November ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Last month I wrote about Harvey devastating Texas. As I was on vacation bicycling the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, Irma tore through the Caribbean and then the Gulf side of Florida. Then, as if the region hadn’t seen enough, Maria destroyed Puerto Rico.

As of this writing, it is forecast that power will not be restored to the island for another five months. Shipping containers full of relief supplies are piling up at the dock because of a lack of truck drivers. In the rural areas there is no potable water, food or fuel for generators. The military is on site attempting to clear roads and restore services but, even their efforts are slowed by the severity of damage.

Please keep in mind that even though we are separated by an ocean, those in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands are every bit an American as those who trace their heritage to our founding fathers. This is the time when the IUEC can reach out to our Brother and Sister constructors on the island and help them put their lives back together so they can put Puerto Rico back together.

That is what being an International Union is all about.

At the IUEC national meeting there was a renewed emphasis on safety for members and the public. One of the interesting points was that in the last three years, three members died while working on the bottom floor door locks. These are arguably the hardest items to work on in a typical elevator installation. Members not doing proper local out-tag out and not taking full control of the elevator where cited as reasons for some of the fatalities. The International’s Safety Committee is working with OSHA to get more elevator language into the OSHA standards and with the companies to keep the field peoples phones from ringing while they are working on equipment.

Business Manager Tim Moennich was in Columbus with representatives of the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund working with State Representative Ron Young to gain his support for an elevator licensing bill for Ohio. 32 states currently require that anyone working on an elevator or escalator must be licensed by the state authority. This limits the ability of buildings to allow their maintenance people to work on the vertical transportation.

The following meetings are mandatory for the nomination, election and installation of officers: November 17, December 8 and January 12. All members must attend or have a valid reason properly communicated to the hall prior to the meeting. You can contact Tim at 216-431-8088 or by email at

Where are they working?

Mark Byram, Gary Thompson, Felix DeJesus and Brian Seither working on the mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Scott Villanueva and Zach Miller doing service work for Otis,

Bob Brady and Jason Saunders doing a four car mod at Trinity Towers for Otis,

DJ Spring, Al Ward, Andrea Rodriguez and Deven Shields installing three cars for Otis,

Joe Broz, Jr. and Andrew Daniels doing a mod at Willoughby Hills Apartments for Thyssen,

Don Kaiser and John McCuan song no-load safety tests for Schindler,

Don Knapik and Mike Beros installing key switches at 1717 for Schindler,

Tony Kuhn and Bob Connelly doing a four-car mod at PNC for Thyssen,

Drew Williams and Mark Carollo working in Toledo for Thyssen.


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

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


October ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

As I write this article, the images of the complete and total devastation of the Texas Gulf coast and the ramifications thereof are only beginning to come to light. According to press reports 33 people are confirmed dead, 311,000 are signed up for relief and the President is pledging $5.9 billion to the inundated region.

As elevator constructors the best at this writing we can do is keep our brothers and sisters and their families in the affected areas in our prayers and be prepared to supply the aid and relief they will so desperately require. I know that Locals will donate money to relief causes and the most generous of us will open our own wallets to help those in need. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are great resources for those who want their monetary or physical donations to go to where they are promised.

As those who worked through the damage done by Katerina and Sandy will no doubt testify, there will be ample work for all the trades in the aftermath of this storm. I would encourage those who are able to travel to talk to your superintendent about offering your services to the affected area.

Time after time in the aftermath of tragedy, America has put aside its divisions and rallied to the aid of those who found themselves in harms way. Who doesn’t quote from Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural speech “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” What about “a date which will live in infamy?”

Standing on the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, Lincoln said in part “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here. …from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

After Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its final flight, who could forget Ronald Reagan speaking to assembled nation about those brave explorers losing their lives as they were reaching for the stars? What about President Bush on the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers addressing the crowd from a bullhorn pledging to bring those responsible to justice? What of President Obama at the end of his address at Mother Emmanuel to those mourning the senseless loss of their loved ones spontaneously breaking into a hymn of forgiveness?

