December ’12 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

There is a lot going on so let’s get started…

There is a signup sheet for an OSHA 10 class.  The class leads to a receiving an OSHA 10 card which is vital to gaining access to many construction job sites.

NEIEP has recently partnered with Goddard College to offer elevator constructors the opportunity to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Goddard, a liberal arts institution based in Plainfield, Vermont recently assessed the NEIEP curriculum and recognized the apprenticeship program as the equivalent of 52 credits towards the 120 credit hours needed for a BA degree.  NEIEP students can also apply to transfer credits from previously completed college studies toward their degree.  If you are interested in looking into this unique opportunity you can visit the Goddard website at goddard.edu or call Business Agent Tim Moennich at the hall.

The State of Ohio is doing a survey of the building trades to update their information of prevailing wages across the state.  As you know, union and non-union contractors bidding on prevailing wage jobs have to pay the prevailing wages in the area.  In the last four years the number of cases brought up by the Obama administration for prevailing wages has dramatically increased and that trend is expected to continue.

At the Tri-State meeting organizers from the International reported that non-union Oracle Elevator is in trouble.  They recently lost the lucrative Ohio State University contract after two of their best mechanics were placed with Local 34 (Indianapolis) and are having a hard time doing any business in Columbus.

Also at the meeting, General President Frank Christensen reported that the supervisors are continuing to give away our work.  He advised that if you see “work by others” on a print and you know it is work we claim, just do it.

The International advises that nobody should sign the Schindler vehicle policy.  There is a DMV form which has been approved by the International.  If you have any questions, as always, call Tim.

We are very fortunate at IUEC Local 17 to be at full employment with many out-of-towners in our ranks.  A quick survey of six locals (Boston, Akron, Baltimore, Louisville, Toledo and Columbus) shows that out of 2037 members represented 244 are out of work.  Boston leads with 192 of the total unemployed and 1258 of the total members.

Another quick tidbit… in 1996 there were seven working constructors for every retiree.  In 2012 the ratio is two to one.

Congratulations to everyone that came out and voted in the November general elections.  Your vote did make a difference!  Organized labor came out large for President Obama and Senator Brown to help them retain their seats.  Unfortunately we lost friends in Dennis Kucinich and Betty Sutton, both of whom were caught in gerrymandered district fights.

I have been following politics since I was knee high to a grasshopper and have always considered myself a junky.  I lived for the next election night victory high and feared the crash of a loss.  For years politics was my opium and I chased the dragon.

It seems to me that every election cycle presents worse attacks than the previous iteration.  This year was no exception.  The fear porn and outright lies extolled by the Right made me sick.

Days before the election I received a call from a woman in a Republican call center in Cincinnati.  After she spent five minutes trying to scare me into voting AGAINST Obama I asked her why I should vote FOR Mitt Romney.  Her main reason came down to “he’s not Barack Obama.”  I then went through her whole script and pointed out where fear porn AGAINST something is not a reason to vote the other way.  After some prodding she said her main fear was that America was going socialist and I told her we were too far along that road to go back to the democracy we were taught about in school.  But that is a conversation for another time.

The one thing I’ve learned about election night is that more times than not, the electorate make the correct decision.  Like them or not, in our lifetimes men like Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Bush 41 and 43 and even Nixon, Ford and Carter all defined the times they lead in.  Barack Obama is no exception.  My most sincere hope is that as he moves forward in a second term, we see the leader we so expected in the first.

Where is my methadone?

December ’12 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

As I write this, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy is being assessed, families are being reunited and the cleanup is just beginning by a devastated and numb east coast.  I can speak for everyone in Local 17 by wishing our brothers and sisters who stood in the way of the storm and their families are safe.

At the height of the storm I was called out to a sixteen-story downtown office building.  In order to access the machine room I had to cross 30 feet of roof.  Because I was about 180 feet in the air and the wind was blowing between the surrounding buildings, the sustained 65 mph winds and 85 mph gusts were accelerated to God knows how fast.  I opened the stairwell door and looked out onto what can only be described as a simultaneously amazing and horrifying site.

The pure, unbridled power of the storm literally in my face.

An access door across the roof hung on a single hinge.  A vent cap blew left to right and over the 180 foot parapet.  I felt my feet turn to lead and my knuckles turn white as I held the handle in a death grip.  I contemplated for a long moment going out into the melee when the wind slammed the door in my face.  The howling on the other side was greater than several freight trains roaring up a steep grade.

