May ’20 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

Unless you are living under a rock, you know what is going on as the COVID-19 pandemic makes its way across the world.  I’m not going to focus on that, instead I’m going to focus on something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, leadership.

What are the qualities that make us want to follow someone by choice rather than by force?  I’ve never been in the military but, most of the people I know who have been speak about their various superiors the same way as those who did not serve.  In fact, if you did not know they were referring to their military time, it’s easy for someone like myself to replace the drill instructor with a boss I’ve had at various times of my life.

In the book The Few and The Proud, Larry Smith interviews Marine drill instructors from WWII through Iraq and, in their own words, gives insight into this question.  The instructors all talk about how in the first few weeks the purpose of the drills is to breakdown the individual and then over the next few weeks teach the recruits to work together as a team.  The tool most often used is keeping the recruit off balance and guessing what comes next.  

Those who have never served, or have a strong sense of individuality, are extremely resistant when this is implemented in the corporate world.  Most of us will eventually turn off and become deaf to the noise.  

The other extreme is indecisiveness.  Bosses who refuse or defer decision making until cornered can be infuriating to the point of rage.  Some indecisiveness may come from fear of making a mistake or displeasing superiors.  Again, turn off and tune out.

Well, my experience tells me that the best leader is someone you work for not report to.  It is the kind of person that gives you the tools you need to do your job, steps away, lets you do it and then guides you on how you can do it better.

So, what really makes a good leader?  These instructors touch on those points as well.

Good leaders do not always have all the answers but, they ask the right questions of the right people to learn what they don’t know.  They also look at a problem from a multitude of angles and realize that it is alright to take a little more time to obtain a complete view before moving forward.  Over analysis may lead to paralysis but, knee-jerk reactions can be far more costly.

Good leaders step back and let their subordinates take the lead when that person knows more about a subject than they do.

Good leaders are not afraid to change course when the way forward is fraught with peril.  They adjust the course to match conditions not force conditions to match their course.

Good leaders take responsibility when their decisions go wrong and again shift course to avoid additional damage.

Good leaders have a steady hand on the ship of state.  They remain cool, confident, reassuring and maintain positivity without raising false hope. 

Good leaders care more about those they are leading than themselves.  Their own ego and self interest must be put aside when considering the greater good of those who will be impacted by their decisions.  

The above list is not comprehensive, only my thoughts on the subject.  If you’d like to add to the list or have your own thoughts on the subject, email me at the address below.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


April ’20 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

Everyone reading this article is well aware of the extent of the COVID-19 epidemic and the effect the restrictions placed by the federal and state authorities on free movement and gatherings of any size or purpose.

On March 13, IUEC Local 17 cancelled the regular members meeting in compliance with CDC guidelines on gathering sizes and social distance. The officers met upstairs in the Local’s office to hold a meeting to discuss business and pay the bills. Most of the meeting was taken up by Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr. reviewing the most recent information available on the work situation, the IUEC and NEBA response and protective measures being disseminated by the CDC. This information is available on the IUEC Local 17 website,

As of this writing, these are the most relevant points:

President Trump extended the CDC guidelines on social distancing and gathering sizes until April 30. This currently means gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited and those venturing out in public are to keep a six foot distance from each other.

Governor Mike Dewine ordered a series of business closures with specific exemptions for those deemed as essential businesses. The building and construction trades fall under that exemption.

Schools, colleges and universities are closed and only those employees and contractors deemed essential to operations are allowed access.

At least two downtown buildings are being talked about as emergency health care facilities.

The IUEC and NEBA, the bargaining unit for large signatory companies, agreed on two important terms for represented members. First, members have a right to refuse calls or service to facilities where COVID-19 is present and employers must supply additional PPE as required for entrance to those facilities. Second, employers may furlough employees. These furloughed employees will be placed on a list to be called back by the furloughing company before the company may pick up a laid-off member.

Those who lose their jobs because of COVID-19 are eligible for relief from the $2 trillion bill passed by Congress and signed by the president. Those affected by a quarantine are entitled to additional benefits for the term of the quarantine.