These are touchstone moments that defined the character of The United States of America to the world as more than an assemblage of those of random heritage and dubious lineage. However you as an individual may feel about those men and their politics, there is no way you can question the depth of their commitment to the nation which elected them to serve as Commander-In-Chief and their most important role: Comforter-In-Chief.

They defined us as a nation of character, willing to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual.

They defined us a nation of resolve willing to sacrifice for those we do not know that which we hold most precious.

They defined us a nation of compassion willing to hold up those who feel they can no longer stand up on their own.

They defined us as a nation united in principle, purpose and calling.

They defined us as The United States of America.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



September ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

As this issue of the Constructor is hitting your mailbox kids are going back to school, leaves are falling and I should be getting off the Lakeshore Limited in Albany, New York and beginning my 165 mile bike ride to St. Albans, Vermont. Whenever I write or talk about these adventures the inevitable questions becomes “why do you do it?” Well, there is no easy answer to that question.

The short answer is that I am a very restless person. The physical nature of cycling, the people I meet and experiences I have ground me to the belief that even though the world as a whole is a jumbled mess, people of different backgrounds connect best when they connect on a personal level. This is where all pretense falls away and genuine conversation begins. The road to sanity has to start somewhere. Mine starts in Albany.

Brother Tim Gibbons passed the mechanics exam and started on the route vacated by the now retired Brother Bruce Koprowski. The Local sends congratulations to both Tim and Bruce on these milestone achievements.

Hot on the heels of this spring’s walleye fishing charter, Entertainment Chairman Bill Dudas announced a second charter scheduled for Saturday, September 9th. The cost is $40 per person. The charter is limited to the first 30 people who sign up for the event. If you are interested, you can contact Business Manager Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at

Thank you to the 30 active and 40 retired members of Local 17 that attended this years Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner. For pictures of this always well attended event, go to and click on the Galleries tab.

There was enough interest in having someone from Mass Mutual, the company that administers the 401K and Annuity program for the IUEC, give a presentation on the plans that a representative will attend a Special Called Meeting to answer any questions. Watch this space or the Local’s website,, for more details.

If you are interested in getting involved in the 401K plan, you can inquire at your employers office. It is as simple as filling out a form and the returns can be impressive.

In a letter read in part by Tim at the July meeting, Assistant General President Jim Bender reminded all Locals that prior to starting any new construction or modernization job every member must notify the business office of the location of that job. This is a requirement of General Law XXVI No. 24.

Where are they working?

Drew Williams and Mark Carollo doing a mod at the Halle Building for Thyssen,

Joe Broz, Jr. and Andrew Daniels doing a mod at Willoughby Hills Towers for Thyssen,

Tom Gombar and Joe Gauker doing safety tests at NASA for Kone,

Pat McCann and Robert Connelly doing a four car mod at PNC for Thyssen,

Craig Nolty and Dan Koprowski installing a hydro at the Phoenix Building for Otis,

Dave Gnagy and Matt Carlton doing a four car mod at the Four Seasons for Schindler,

John Logue and Brandyn Alley doing a four car mod at the Cleveland Clinic for Otis,

Chris Scholle and Carl McBride installing an elevator at Lakewood High school for Thyssen,

Tony Kuhn and Ken Eaton doing a three car mod at Summit One for Thyssen,

DJ Spring and Deven Shields installing an elevator at the East 105th Street Parking Garage for Otis,

Al Ward and Andrea Rodriguez installing an elevator at Middle Park Academy for Otis,

Bernie Sickle and Chris Cook doing service work at the airport for Schindler.


The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Al Jerson who lost his father and retired Brother John Taylor who lost his daughter and two grand daughters.

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


Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


August ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Being this is reaching you in August, traditionally Ohio’s hottest month of the year, heat safety must be foremost in your daily planning. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) 45 people died as a result of extreme heat exposure in 2015 which is a dramatic increase over the 2014 total of 20 people but still well below the 10-year average of 113 fatalities. The age group most affected by the extreme heat is these over the age of 50 with 71% of the fatalities being men. There was no breakdown as to occupation or work-related fatalities in this data.