Over the years I have read several books about high altitude climbers swept off mountains and to their deaths by high winds.  I thought again about braving the storm.  Making my way to the ladder secured to the machine room, holding on to the conduit strapped to the outside to get to the door and then completing the circuit back.   Ultimately I decided that being swept off the top of a building was not the way I wanted to be remembered.  I called the superintendent and he agreed that cooler heads needed to prevail.

The customer would have to wait out the storm.

The December and January meetings are mandatory meetings for the election and installation of officers.  At the December meeting there will be a vote on an additional $10 increase of the dues in addition to the $10 requested by the Treasurer and Trustees.

Congratulations to Ed Gimmel, Ryan Foley, Nick Meyer and Chris Wyant for passing the Mechanics Exam.  Remember that this is just the beginning of a long and very rewarding career.  Do not allow yourself be pushed to finish a job quickly rather than safely.

Where are they working?

Tim Narowitz and Dave Adrian doing a mod at Quarrytown in Berea for Thyssen,

Mike Miller and Joe Gouker installing a freight car at Nestles for Otis,

Darrell Scislo and Maxwell Desotell doing service work for Otis,

Jim Archer and Ryan Todd doing a one-car mod at Huntington Bank Berea for Schindler,

John Logue, Ken Hasek, Scott Villanueva, Craig Haller, Jason Saunders, Tim Gibbons and Steven Keating working at Key Tower for Otis,

Ron Wittwage and Taurus Ogletree installing a three-stop hydro at Lorain Community College for Schindler,

Jim Thompson and Jonathan Koch installing an elevator at Metro South Parking Garage for Otis,

Al Ward, Jason Sohayda, Ric Supinski and Lucas Jenke installing cars at Fairview Hospital for Otis,

Todd Kemp and Ken Leonard installing a Life Jacket at Chestnut Lake Apartments for Edmonds,

Dennis Dixon and Fran Adams doing a mod at Moreland Courts for Kone.

 

As of this writing, everyone who wants to work is working.

 

Till next month…

 

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

 

Don

dknapik@windstream.net

IUEC Sets Up Sandy Relief Fund

From the International:

In an effort to assist our members affected by Hurricane Sandy, the IUEC has set up a Hurricane Relief Fund.  We will be working closely with the local unions of those members affected.

Donations should be made payable to:

IUEC Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and mailed to the International Office:

International Union of Elevator Constructors

7154 Columbia Gateway Drive

Columbia, MD 21046

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.

 

Thank you,

 

Michele

 

Michele Ryan

Office Director

IUEC

410-953-6150

410-953-6169 (fax)

mryan@iuec.org

November ’12 Cleveland Citizen

November article for IUEC Local 17

 

By Donald Knapik

Correspondent

 

Brothers and sisters,

First off, congratulations go out to Brothers Ed Gimmel, Ryan Foley, Nick Meyer and Chris Wyant for passing the mechanics test.  As I have said before, and every mechanic will tell you first hand, the easy part is over.  Now it is your responsibility for the job being done right and the safety of your partner and the public at large.  Remember, you do not have all the answers, no one does, so pick up the phone and call someone you trust.  That simple act could save a whole lot of head and heartache.

Please note on your calendar that the November 11th, December 14th and January 11th meetings are mandatory meetings for the nomination, election and installation of officers.

At the October meeting there was a first reading of the amendment to the local by-laws  increasing the dues $10 every January 1 as long as deemed necessary by the local trustees and treasurer.  Any amount over the $10 will need a two-thirds vote in order to pass.  The trustees and treasurer are recommending an additional$10for a total of $20.  This will be voted on at the December 14th meeting which will also be a mandatory meeting for the election of officers.

Last month, Business Agent Tim Moennich attended a national meeting of the business agents of the IUEC to discuss and get updates on a variety of issues facing the International.  At the meeting NEIEP director John O’Donnell gave an overview of the programs the organization will be rolling out over the next few years.  There is a new four-unit course on automated people movers and virtual troubleshooting and escalator labs that are being rolled out now.  In the works is a cab work class covering the topics of flooring, woodworking and working with glues and glass.  NEIEP is also partnering with Pellee and this year will come out with a freight door lab as well as a line starter lab.

