May 2019 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

Happy May Day!

The second set of RC 500 Practical Exams were administered over two days on April 24th and 25th. These exams count toward the Apprentices overall score on the Mechanics Exam and as new exams roll out will be even more important for Apprentices not even involved yet in the trade.

The IUEC recently banned the use of Leatherman-style uninsulated multi-tools after Otis mechanic Brother Paul DeChane of Local 71 (Miami, FL) was electrocuted while using one to crimp a connection on a door lock. These style tools are very common in the field and should be discontinued as soon as possible.

There are two continuing education classes planned for the coming months. The first is the forklift class being taught by Tim Narowitz at the Laborers Local 310 classroom located in the rear of the parking lot at 3250 Euclid Ave. This class will give you the basic tools needed to be able to unload a truck on an worksite. The second is the welding class which gives the student the opportunity to earn 3G or 4G welding certifications. This is a 40 hour commitment over the course of two weeks. The class is taught at the world headquarters of Lincoln Electric in Euclid, Ohio. If you are interested in this or any other continuing education classes, contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr. at or call at 216-431-8088.

As with all of the continuing education offerings, everyone you take makes you a better Constructor and a more valuable employee. They also give you an edge when work slows down making you recession resistant.

There has been a series of vehicle break-ins at the school. The JATC is discussing moving the school to a different location but, for now everyone is encouraged to keep all valuables out of sight. As John said at the meeting, even a bit of loose change looks like a fortune to a homeless person.

IUEC Local 17 will hold the annual Local 17 Golf Outing at Hickory Nut Golf Course, 23601 Royalton Rd, Columbia Station on June 1st. The cost has yet to be announced but, it is always a well attended and fun event.

As of this writing the bench is clear.

May 2019 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

With the start of the Spring semester, I began my first NEIEP teaching experience with RC 600, solid state electronics. When I took this as a distance learning class as the brand new apprenticeship program was being rolled out across the International, I considered it the single most challenging course in the curriculum.

The unit material is dense and if you have a marginal grasp on electronics to begin with, the gauntlet is laid down. I struggled through and passed the unit tests and final by the barest of margins. After all, seventy equals one hundred. When it came time to study for the mechanics test, I was bound and determined to not struggle through and be satisfied with “just good enough.” I studied the material until I could almost recite it forward and back and when it came time for the test I was prepared.

Now that I’m teaching it, I find myself excited to sit down and review the material at home and then present it in class.

When doing the review of Ohm’s Law, I had each of the apprentices Ohm themselves out and figure how many amps they would draw when exposed to 120 volts. Some were higher than others and some barely registered but, the experience tried to drive home the need for electrical safety. It only takes a tiny amperage to stop a heart.

Recently an escalator repair team was reinstalling a bull gear. The team that removed the gear had to have the disconnect removed in order to have enough room to maneuver the gear out. A licensed electrical contractor did the removal. When it came time to reinstall the disconnect, the contractor came out and found that there was voltage on the taped up leads.

After many phone calls and investigation it was found that the two escalators, both the up and the down, were fed by the same breaker in the vault which was LOTO during the removal. The customer, not wanting both his units out of service, had the breaker put back in to run the other unit.

There is a lot wrong with this scenario. Had things gone a bit differently, I’d be writing an obituary for a good friend and long time colleague, one of my students or both. The large takeaway is very simple, no matter what you are doing, take nothing for granted.

Work smart…

Work safe…

and, most importantly, SLOW DOWN for safety.

Where are they working?