According to WebMD the hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Fainting may be the first sign. Other symptoms may include: throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat; red, hot, and dry skin; muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting; rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak; rapid, shallow breathing; behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering; seizures or unconsciousness.

If you suspect you have or your partner has any of these symptoms, contact 911 right away and attempt to cool their core temperature to at least 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. You can wet their skin with water and fan them with air; apply ice packs to the arm pits, groin, neck and back or immerse them in a tub of cool water.

Also, be aware that sweat can be conductive around live equipment. Always LOTO and confirm there is no current in the circuit. If you need to troubleshoot live, use the appropriate PPE and stay aware of your own physical state.

Quick action and recognition can save a life.

The Local 17 Annual Golf Outing will be held August 26th at Emerald Woods Golf Course,12501 N Boone Rd, Columbia Station. The $100 fee includes food, drink, prizes golf and a cart for the day. The format is once again a two man scramble. Please get your money and reservations into Business Manager Tim Moennich at the hall ASAP.

Do you have questions about retirement investment planning? Local 17 is planning a night with a representative from MassMutal, the company that administers the 401K for the IUEC, to give members and their spouses the chance to ask questions and learn about retirement investing options. This event is not limited to those nearing retirement. Choices made early on in your retirement planning can have long lasting effects on it’s eventual value. Contact Tim for more information on this important event.

There are also sign up sheets available for classes in CPR and scaffolding.

On Saturday, September 2 the North Shore Federation of Labor is holding its Fifth Annual Labor Day Festival at James Day Park in Parma adjacent to Tri-C. The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm and is free to the public. For kids there will be Jungle Bob, face painting and balloon art. For the adults look for great music, softball games and corn hole tournaments.

Where are they working?

Jerry Szermerkovsky, Lucas Jenke, Pat Kelly and John Smith installing 13 cars at the Cleveland Clinic Health Education Campus for Otis,

Jason Frederick and Rob Zadravec doing a mod at Normandy Towers for Thyssen,

Greg Seaman and Brian Chambers working at the airport for Schindler,

John Goggin and Cory Ptak doing sheave work at Sherry Park for Schindler,

Shawn Yatsko, Ken Jung, Ryan Todd, Robert Timko, Matt Herbolt and Dion Yatsko doing the mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Gary Thompson and Brian Siether continuing the mod at Erieview Tower for Schindler and,

Chris Scholle and Lemroy Hurd installing a car at Innova for Thyssen.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Don Knapik on the passing of his sister Carol.

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

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



July ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Happy Birthday America!

For the past three years, July 4th week has been a time for me to pack up my panniers, stock up my water bottles and spend the week seeing America from the seat of my bike. I’ve pedaled from Boston to Portland, Maine, rode a bottle of Lake Erie water from the East Ninth Street Pier to the Roebling Bridge and took a trip back in time from Confluence Park to Mile Post Zero on the GAP and C&O. My next adventure will take me from Albany to St. Albans, Vermont in September when the temperatures are a bit more forgiving for an extended trip.

I know that many of you share my interest in cycling and even more of you have a passion for the motorized version of two wheeled transportation. Whether we enjoy the rumble of the exhaust or the rhythm of the pedals our common element is our invisibility to the cars and trucks with whom we share the road. I have been remarkably lucky over the thousands of miles I’ve ridden on paths, back roads and main streets to never have been in a serious accident. In fact the only time I’ve been in danger was on US 42 just north of Cincinnati when I was run into the weeds by an 18-wheeler.

Here are some common sense points to keep in mind when on the road:
Where bright colors. You have a better chance of being seen in red than black.
Use a headlight and/or tail light. Flashing lights have better visibility than no lights.
Anticipate the traffic around you. You know what you are going to do but the texting teen eating the fast-food burger in the SUV next to you doesn’t.
Wear your safety gear. Hard hats and gloves are not just for work, they are also for play.
Pass along the word to stay alert.