NEIEP is pushing the need for more constructors to take the rigging, signaling and scaffolding classes offered through their website, neiep.org, and at the local level.  Nationally, laborers are taking this work because of the lack of certified constructors.  And do not forget about the OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 certifications needed to even walk on some worksites.  All of these continuing education opportunities are being paid for by the 23,000 members on the International.  That means you and me and everyone else.  Having a unique skillset could mean the difference between working now and continuing to work later.

The Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund (EIWPF) gave an update on their efforts to secure work on the windmills that are springing up over the nation.  In July, Work Preservation and NEIEP met with Siemens at their gearbox manufacturing plant in Illinois and a wind farm in LaSalle, IL.  The effort is to not only secure the installation of the elevators in the larger windmills but also of the equipment housed in the nacelle, the “machine room” of the windmill.  These structures contain unique hazards like 12,ooo volts of electricity and high rescue training in the event of an accident.

The one thing the IUEC has in its favor is that we are already familiar with the equipment present in a nacelle, generators, gearboxes and brakes, and we would be able to supply a national workforce to the windmill owners.  There is also a move in several AHJs to cover the windmills under A17, the code covering elevators.

This is a potentially very important addition to the work we claim which could secure good work for many constructors for a long time.

New General President Frank Christensen addressed the gathering to encourage the International to pull together and move forward, putting any bad blood behind us.  He also echoed the need to increase the continuing education opportunities for mechanics.

At the Ohio Building and Construction Trades Convention, one of the big issues was a resolution to raise the per capita paid by member locals by three cents per hour per member until 2015 and then raise it to five cents per hour per member.  This would quadruple the per capita paid by Local 17.  Some of the increase would go toward a fund called ACT Ohio which does lobbying and public relations on behalf of the OBCTC.

Finally, GET OUT AND VOTE.  If you do not vote you lose the right to complain.

 

Personal Notes on Leadership

 

I have been watching the presidential debates and looking at both Governor Romney and President Obama and wondering to myself which one I feel more comfortable leading the United States for the next four years.  This has not been an easy task.

President Obama inherited what could be very kindly called a mess.  The litany of problems he faced on January 20, 2008 was huge.  We are all well aware of them so I will not even attempt to itemize the incredible list for fear of missing one or two.

Four years ago I was genuinely torn between Obama and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.  I went in the voting booth, for the first time in my life, conflicted over whom to cast my ballot for.  It took a flip of a quarter and two heads to cast my ballot for Obama.  I watched as the Republican herd was thinned to Senator McCain for the nomination.  My mind was still not made up.  I watched each of the candidates very closely during the interceding months to see exactly where they stood on the different issues that faced the nation.

There were two factors that swayed me to believe that Obama deserved my vote.  The first came during the debates as I watched each of the men and their seconds face off on the critical issues of the day.  I was not so much interested in what they said but how they said it.  Senator McCain was a “maverick”, whatever that meant, and he took every opportunity to tell you how much of a maverick he was.  Then Sarah Palin picked up on the theme and beat that horse right into the ground.  What I got out of the debates was that the McCain/Palin team was all over the map and unpredictable on their stance on any issue from day to day.  Conversely, Obama projected an air of confidence and placing a steady hand on the ship of state.  We do not want leaders that are all over the map.  We want predicable.

The second came in a series of CBS News interviews where both candidates were asked the same questions and their unedited responses were aired during the broadcast over the course of a week.    The interviewer asked both candidates how they could relate to the average American.  McCain’s response was garbled at best and he seemed taken aback by the question.  Obama responded by telling a story about how before his book “The Audacity of Hope” started to sell well he and Michelle would sit down at the dinner table to pay their bills and often times they had to make tough choices on who got paid that month.  In that moment I felt that he got it.  He understood how the vast majority of Americans felt at the end of the month.

In that moment he got my vote.

During the last four years I have not always agreed with the positions or policies that President Obama has put forth, but the overall effect has been positive.  The economy is getting stronger and people are going back to work, Osama Bin Laden is dead, the troops are back from Iraq and Afghanistan is winding down.  Unfortunately the deep recession we are coming out of has given the conservatives canon fodder to try and unseat him.

Enter Mitt Romney.  As the GOP candidate he has changed his mind several times on many key issues mostly to appeal to different constituencies during the campaign.  His own words, used here and elsewhere in the media, have proven that he really is not consistent in his policies and is condescending towards those below him.  I do not doubt that he truly believes what he says, but does he say what he believes?  I don’t know. And that is the pebble in my shoe that keeps me from accepting him at face value.

