams attached to them.  More information will be given as the time nears for administering the exams.

Jerry Reitz and John Taylor went to the motor alignment class and are expecting to start the first session on Tuesday, November 13th.  This is a three-night class to teach the fundamentals of motor alignment.  Based on demand there will be more classes after the holidays.  If you have not signed up please contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr. at 216-431-8088 or email him at 

On December 15 IUEC Local 17 will hold its annual Children’s Christmas Party at the hall Located at 3250 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland.  This is always a well attended event with food entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus for the children.  The event starts at 1 pm.

The meetings held on December 14, 2018 and January 11, 2019 are Special Called Mandatory Meetings for the election and installation of officers. There is a $20 fine for non-attendance.  If you have any questions, contact John.

Carrissa Berret of the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund did a presentation on September 27th for IUEC Locals 17 and 45 (Akron) signatory companies on money available through the Fund to offset the difference between their prices and those charged by non-signatory companies.  There was also information available on money available for residential work, an area being heavily pushed by the International.  Kone, Schindler, Thyssen, Gable and another Akron-based independent sent sales people to the event.  

As of this writing there are two mechanics and two apprentices on the bench.

November ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

As you read this there will be less than a week until the mid-term elections.  

Everyone votes for a candidate based on whatever criteria is foremost in their mind at the moment. The Second Amendment, women’s issues, immigration, LGBTQ, farm subsidies, judicial appointments and water rights are all examples of wedge issues politicians and their surrogates use to create rifts among voters.  

We in the trades and, for that fact, anyone who works need to take a close look at just how our representatives really represent us.  Do they support policies that keep the cost of living low?  What about infrastructure issues like bridges, roads and mass transit?  Do they support workers rights to organize?  What about their stance on pension solvency?  Maintaining health insurance for the underserved so providers can get paid for their services?  Keeping our water drinkable and air breathable?  What are their thoughts about school safety and dealing with the issues underlying its problems?  What about decency, consistency and stability in our government?

Our standard of living was raised by men and women who bled and fell in picket lines and sweatshops.  Men and women who died to make their children’s life better.

These are answers that real working men and women of all sides of the spectrum require.  This is where we in the trades need to make a stand.  

Special Meeting Notice.  The November 9, 2018, December 14, 2018 and January 11, 2019 meetings are Special Called Meetings for the purpose of nomination, election and installation of officers.  A $20 fine will be assessed for non-attendance.

Every member should have received a letter inviting them to the 2018 Local 17 Children’s Christmas Party being held Saturday, December 15th at the hall located at 3250 Euclid Avenue.  This is always a well attended event with entertainment and age appropriate gifts for children 12 and under as well as a visit by Santa.  Please send in your response ASAP.

Letters were sent out to all the companies informing them that apprentice raises went into effect for the first full pay period after September 1.  If you did not receive a raise or are unsure of what your pay rate is supposed to be, call Business Agent John Driscoll, Jr. at the hall at 216-431-8088.  

Congratulations to Brother Steve Keating who passed the mechanics exam in August.  Work safe and live to enjoy your retirement.

Where are they working?

Dave Francis and Jeff Lindell unloading at Beacon Place for Kone,

Jim Rogers and Ernie Rodriguez installing one four-stop 3300 for Schindler at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School,

Joe Simcic and Morgan Armstrong installing a three-stop for Otis at Wilbur Wright Elementary School,

Matt Hausler and Mack Carollo at Linden House doing a jack for Thyssen,

Mark Ondich and John Goggin roping at NRG for Schindler,

Ken Bowles, Shane Huff, John Logue and Pat Pollock doing a modernization at Andrews Place Nursing Home in Mentor for Otis,

Jason Barnett and Dan Yoho from Local 45 installing a 3300 for Schindler in Painesville,

John Goggin, Ryan Oullette and Brian Chambers cabling at Penton Media for Schindler,

Tom Peska and Ernie Rodriguez installing a two-stop hydro at Warrensville and Cedar for Schindler,

John Goggin and Don Knapik shortening cables at CSU for Schindler,

Tom Kelly and Cory Huhn at Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls doing a jack for Otis,

Shawn Yatsko, Rob Timko, Ryan Todd, Dan Varga, Gary Thompson, Brian Siether, Mark Byram and Felix DeJesus doing a six-car mod at Moreland Courts for Schindler,

Pat McCann and Brian Owens installing two three-stop MRLs at Tri-C Downtown for Thyssen,

Dave Adrian and Zach Miller at CWRU Lot 54 doing sills replacement for Otis,

John Goggin and Ed Gimmel replacing a worn worm gear at Four Seasons for Schindler.

The Brothers and Sisters of the Local send their condolences to the families of retired Brothers Joe Miranda who lost his wife and Robin Eaton whose mother passed away.

As of this writing there is one mechanic on the bench.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


October ’18 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

Everyone should have received letters about the proposed Congressional changes to the formula used to calculate pension solvency.  If enacted as proposed the pensions being paid out to retired IUEC members and their spouses would be cut to a third of the current payout and or result in a substantial increase to employer contributions to the fund to maintain solvency.  The recommendations by the Senate committee will come after election day which makes it even more important that your voice be heard prior to November 6.  Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. has a complete list of contact information for both Ohio Senators and the entire Congressional delegation.  He can be reached at the hall at 216-431-8088 or by email at

Make your voice heard!

The meetings to be held November 9, 2018 December 14, 2018 and January 11, 2019 are Special Called Meetings for the nomination, election and installation of officers.  A $20 fine will be assessed for non-attendance.

The 2018 IUEC Local 17 Children’s Christmas Party will be held Saturday, December 15 at the hall located at 3250 Euclid Avenue. There will be entertainment and age appropriate gifts for children up to age 12 as well as a visit by that “right jolly old elf” himself.  This is always a fun time for children and adults.  To secure your place, return the letter from the last dues statement to John ASAP.

IUEC Local 17 had 117 applicants make it through the written test portion of the apprenticeship application process to join 65 returning potential constructors from the old list for a total of 282 applicants.  Good luck to those men and women applying to be apart of the best trade in the trades.

Congratulations to Brother Steve Keating for passing the mechanics exam.  This is the only unbiased measure of your knowledge as a n elevator constructor you will have,  Work safe and eventually enjoy your retirement.

The Brothers and sisters of IUEC Local 17 wish to extend their condolences to the families of retired Brothers Joe Miranda who lost his wife and Robin Eaton whose mother passed away.  

As of this writing there is one mechanic on the bench.

October ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters,

As I write this, Senator John McCain is being laid to rest.  I won’t go into his resume, that has been well documented and commented on in the media, instead I sit here and ponder the effect it has on his family and his affect on America.

It has been an emotional week for the McCain family as they attended services for the late Senator in Phoenix, the Capitol rotunda and the National Cathedral before his burial at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Through it all his daughter Meghan has stood front center in forcefully speaking for her father and the ideals he stood for over his long public life.  The following excerpt from her final tribute I believe sums up his life and the America he believed in.

Meghan McCain told mourners at the cathedral: “We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness.

“The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served.

“The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold, she is resourceful and confident and secure, she meets her responsibilities, she speaks quietly because she is strong. 

“America does not boast, because she does not need to. The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.”

Well said Meghan.  Well said.

Since this is October, the election cycle is moving into high gear.  If you are not registered to vote or have moved since the last election, you need to either register or change your registry.  The deadline to do so is October 9th.  You can do this at many government offices including the DMV and your local county board of elections.  

If you don’t vote, don’t complain!

The Local 17 softball team once again made their presence known at the Cleveland Building Trades Tournament at Day Park in Parma.  Even with a strong scoring effort in the second elimination game, our men went 0-2 for the tournament.  A large thank you goes out to Brothers Ryan Todd for organizing the team and Mike Moennich for taking the mound and entering the Local in the tournament.

All apprentices should be comfortably engrossed in their studies with Brothers Jerry Reitz, Lucas Jenke and Tim Narowitz leading the classes.  The motor alignment class being taught by John Taylor will be starting soon.  Those mechanics who are signed up need to be looking for starting times and dates.  If there is a class you would like to take, contact Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at

By now the apprentice list should be out and new faces filtering into the trade.  To those that work with these new apprentices, remember that we all stood in their shoes.  It is your responsibility as the first mechanic they work with to create the kind of environment some of us wish we had when we started in the trade.  Emphasis on safety and safe work practices is no longer optional, it must be the primary everyday, ongoing lesson which will keep them, you and those working around you alive.  

Some of the incoming apprentices will have experience in other trades.  We need to teach them the unique aspects of our trade and apply their knowledge to what we do.  This makes our job and their learning process easier.

No job is a rush job where safety is concerned.  That goes for all of us.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.