To all the apprentices currently working in Local 17: make sure you are current on your OJT forms. When you are called to explain yourself in front of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee things can get really uncomfortable, especially if you are explaining yourself in front of your boss.

Local 17 recently received an EECO and Maxton valve lab supplied by NEIEP. The course covers the design, function, operation, repair and adjustment of the two most common valves in the field.

Business Manager Tim Moennich has a sign up sheet available for a session with a representative of Mass Mutual, the company that administers the 401K and annuity benefits for the International. The session will cover the workings of these two important parts of your retirement plan and give you the opportunity to ask any questions. The session is open to members and their spouses. For more information, please contact Tim at 216-431-8088 or email him at

Congratulations go out to Ryan Todd for being the latest member of Local 17 to pass the Mechanics Exam.


Where are they working?

Tom Gombar and Matt Hausler doing a jack job at Presidential Apartments for Kone,

Shawn Yatsko and Matt Herbold starting a mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Don Knapik and Joel Reyes doing full load safety tests at Perry Nuclear Power Plant for Schindler,

Ken Jung and Ryan Todd doing a mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Matt Weingart and Sean Canning installing elevators at the Garfield Building for Schindler, and

Heath Kramer and Todd Ross cabling at the Celebrezze Building for Kone.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Rob Hansen, Jr. on the passing of his father retired Brother Bob Hansen, Sr. and to Brother Ric Supinski on the passing of his father.

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

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



June ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

At the April meeting, International Organizer Jim Lowery spoke about the IUEC organizing efforts over the last year and how President Trump’s company stiffed an electrical contractor for $2 million.

Lowery talked about the Union City Daily newspaper report that an IBEW contractor was working at the new Trump International Hotel in DC and had not been paid for their work. “This is not a large company we are talking about that put out a significant amount of money and hasn’t been paid.” This is the former US Post Office the Trump Organization leased from the federal government and turned into a luxury hotel. This is also the same property where the President was under scrutiny for a potential conflict of interest.

Lowery then ticked off a list of successful campaigns and stripped employees, including a contractor doing work at VA hospitals around the country. When talking about other efforts, particularly within the federal government he said “there are several smaller companies that come in from out of town to do government work and then leave a mess behind them for our signatories to clean up.” The efforts to organize these companies continues.

When he turned his attention to Gable, he noted that the Cleveland market share for Local 17 jumped from about 86% to the “high 90 percent” range in commercial work and we are now the third largest organized market for home lifts in the International. Jim noted that Rick Gable has been working with the International to capture the home lift market, a sector on which the organizers have been told to place special emphasis. “There are several companies operating in the area that we would like to see come into the fold.”

Also at the April meeting Brother John Driscoll Jr., reported on the North American Building Trades legislative conference in Washington DC attended by him and Business Manager Tim Moennich. While the conference itself was informative and the two had many opportunities to talk with local legislators the highlight was the address given by President Trump. “The group was, except for one small protest during the speech, respectful of his position as President. He never once talked about Right-to-Work-for-less, Davis-Bacon, prevailing wage or any issues that we were interested in.”

NEIEP has a new online offering cover confined space training. The course is built on scenarios that describe relevant information to create awareness for how to work safely in and around confined spaces. To access the course login at

Congratulations to Brother Lucas Jenke who is the first apprentice to take the Mechanics Exam under the new format at Prometrics. He passed the exam on March 30th.

Where are they working?