Many believe that this election is a choice between the lesser of two evils and the lesser is still evil.  I believe that it is the choice between someone who has a steady hand on the ship of state and someone who is disingenuous with those he wishes to lead.

I will not have to flip a coin in the voting booth this time.

November ’12 Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

 

A LOT is going on so I’ll get right to it…

The local has its first class of probationaries in four years.  Seven are at Otis and two currently at Schindler.  There are also nine out-of-towners working on various jobs both large and small.  Local 17 had seven fourth-year apprentices take the mechanics exam.  As I said before, the mechanics exam is the only unbiased evaluation of your knowledge of the trade that you will ever have.  I will have the names of the newly passed next month.

There is a sign up for an OSHA 10 class.  If you are working construction you know that this little ten hour class is required for you to work on many new jobs.  It is reported that soon you will need an OHSA 30 card, a more advanced class, in order to do the same work.  NEIEP has signaling and scaffolding classes available and many great programs in the pipeline for both online and in the classroom.  Take advantage of the continuing education opportunities, they could keep you working.

November 9th, December 14th, and January 11th are called special meetings for the nomination, election and installation of officers.  There is a $20 fine for not attending.

The current contract requires that we all take an additional five days of vacation every year.  These additional days must be taken by December 31st or you will be called in front of the Executive Board to explain why they were not taken.  Please work with your superintendent to make sure you are in compliance.

Local 17 would like to congratulate Brother Frank Christensen of Chicago’s Local 2 on being elected by the General Executive Board to fill the vacancy created by the resignation and retirement of former General President Dana Brigham. It is our most sincere hope that he will lead this great organization with wisdom and insight to keep it the best trade in the trades.

 

Where are they working?

Tom Gombar and Fran Adams installing a Life Jacket at Knickerbocker Apartments for Kone,

Jeff Lindell and Brendan Hyland doing escalator work at the Art Museum for Kone,

John Goggin and Ryan Foley pouring bearings at the Leader Building for Schindler,

Ken Bowles and Sean Costello doing a mod at Cleveland Clinic for Otis,

Al Ward and Ric Supinski installing two Gen2 MRLs at the Marriot on Mayfield Road for Otis,

Joe Broz, Jr. and Dave Adrian doing a jack at John Carroll University for Thyssen,

Neil Beechuk and Nick Meyer installing a hydro in Garfield for Thyssen,

Matt Pinchot and Jeff Ward doing a mod at Hillcrest Hospital for Otis,

John Logue, Scott Villanueva, Tim Gibbons and Steve Keating doing a mod at Key Tower for Otis,

Gary Thompson and Eric Cosgrove doing a mod at Hampshire House for Schindler,

Jim Thompson and Jonathon Koch doing a mod at the old Deaconess Hospital for Otis.

 

Local 17 sends its most sincere condolences to the families of retired Brothers Joe Udovic and John Sutter who both passed away in July.  John was best known for his blessing at the annual Retiree’s Dinner and at the Christmas Party to the children of Local 17 as Santa.  He will be missed by all.

Finally, Murray and I made it South Bend, Indiana.  During that bicycle trip I learned a couple of things.  There is a reason they are called the PREVAILING westerly winds, America is made up of endless miles of corn and soybeans, even in places that look desolate on a map there are farm houses, every farm house has a dog and every dog thinks it’s a Rottweiler.  I learned a lot about myself in those four days and I will be sharing it shortly.

 

Till then…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety,

 

Don

dknapik@windstream.net

October ’12 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

My bicycle Murray and I made it to South Bend, Indiana.  Along that 242 mile journey I learned a couple of things about heading west: there is a reason the winds are called PREVAILING westerly’s, America is primarily made up of corn and soybeans (with the occasional fruit orchard thrown in for flavor), even on places that on the map look desolate, there are farm houses, every one of those farm houses has a dog and every one of them thinks they are a Rottweiler.  Anyway, it was an interesting adventure that I will be sharing soon enough with a much wider audience.  Stay tuned for further information.

There is a lot going on so I will get right to it….

IUEC Local 17 currently has nine probationary apprentices added to the local, seven by Otis and two by Schindler.  They joined the apprentices waiting for the mechanics exam in classes on Wednesday night.  Seven of the fourth –year apprentices that were eligible to sit for the mechanics exam took the test.  To those I have to say that the mechanics exam is the only unbiased measure of your knowledge you will ever have on this business.  Most of what others perceive we know comes second or third hand and is rarely accurate.  I will have the names of those that passed next month.