Companies are distributing hand wipes, sanitizer, face shields and other PPE as they receive the supplies. There are also additional communications regarding the most recent ways to protect yourself and those you come in contact with from spreading coronavirus.

By the time this sees print, there will undoubtably be additions and changes to this list. All those reading this need to be present in their jobs to keep focused on their own safety as well as the safety of the public we may come in contact with. There are members working in building that are virtually empty and they need to take special care to work as safe as possible.

In any case,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

April ’20 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

On January 29, new NEIEP area coordinator Wally Wuelling came to speak to the apprentices and instructors about the spring semester and the online OJT reporting. At that time, the reporting system used by the apprentices for recording their OJT hours was down. As a result of the down time, OJT hours were recorded on paper to be transferred to the system at a later date.

Retired Brother John Taylor will be teaching a motor starter and AC motor class. If you are interested in taking this continuing education offering contact Business manager John Driscoll, Jr. at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at When enough members sign up a date will be arranged.

Mike Halpin from Work Preservation will be attending our September meeting to give a political presentation. This is timed to tie in with the November elections. The main thrust of the presentation will be about supporting labor friendly candidates at the ballot box. This is going to be one meeting you will want to attend.

The Local 17 VOC held a meeting to discuss Findlay-area non-signatory Davis-Newcomber and their receipt of a modernization at LMHA Lakeview. Several options for direct and indirect action were discussed as well as options for a coordinated action with Local 44 (Toledo) much the same as the successful organizing campaign undertook with Local 45 (Akron) in the Gable campaign.

Another issue for the VOC is Oracle Elevator and their acquisition of the Automatic Door Entrance Company of Florida which manufactures door systems used in hospitals, hotels and other public buildings and Maryland-based Landmark Elevator. Oracle plans on using their elevator personnel to install the entrances which could lead them to expanding to markets they currently do not have a presence.
Where are they working?
Craig Nolty and Dan Koprowski at Berea High School installing one traction and one hydraulic elevator for Otis,

Ken Bowles and Shane Huff at Chestnut Lake Apartments finishing a mod for Otis,

Jerry Szmerekovsky and Jack Finucan at Lubrizol doing a one-car mod for Otis,

Jim Archer, Mark Ondich, Tim Gibbons, Kevin Driscoll, Ryan Foley and Rockin’ Ron Rittwage working the west side of Cleveland for Schindler,

Mark Byram, Ryan Todd, Andrew Johnson, Matt Weingart, Gary Thompson and Brandon Light at Penton Media doing a 15 car mod for Schindler,

Cris DeJesus, Lucas Jenke, Matt Ramser and a team from Texas doing escalator mods at Progressive Field for Schindler,

Drew Williams, Joel Reyes, Todd Ross, Morgan Armstrong and a team from Pittsburgh doing a mod for Kone at May Company,

Brian Bond and Brian Siether doing a three-car mod at The Commodore for Schindler,

Tom Peska and Jay Schaffer installing four cars at 6050 Kruse Rd. in Solon for Schindler,

John Goggin and Mark Ondich doing full-loads at Macy’s for Schindler,

Brendan Hyland and Russell Barrows doing an escalator mod at Kohl’s for Kone,

Bob Meyer and James Hirz cabling at Tower City for Kone,

Todd Ross and Morgan Armstrong doing a mod at The Bowery Building on Akron for Kone,

Bill Dudas and Andrew Daniels at 6400 Rockside doing a mod for Thyssen,

Anthony Metcalf, Sean Canning, Tony Kuhn and Justin Swain doing a mod at Columbus Park for Thyssen,

Tom Reitz slowing down for safety at the City Club for Thyssen,

Tim Narowitz and Matt Harden adjusting at the Archer for Thyssen,

Jason Fredrick and Chris Sipos doing a mod at Victoria Plaza for Thyssen,

Chris Scholle and Mike Ross installing a car at CMSD for Thyssen and,

Matt Hausler and Kyle Meyer doing a mod at Lakewood Center North for Gable.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brothers Dan Varga and Tony Karovich who both lost their fathers this January.