Tom Gombar and Matt Hausler doing escalator work at NASA for Kone,

Kenny Jung and Ryan Todd doing safety tests for Schindler,

Drew Williams and Mark Carollo doing a two car mod at Edgewter Landing for Thyssen,

Todd Kemp and Nick Meyer doing and escalator clean down at GM for Thyssen,

Jim Thompson and Brian Siether doing a mod at Trinity Tower for Otis,

Ken Bowles and Shane Huff doing a mod at Metro General for Otis,

John Goggin and Brian Chambers at 1100 Superior doing service work for Schindler,

Jeff Ford and Jean LaFontaine doing escalator clean downs at Browns Stadium for Kone,

Heath Kramer and Todd Ross opening up escalators at Progressive Field for Kone,

Don Knapik and Ernesto Rodriguez doing full load safety tests at Penton Media for Schindler.


As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



May ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

Congratulations to the Labor Committee on their successful contract negotiations with NEBA and the ECA. All in all, the IUEC and its leadership did not have to make significant concessions to receive a lot in return.

In looking over the highlights presented by Business Manager Tim Moennich at the March meeting, the increase in wages and fringe benefits over the next five years will maintain the IUEC as the best blue-collar job in the trades. Members will now be able to get paid time off (PTO) in hourly or daily increments, Article XXII letters will have a shelf life of 24 months and companies can now work four-tens on modernization work.

For all of our gains, every contract I’ve worked under since entering the trade n 1999 has, in my humble opinion, placed increased responsibility on the shoulders of field personnel to the detriment of our customers and our safety. Maintenance routes are being overloaded to the point where customers are lucky to see a tech once a year to do a test. GPS, text message threads, tasking and a host of other distractions take our minds off of where it should be, keep everyone on the job safe from injury. On top of that our soft skills in keeping the customer happy have become more important than keeping their equipment running.

Perhaps I’m just pining for a time in the trade I barely remember. Times change and that should not mean forgetting that it is quality work that brought our trade to where it is and will keep it there for another contract.

There is still room on the sign-up sheets for the scaffolding and CPR-First Aid classes. If your scaffolding card is due, this class will renew your certification for another two years. The skills taught in the CPR-First Aid class could make the difference between life and death for a coworker or family members. If you have any questions or would like to sign up for these offerings you can contact Tim at 216-431-8088 or email him at

There are some apprentices getting behind on their OJT forms. If you are three months behind you will be appearing in front of the JATC Board to explain why you are late. Keep up with this form. Your livelihood depends on it.

Local 17 once again marched in the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Brothers and Sisters of the Local would like to thank Thyssen Krupp for donating the use of their brand-new truck and the loaning of their driver, Tony, for the day. Kudos to parade coordinator Joe Broz, Jr, his wife Meg and her sister Christine for their help in making a successful day for the Local. If you would like to see parade photos of the before, during and after, they are available on the local’s website,

Where are they working?

Craig Nolty and Lucas Jenke installing a hydro at Jennings in Brecksville for Otis,

Matt Weingart and Sean Canning working on the elevators at the Cleveland Clinic Caner Center for Schindler,

Gary Thompson and Robert Timko doing a mod at Erieview Tower for Schindler,

Ken Bowels and Shane Huff doing a mod at the Radisson Hotel for Otis,

DJ Spring and Deven Shields doing a two-car mod at Metro General for Otis,

Jim Thompson and Brian Siether doing a mod at Trinity Towers for Otis,

Don Knapik and Ernesto Rodriguez doing service work for Schindler,

John Goggin and Brian Chambers cabling at University Hospital Main Campus for Schindler,

John Logue and Brandyn Alley doing a two-car mod at Metro General-South for Otis,

Don Kaiser and Josh Mitchell at the State Office Tower doing service work for Schindler,

Tom Gombar and Matt Hausler doing machine work at Bratenahl Apartments for Kone,

Jason Saunders, Matt Pinchot, Andrea Rodriguez and John Smith doing a four-car mod at Hamilton House for Otis.
As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

April ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Entertainment Chairman Bill Dudas is planning a walleye fishing charter on April 22nd for 35 interested members. The cost is $30 per person. If you are interested in attending this first of its kind event, contact Business Manager Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at

The Annual IUEC Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner will be held May 19th at Frank Sterle’s Country House, 1401 East 55th Street just south of St. Clair Avenue. Refreshments start at 5:30 pm and dinner is served at 6:30 pm. The cost remains at $30 per person and will include a family style dinner. For more information contact Business Manager Tim Moennich no later than May 1st to secure your spot at this always well attended event.