Sign up is available for an OSHA 10 class.  Most people working construction or mod know that often times the general contractor requires at the very least an OSHA 10 card.  Soon, many sites will require the advanced OSHA 30 card in order to work on site.  The OSHA 10 class is a ten-hour class covering the history of OSHA and touches on all aspects of construction site safety.  Please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich for dates and further information.

I am also encouraging everyone to go to the NEIEP website, neiep.org, to participate in the online continuing educational opportunities that NEIEP has available.  Classes like rigging and signaling are available as well as interactive labs of all descriptions.  I recently had the pleasure of visiting the NEIEP headquarters and can tell you first hand that they are ramping up several new online and lab-oriented offerings.

The continuing education offered is how we keep our work.  Get educated and keep working.

The Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund has a video about its Qualified Elevator Inspector Program (QEI).  Work Preservation is the organization that works on safety-related issues for both the IUEC members and its signatory companies.  There is an opening for a QEI inspector in Hawaii and the State of Ohio is looking for two inspectors for the Northeast Ohio area.  For more information, contact Tim at 431-8088.

Frank Christensen, International Vice-President out of Chicago’s IUEC Local 2, was elected by the General Executive Board to fill the vacancy created by the resignation and retirement of Dana Brigham.  Congratulations to Brother Christensen and may he lead in example and wisdom.

The new contract requires that we take 20 vacation days a year.  Even though there was a 15-day requirement at the start of this year and through the first half until the new contract took effect in July, the new contracts 20-day requirement takes precedence.  Be sure you have all of your time in or be prepared to visit the Executive Board.

The November 9, December 14 and January11 meetings are required mandatory special meetings for all members for the nomination, election and installation of officers.  There will be no excuses accepted for non-attendance.

In case you have not noticed, this is a political year.  Starting August 1, IUEC members can voluntarily contribute to the National Elevator Constructors Political Action Committee (NEC-PAC).  You can contribute as little as five or ten cents per hour or any amount you would like.  There is an authorization form in the back of the new contract book.  If you have any questions, again, please contact Tim.

IUEC Local 17 sends its most sincere condolences out to the families of Joe Udovic and John Sutter, also known as Santa, both of which passed away in July.  Both of them will be missed.

As of this writing there are nine out-of-towners working in IUEC Local 17.

 

Percentages

 

Obama-Romney, Brown-Mandel, Rennaci-Sutton… it does not take a lot of insight to realize that this is a political year.  The slings and arrows flying back and forth in this carousel of outrageous fortune make even the most ravenous political junkie long for a methadone clinic.  All of them are playing a game of percentages.  Please read on and I will explain.

What everyone involved in politics knows, and is immediately transferable to your daily life, is there are three types of people you will meet.  There are those that will follow you to the Gates of Hell and thank you for taking them there, there are those that would not spit on you if you were on fire and, finally, everyone in between.

Think about this for a moment.  If you break it down in simple math, one out of every three people falls into one of those categories, but on a finer examination we discover that instead of the few that may fall into the extremes, most everyone falls closer to the middle.  When a political campaign begins, there is an extreme effort to identify those on both ends and tailor the message to maximize those in the first group and enough of the last to counter the influence of the second.  This is the struggle every organization faces.  A practical and very timely example is Apple and their release of new products.  There are people that will sit outside for hours waiting for the doors to open to be the first to buy the iPhone 5, for example, and those that will wait until their current contract is up to upgrade.  There are those that are sufficiently upset with Apple’s privacy policies or have a negative view of the company in general to never buy an Apple product ever.  Apple does not need to reach these people, their minds are made up.  This is why they keep advertising to convince the rest of us to pay $300 for the 32 Gig version.

Throughout the current campaign, Governor Romney has steadfastly refused to release any more tax returns than for the 2010 and 2011 tax years.  He recently released his 2011 tax return and claimed an income of $13.7 million and paid $1.9 million in taxes, an effective tax rate of 13.8%.  He also claimed $2.25 million in charitable deductions.  Had he claimed the full $4.0 million he and his wife donated his effective rate would have been about 9 percent.  For 2010 Romney’s income was $21.7 million and he paid an effective rate of 13.9 %.  The accounting firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, who handle the Romney’s taxes, released a statement that his annual effective tax rate for the past 20 years is 20.2%

I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.
–Mitt Romney, interviewed by David Muir of ABC News, 7/29/12

Over the years the Hispanic population of the United States has risen dramatically, particularly in the southwest because of the proximity to Mexico, Central and South America.  In 2010 the Pew Research Center did a study of the Latino electorate.  They found that nationally they are 16.3% of the population and 10.1% of the eligible voters but only seven percent of the actual voters who come to the polls.  Over the years many presidential candidates and presidents have courted the Hispanic vote by promising everything from immigration reform to amnesty for illegals.