John Goggin and Ed Gimmel changing sheave liners at North Point Office for Schindler,

Bob Rawdon and Dion Yatsko at 145 Rich Street in Columbus doing a mod for Gable,

Todd Miner and Joe Wallace from Local 93 (Nashville) doing training for Thyssen at Tri-C Westshore,

Kenny Jung and Jason Tischler at St. Luke’s Manor repairing water damage for Schindler,

Ed Gimmel and Brian Chambers doing full load tests at Progressive Field for Schindler,

Tom Peska and Ernie Rodriguez unloading a truck at Holiday Inn Express in Madison for Schindler,

Bill Sellers heading to Pittsburgh to do a jack for Kone,

John Goggin and Tim Gibbons doing cable work at Saxon House for Schindler,

Mitch Klemp and Kyle Loza from Local 45 doing a mod at the VA for Gable,

Billy Ralph and Cody Watson from Local 31 installing two hydros at the Holiday Inn Madison for Schindler,

Scott Hicks and Tino Chiabia at Vista Springs in Independence installing two 2-stop hydros for Gable,

Jeff Lindell at Nationwide Insurance on Columbus finishing an escalator mod for Kone.
The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Brother Jim Horvath as his widow passed away and Brother Tim Moennich whose sister-in-law passed way.

As of this writing the bench is clear.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

April ’19 Labor Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

The Joint Apprenticeship Committee (JAC) decided that the next continuing education class will be on hydraulic valve adjustment and troubleshooting. The class will cover the basic operation of valves, how and why they need adjusting and diagnosis of valve issues. This is a very important skill for Constructors at every level to acquire or reenforce. Time and date for the class has not been set. Watch this space for further updates.

The first apprentice make up class for those who missed at least one classroom session will be on a Friday in May. As of now no firm date has been set.

Apprentices must turn in their OJT forms in a timely manner or explain to the JAC why they are not current. Two letters to appear have been sent by the Board to apprentices who are far behind in this basic reporting requirement. If you are behind, get your forms turned in as soon as possible.

The latest news on the pension crisis plaguing so many pensions plans is that as of now Congress has not come up with a plan that addresses the needs of plans that are insolvent or heading towards insolvency.

The plan in the worst condition is the Teamsters Central States which is losing $2.1 billion a year and will be insolvent by 2025. There may be a plan called the Liability Removal Program which seeks $3 billion from the Federal government and an additional $3 billion from increased premiums paid to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) which Federally insures pension plans. The current premium to PBGC is $29 per active and retired member. This could go up drastically should the LRP go into effect.

There is a sense of extreme urgency with the issue on the part of Congress. Since 2020 is Presidential election year and with that distraction going on it would make it nearly impossible to pass any reform until 2021 when insolvent or nearly insolvent plans will be an even larger burden on any rescue effort.

The IUEC Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner will be held May 17th at Harry’s Steak House, 5664 Brecksville Road, Independence, Ohio. Festivities start at 5:30 and dinner is served at 6. Please RSVP as soon as possible for this always well attended event.

A big thank you goes out to Brother Joe Broz, Jr. and his wife Meg for decorating the Local 17 truck for the 2019 Cleveland St.Patrick’s Day Parade donated by ThyssenKrupp and keeping the participants lined up though the route!

Congratulations to Sister Andrea Rodriguez on her appointment to the vacant Ward 3 council seat in the city of Brunswick.

The Brothers and Sisters of IUEC Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Retired Brother Jim Horvath whose widow passed away and to Brothers Mike and Tim Moennich who lost a cousin.

As of this writing the bench is clear.

April ’19 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

School has started and apprentices are in one of four classes: 400, 500, 600 and 700. The apprentices in the 500 class will be doing the second round of Practical Exams in applying the lab in a timed demonstration of their skill. It’s like Forged In Fire without the heat, smoke, noise and Will Willis counting down the time. Those in 700 will not be participating yet in a Practical as NEIEP is not ready to roll out the exam.

The Model Elevator Bill, which would bring licensing to the state of Ohio, is back in committee in the Ohio House with a good chance of getting passed this year. Former Local 17 Business Manager Tim Moennich, now with Work Preservation, has been working on getting this bill through the legislature and on to Governor Mike Dewine’s desk for signature.

Gable Elevator, who started out in the home lift segment of the business before moving into commercial work, decided to sell off the home lift division to the daughter of founder Rick Gable. The new business is called Ohio Home Elevator and for the time being is a non-signatory.

If you are on a construction or modernization job and see pre-assembled components that are questionable, take photos and contact Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at

The Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner will be on May 17th at Harry’s Steak House, 5664 Brecksville Rd, Independence, Ohio. As always, retiree’s eat free. Watch the mail for the response form and get it in as soon as possible. This is a well attended event and the opportunity to see old friends and make new ones is always a blessing.

Where are they working?

Jeff Ward and Rob Zadravec at Hampton Inn on East 9th Street doing a door mod for Thyssen,

Dave Gnagy and Matt Carlton doing a one-car mod at Positive Education for Schindler,

Dave Lehotan and Brian Chambers doing a two-car mod at Medical Mutual for Schindler,

John Goggin, Mark Ondich and Ed Gimmel cabling at NRG for Schindler,

Russ Lansky from Tampa and Jeff Stryzak from Denver troubleshooting at Progressive Insurance for Kone,

Anthony Metcalf and Jason Saunders at the Drake doing a jack and one-car mod for Thyssen,

Bill DUdas and Tony Kuhn at French Creek Water Treatment Plant doing a one-car mod for Thyssen,

Drew Williams and Joel Reyes at May Company doing a five-car mod for Kone,

Ken Jung and Jason Tischler decommissioning a six-stop car at Cleveland Public Auditorium for Schindler,

Ric Supinski and James Hirz at the Beacon installing three cars for Kone,

Al Ward and John Smith at Western Reserve doing a two-car mod for Otis,

Bill Dudas and Tony Kuhn at Tri-C Westshore installing two cars for Thyssen,

Jim Ehrbar and Mark Carollo doing a one-car mod at St. Augustine for Gable,

John Goggin and Kieth Janzen cabling at Stoffers in Solon for Schindler,

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Dave Horner who lost his grandmother.
As of this writing the bench is clear.
Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


March ’19 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

IUEC Local 17 finished the first round of Practical Exams for the RC 500, hoistway wiring and construction class.  The Practical tested the 21 apprentice’s skills at print reading, wiring and constructing a simulated hoistway switch setup.  The test results are available on the students NEIEP dashboard.

Spring semester is in full swing.  Local 17 currently has apprentices enrolled in 400, 500, 600 and 700 classes.  These modules cover electrical theory and application, solid state, power and logic and installation.  Those enrolled in 500 will be taking a Practical Exam based on the lab while the 700 class Practical is not yet ready to be rolled out.

The Model Elevator Bill, which would bring licensing to the state of Ohio for elevator constructors has a better chance to get passed during the 2019 legislative session.  To highlight the bill, ABC 6 in Columbus ran a story about Andrew Polakowski who was pinned between the car and landing sill at Stradley Hall at The Ohio State University in 2006 when the brake on the overloaded elevator failed, started down and Polakowski attempted to exit.  

An investigation by fire and state elevator inspectors found the brake out of adjustment.  The university was using a non-signatory company to service units on campus.  The news piece interview Mike Halpin of Elevator Industry Work Preservation who stressed the need for licensing in Ohio by stating that in jurisdictions that have licensing there is a 26 percent decrease in incidents between inspections.  Ohio currently has 65 elevator inspectors and 34,000 units.

Gable Elevator of Twinsburg decided to sell off its home elevator business and create Ohio Home Elevator.  The new business will be totally separate from Gable and operate as a non-signatory with the goal of eventually becoming signatory. 

The current work situation in Cleveland and surrounding jurisdictions is good.  During the Tri-State meetings, Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati Columbus and Cleveland all reported full employment while Chicago, Lansing and Detroit reported a total of 17 members on the bench.

Local 17 has started to tap the new hire list and expects to have many new faces in the fold soon.  If you have a probationary apprentice, please remember to school them in three areas: safety, good work habits and good union membership.  All of these work together to create a solid member that will make the trade better for you and them having been here.

The Brothers and Sisters of IUEC Local 17 send their condolences to the family of Brother Dave Horner whose grandmother passed away.

As of this writing the bench is clear.