There is a sign up sheet for classes in CPR and scaffolding. The CPR class is designed to give the participant an American Red Cross certificate. The scaffolding class is a Scaffold and Access Industry Association authorized program offered through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). The successful completion of the class makes the student a competent person for the erection of frame scaffolding. The certification is good for three years and must be renewed after that time. For more information on this or any other offerings, contact Tim at the Hall.

On February 8, Brothers Joe Broz Jr, Bill Lynsky, John Patton and myself attended the Local 45 (Akron) meeting to watch 21 employees of Gable Elevator be sworn in as IUEC members. In addition, four Gable employees were sworn in to Local 37 (Columbus). Gable also hired six existing IUEC members, four from Akron and two from Cleveland, to deepen the talent pool and help shepherd the new members in the ways of the union.

Since its founding, Gable has been a major force in the home elevator and lift market in northern and eastern Ohio. They started by selling home lifts and elevators out of their family pharmacy and after some initial success formed the company to develop this underserved market. This region is now the third largest organized home lift market in the International.

The signing was the culmination of a three and a half year effort by Locals 17 and 45 to organize Gable into the IUEC family.

The effort was not always easy. Anything worth accomplishing is never easy. The effort was not always nice. Tempers flared, expectations waxed and waned. This happened because we are human and passionate about our goal. Through the entire effort our regional organizer Jim Lowery lent a steadying hand. He commented several times that this was an unusual campaign but, Cleveland is an unusual city!

I believe we were successful because our goal was to organize the entire company and raise it up, not tear it down. Ultimately, the lives of 25 men are better today than they were three and a half years ago.

And that is what it is all about.
Where are they working?

Mark Byram and Felix DeJesus doing a mod at Waterford Condominiums for Schindler,

Shawn Yatsko and Matt Herbold doing a one-car mod at Moreland Courts for Schindler,

John Brunner and Jason Tischler installing five cars at the Edison Building for Schindler,

Jason Costa and John Ondich working at 200 Public Square for Schindler,

Anthony Metcalf and Ken Eaton doing a mod at Coppertop for Thyssen,

Dave Francis installing a car for Gable,

Scott Daugherty doing a mod for Gable.

As of this writing there are five mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month….

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

March ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Local 17 is proud to announce that after a three year campaign by the Local 17 Volunteer Organizing Committee, Business Manager Tim Moennich, Akron Local 45 Business Agent Dave Morrow, Jr., regional organizer Jim Lowery and head of organizing Jim Biangini successfully signed Gable Elevator as an IUEC signatory company.

In a Facebook post dated January 25th, Morrow made the announcement saying “I look forward to working with the new members and owners Rick Gable and Phil Isaac.” He punctuated the message with “Welcome to the IUEC Brothers! Local 45 and Local 17 joint effort!”

The signing brings 21 new members into Local 45. The decision for the Gable employees to go into the Akron local was based on the company being located in the Akron territory with a large portion of their work being conducted in Local 45. They will be working in the Cleveland area and will have to follow all of the rules that every signatory employee does when working in another Local’s territory.

Well, looks like the easy part is over.

I’m hearing a lot of you reading this saying “wait? What?” Yep, the easy part is over, the hard part is going to be making these new union Brothers feel welcome. Although I was raised in a strong union household, my own personal experience with organized labor was not always positive.

I spent part of one summer working in a grocery warehouse represented by the Teamsters. When I needed help I called the Local and had the door slammed in my face. So when I was approached about going to work in this trade knowing that I would have to join the union, I took a deep breath, swallowed hard and took the plunge with a “let’s wait and see” attitude.