In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 2.9 million illegal immigrants provided they entered the country prior to 1982.  He even presided over a swearing-in ceremony for several hundred largely Latino illegals.  The hoped for result was for these newly minted Americans to vote Republican like the emancipated blacks after the Civil War.  This did not stop Hispanics from moving to the Democratic side of the aisle.  In a recent Pew study on Hispanic voting trends, 68 percent of registered Hispanic voters preferred Obama over 23 percent for Romney.

“My heritage, my dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan, was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.  But, he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico; they lived there for a number of years. I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

–Mitt Romney to a gathering of Latinos on his Mexican heritage.

So what does this all mean?  Well, based on his comments, Governor Romney has a lot of explaining to do to the Americans he hopes to lead as President Romney.  First he needs to explain why being Latino would be an advantage for him to those that already are.  He then needs to explain why he did not take all the charitable contributions he was allowed to take on his 2011 taxes.  Since, by his own words, he is not qualified to be President because he paid more taxes than were legally due.

And when he is done explaining all this to the American people, he can turn to his donors and explain to them why he will only garnered 47 percent of the vote and who those voters were.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.— Mitt Romney at a private fund raising gathering.

 

-30-

 

October ’12 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

 

I want to apologize to those that follow the events of Local 17 through these pages.  Due to a family conflict, my September article was not present in the Elevator Constructor.  I apologize for the omission.

Work here in Cleveland has been strong.  Every Local 17 member that wants to work is working.  Companies have started adding probationary apprentices from the list as well as bringing in brothers and sisters from out of town to work on much needed projects.  The Medical Mart, East Bank and Eaton headquarters projects are the largest employers for construction, and modernization work is picking up as well.  Service remains steady and maintenance… well, they are maintaining.

All in all, things in Cleveland have not looked this good for at least two years.  I believe I am speaking for everyone, management and labor alike, when I say that we are simultaneously breathing a sigh of relief that the worst is behind us and crossing our fingers to ensure it stays that way.

The first Classic Car and Bike Night held by Local 17 was a success for all that attended.  We had five cars and two bikes brought out for what turned out to be a phenomenally clear and warm night.  The food was grilled to perfection by Brian McTaggart, the pop was cold and the company of our fellow constructors made the night perfect by any measure.

All good things start small and I believe we have the start of a great event for a long time to come.  There are photos beside this article as well as others posted on the locals’ website, iueclocal17.org.  Check them out and plan on joining us next year with your classic or neoclassic ride.

The Election

As I sit here at the end of August, Hurricane Isaac is battering the Gulf coast as Mitt Romney is nominated by the GOP to be their standard bearer.  On the Democratic side, Barack Obama will be nominated next week in Charlotte, North Carolina for a second term.

No surprises either way.

I thought it interesting that in the midst of the Republican National Convention, Ohio Governor John Kasich was championing the recovery that is sweeping over the state.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Wednesday, August 29 that home prices have crept up and unemployment is below the national average.  Both are signs that there is a true recovery going on in the state.

Of course Kasich took credit for the turn around and, to be fair, he did inherit a bad situation.  His solution was SB5, the ill-conceived attack on public-sector collective bargaining rights.  That boondoggle was soundly trounced by voters 62 to 38 percent.  Then he lowered or eliminated state aid to counties, municipalities and schools.  So, in essence, he cut back funding the very people we rely on to keep us safe, pick up the trash and educate our children.  If you want to know more details, I suggest talking to your city councilman or school board member.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law failed in its attempt to put a measure on the ballot turning Ohio into a right-to-work-for-less state.  There may have been some back room conniving to keep it off the ballot since it was sure to bring out a heavy union vote to defeat it and, in the meantime, increase the vote for President Obama.  Keep your eyes and ears open on this one.

The attack ads on both sides are horrendous.  I encourage you to look closely at the disclaimers on the ads and find out about the organizations sponsoring them.  You may be surprised at who is behind these attacks.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for this election to be over.

 

Till next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety,

 

Don

dknapik@windstream.net