As of this writing there is one mechanic on the bench.
Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

New Changes and Cancellations

This is the latest update on changes for members of IUEC Local 17:

The April 10, 2020 union meeting and annual Retiree’s Dinner to be held at Harry’s Steak House May 1 are cancelled.  The dinner will be rescheduled at a later date.

All apprentices are to log into the NEIEP website ( for information on completing this semester online in a home study format.

Apprentices are also reminded to submit their OJT time and update any missing time to the NEIEP website as soon as possible.

Business Manager John Driscoll, Jr recently sent two emails with important information for Local 17 members.  First is a summary of the CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package passed by Congress and signed by the President, and it’s effect on the IUEC and local members.  Second is a notice from the Cleveland Building Trades on Jobsite Health and Safety.  If you have not received these emails, then contact John at 216-431-8088 or email him at

IUEC, NEBA Agreement on Furloughs and Layoffs

To all,

There has been a Memorandum of Understanding between NEBA and the IUEC regarding Furloughs and Flexible Workweeks.

In short, the Company will be able to ask for volunteers to take a furlough and then follow article XXII par. 3 when mandating a furlough.  Also, the regular work day at straight time pay has been changed to 8 hours between 5am and Midnight. The company can also schedule you for less than 40 per week for fewer than 5 days as long as you get at least 80 hours month.

I know there will be a million questions on this but, be patient as the International is doing the best they can to stay on top of a difficult situation.



John Driscoll

Business Rep.

IUEC Local 17

Office 216-431-8088

Cell 216-513-1413


Ohio Under Shutdown Order, Construction Trades Exempted

To all,

As we all know this pandemic is rapidly changing, in Governor DeWine’s press conference this afternoon he has issued the “Stay at Home” order starting tomorrow night at midnight.  The link at the bottom of the post will take you to the order.

In the order is a list of exceptions, under # 9 Essential Infrastructure the construction industry and building maintenance is included and under #12 k Critical Trades the men and women of the Building Trades are listed, we are expected to still go to work at this time.

We all need to be extremely cautious and if there is reason to believe you have been exposed or are feeling ill please stay home. Yesterday I was informed of the first confirmed case on a local construction site, The Lumen project at Playhouse Square, that job is shutdown by the General Contractor (Gilbane) for disinfecting,

I do not have any more details or a time frame.

Things are changing by the hour I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated. Stay Healthy


John Driscoll

Business Rep.

IUEC Local 17

Office 216-431-8088

Cell 216-513-1413

Ohio Stay-at-Home Order


Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Information

To all,

If you will be filing for unemployment due to a lay-off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has issued a number (2000180) to be used to help speed up the process.  The links below will give additional information on applying for state unemployment benefits.



John Driscoll, Jr.

Business Rep.

IUEC Local 17

ODJFS Provides Common Number to Speed Processing of COVID-19-Related Unemployment Benefits

Coronavirus and Unemployment Compensation Questions

Ohio Extends Unemployment To Those Affected By Covid-19 Closures

To all,

Ohio implemented an executive order to make some changes to the Unemployment System. The National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan also amended the weekly income benefit to include a 14 day COVID-19 Quarantine, also attached. I will keep everyone posted on any new information as I receive it.  Stay healthy.


John Driscoll

Business Rep.

IUEC Local 17

Office 216-431-8088

Cell 216-513-1413



IUEC Announces Benefit For Quarantined Members

Following is an announcement from IUEC Headquarters about members with COVID-19.  This is taken from the IUEC website,

Special 14-Day Weekly Income Benefit: Quarantine on Account of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Trustees of the Health Plan have approved a temporary benefit for anyone who gets the COVID-19 virus or is quarantined because of the virus.  Attached is the Summary of Material Modifications for the benefit and the claim form to use for a member who is quarantined.

The regular Weekly Income Benefit for illness has a 7 day waiting period, but that waiting period is waived for the COVID-19 virus.  Both the SMM and claim form are also on the Benefits Office website.

Special 14-Day Weekly Income Benefit Quarantine on Account of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)