Two months into my probationary period, I was laid off because of money. Within a week our business agent had me working in Columbus where I met some of the best guys to I could have worked with. The work was hard but, I learned my way around an elevator and did my best to make sure that at the end of the day all my mechanic had to do was wash his hands. Eventually I came home and worked at Millar and through the merger found myself back at Schindler.

For years after my swearing in I only came to the mandatory meetings and didn’t really take part in any of the Local’s activities because I didn’t feel a part of the group. Even after I ran and won my job as the correspondent to the Constructor it still took time before I felt accepted. Eventually I got to know more guys from different companies and began to see from my unique vantage point what it meant to be called Brother. It is not just something we call each other because it sounds good, we call each other Brother or Sister because we are a family. We argue, we laugh and we console. We eat and drink together and teach each other. When we are stuck we call Brothers from other companies to help us out and return the favor without charge.

These are the things we do because we are part of one of the most exclusive clubs in the trades. We make the most, have the best benefits and retire better than most people can dream.

In the end, this organizing effort was not about breaking Gable as a company, it was about raising their employees up. It was about giving them the opportunities we take for granted: the pay, the benefits, the education. If you see one of them out and about, take the time to introduce yourself, talk to them, answer their questions and take an interest in them.

After all, who wants to be part of a club where they don’t feel welcome.

The Brothers and sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the family of Retired Brother George Prochaska who passed away January 4th.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


February ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

A large thank you to everyone who turned out for the 2016 edition of the Local 17 Children’s Christmas Party. As usual it was a great time for all who attended. If you take a minute to go to the Local’s website,, and search back to the first Christmas party covered in 2011, it is interesting to see how both the children and the adults have changed through the years.

Business Manager Tim Moennich has sign up sheets available for a scaffolding class and CPR class. The scaffolding class leads to a card which certifies the bearer as a Competent Person for the erection of frame scaffolding. The card is good for three years after which it must be renewed. If your card is due, lapsed or coming due, now is a great time to take the class. The second class offered is a CPR class. This class will give the student the confidence to handle an emergency situation and might just help save a life. Both of these classes are offered in conjunction with NEIEP. If you are interested in either class you can contact Tim at the Hall at 216-361-8088 or by email at

Starting this semester all apprentices in the NEIEP program in Local 17 will be issued laptops pre-loaded with all of the textbooks and material needed for their four years of training. Not only will this make it easier to lookup material in the text but, the ability to play content related videos and go into NEIEP virtual courses will expand the learning opportunities for all apprentices.

In November the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT Ohio) and the Ohio AFL-CIO were able to stop Ohio House bill 394 which would have decimated the states unemployment benefits. In short the new bill will have no impact on benefits except to freeze the weekly wage for 2018 and 2019 at the 2017 levels. This means that those receiving benefits will not see their weekly amount change.

This was accomplished with the cooperation of union organizations and the Republican dominated legislature.

There was a mailing from NEIBP to all members about the 2017 changes to the health plan. The largest change was in the drug program and the cost difference between the generic and brand name drugs prescribed by a physician. If you are receiving drugs through Plan, please take a few minutes to read and understand these changes and how they may effect you and your family.

Where are they working?

KevinThomas and Lemroy Hurd installing a freight car at NTA Coatings for Thyssen,

Ryan Todd and Felix DeJesus at Huntington Park Parking Garage doing a modernization for Schindler,

Dave Gnagy and Brian Seither doing a modernization at the Lorain Correctional Facility for Schindler,

Mark Byram and Matt Herbold doing a mod at Westbury apartments for Schindler,

Matt Weingart and Sean Canning adjusting cars at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center for Schindler,

John Goggin and Brian Chambers doing generator work at Penton Media for Schindler,

Sean and Dion Yatsko doing a mod at the Leader Building for Schindler,

Joe Broz Jr. and Kevin Driscoll doing a mod at Bishop Park Apartments for Thyssen,

Tim Narowitz and Tony Kuhn doing a mod at Judson Park for Thyssen.
As of this writing there are two mechanics and two apprentices on the bench.

Until next month…
Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety,