March ’22 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

The February 11 union meeting was held upstairs in the office with the officers in attendance due to a power outage which blanketed the immediate area.  The meeting was illuminated by members flashlights.  At the meeting Sister Andrea Rodriguez was sworn in as Warden for IUEC Local 17.  Sister Rodriguez is the first female officer of Local 17.  

The Local’s Apprenticeship Applications closed January 31 with 302 applicants for the list.  Those who have not previously taken the EIAT exam were invited to take the test the second week of February with those passing the test with at least 70 percent invited for the oral interview with the Local JATC the week of March 21.  Good luck to all those wishing to join the best Local in the best trade in the trades.

As everyone knows, Gable Elevator was bought out by Three-Phase Elevator.  When Gable became a signatory in 2017, part of the agreement allowed their employees portability between Cleveland (Local 17), Akron (Local 45) and Columbus (Local 37) until the end of this contract with all the field personnel initiated into Akron’s Local.  

Portability allows the signatory to have any of their employees work in any of the agreed Locals.  With the close of the contract in July comes the end of the portability agreement.  

There was some controversy as to whether any Gable/Three-Phase employees have been transferred out of Local 45 to Cleveland or Columbus.  As of this writing, no members have been transferred out of Akron.  

The signatories to IUEC Local 17 are listed below.  If you see a company not listed working in the area, call Business Manager John Driscoll Jr at 216-431-8088 or email him at

Local 17 is planning on marching in the 2022 St. Patrick’s Day Parade pending the parade taking place.  The parade steps off at noon from East 18th on Superior while units muster along Superior during the morning.  This is a great opportunity to meet other members and their families as well as partake in true Cleveland tradition. 

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Brother Tom Reitz who passed away January 15, Honored Retiree Don Tretera who passed away January 19 and Honored Retiree Jim Agnew who passed away January 21.

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

March ’22 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

When searching  for the most traded commodity on earth, one is always close to the top on every list:  coffee.

My coffee journey started in my early years as a fascination over this hot, fragrant brew my elders seems to crave in the morning, occasionally during the day and finally with a cigarette after dinner.  At social events, other than the beer fridge, the stainless steel coffee urn was not only the most visited fixture, it produced with no doubt the best iteration of the brew.  More over, it seemed most gatherings ended in the kitchen with great conversation over a cup or two of coffee.

In an effort to see what all the fuss was about, I found myself seeking the last little “kiss” at the bottom of the cup and soon was enthralled by the bitter sweetness of what I would later describe as a “small two and two”:  small coffee, two cream, two sugar.  

At somewhere around twelve, I developed my own taste for the caffeine-laced concoction which was so heavy on the cream and sugar I am surprised I ever slept.  By high school my taste refined to the two and two formulation which lasted through college. 

Collegiate coffee was the way to stay awake for an all nighter, sober up for class with a chocolate-cream filled doughnut chaser and write an editorial sure to anger the administration.

When I became a father and my children were about four years old, I taught them how to make a pot for dad.  It wasn’t about the drink, whose quality might be sketchy at best, it was about teaching them something they could do on their own to give them confidence in themselves.  Coffee had become a teacher.

In my previous lives, I used coffee for a number of different applications:  warming up while working in a freezing warehouse, a substitute for a lunch I could not afford, a way to assuage the boredom of a mind-numbing cubical existence.  Coffee, a substitute for happiness.

When I entered the trade, coffee was a habit every bit as strong as someones after dinner cigarette and the pre-union meeting beer.  Mechanics I worked with and admired would religiously stop work at the appointed hour, walk or drive to the spot and sit with a steaming styrofoam cup in various shades of brown, a stir stick and napkins.  Lots and lots of napkins.  On those napkins they worked out problems, illustrated ideas on how to move the generator up an impossible flight of stairs and taught relay logic.  There is no doubt in my mind every possible problem has been solved over a cup of coffee and millions of napkins.

My three favorite coffee spots are the Brecksville McDonald’s, the Lemon Tree in the old Huntington Building and The Market at 9th and Chester.  What made these places special had little to do with the location and everything to do with the people.  

While working the mod at Huntington, Big Bob held reign every morning and God help you if you sat in his seat.  I listened, learned and studied for my mechanics test while drinking coffee there.  The Brecksville McDonald’s had a cliche of old men who talked like they ruled the world before returning to their wives who ruled the roost.  After taking the job at CSU I found myself gravitating to coffee at The Market, not because of the quality or Wa’s always upbeat nature, it was the guys.  

I miss Pat, Al and Dave and our conversations fixing elevators, our companies and the world.  I miss the guys who would drop by for a cup when in the neighborhood or make a special day trip.  I miss Jerry and we all will miss Tom.  

The next time we all are together, let’s raise a cup to those that are here, those that are not and those we wish were.

Until next month,

Work safe, work smart and slow down for safety.


Amazon Purchases Help Support Charities

For those of you who wish to do some good when shopping online, Amazon offers a way to make a donation to the charity or organization of your choice with every purchase made on the Amazon site.

The program is called Amazon Smile and takes only a few minutes to sign up.

Log into or create an Amazon account then search Amazon Smile.  When prompted, add your information and select the group or charity you wish to receive a small portion of your Amazon purchases.

One possible recipient is the Elevator Museum, Inc. in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  The museum is dedicated to preserving historical items related to elevator history.  You can follow this link to their website for more information.

February ’22 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

The application process for the IUEC Local 17 Apprenticeship Program closed at midnight January 31.  As of the publication date, everyone who completed the application process will have received notice of when to appear for the aptitude test later this month and then in March the oral interview in front of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee.  Good luck to all those who applied to be a part of the best local in the best trade in the trades.

There are currently ten mechanics taking the starter class being taught by John Taylor.  If there is enough interest, John will roll into the AC motor class following the starter class.  The starter class runs for five weeks and the AC motor class for four.  

If you are interested in any continuing educational opportunities, log into the NEIEP website at to access any of the virtual classes offered.  If there is a particular class you would be interested in seeing offered in person, contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at

Just a reminder that if you are to be on a job lasting more than two days, had a child, change in dependents or marital status notify John at the hall.

With the omicron variant of Covid increasing potential infections, the Executive Board may cancel in-person member meetings at the hall in favor of returning to the officer meetings held during the height of the pandemic.  Watch your email inbox and the Local website,, for updates.

The Entertainment Committee reported that the Retiree’s Dinner is tentatively scheduled for May 20th.  This may change depending on the Covid situation leading up to the date.  Again, watch your email and the Local website for updates.

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

February ’22 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

The Ohio Elevator Licensing Bill was scheduled for a mid-January hearing in front of the General Government Budget Committee.  The Bill, once passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, sets up licensing requirements for everyone working on elevators and escalators similar to existing requirements for other trades and professions regulated by the state.

This is the final year of the contract between the IUEC and NEBA signatory companies.  It is expected contract talks will begin in February on a new five-year deal.  Even though   

work in Cleveland has been exceptionally good with all companies sharing in the wealth, that does not mean that this is the same situation in all parts of the International.    

As with previous contracts, being prepared as an individual for any possibility enhances your chances of staying afloat in the event of a work stoppage.  Looking at where you spend your money (dining out, subscription services you no longer use, tool shopping, etc) can give you a better picture of your overall finances than most other indicators.  It’s a new year, evaluate wisely.

Schindler remains the company with the most work locally and has been awarded the Sherwin Williams corporate headquarters job to go up on Public Square.  Otis, Kone, and Gable/Three Phase have a lot of work scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.  TK Elevators is keeping several modernization teams working into the new year.

As this issue reaches your mailbox, the application process for the apprenticeship program will be closed out.  All applicants should receive a notice of dates and times for taking the written exam as well as their interview with the JATC. Tentative dates for the aptitude test are February 14-18 and the interviews March 21-25.  Good luck to all our future Brothers and Sisters.

All of the new apprentices (those who have entered the trade in the last year and have not been enrolled in a class) should have received a laptop from NEIEP for use during their classes.  All students can download the material from the NEIEP website onto a personal laptop to use as a backup.

John Taylor will be teaching the AC motors class and the motor and starter class.  If you are interested in this continuing education opportunity, contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr at 216-431-8088 or email him at

Covid-19 has kept it’s hold on the world into the new year with the Omicron variant appearing around Thanksgiving 2021.  This has been an almost two year long exhausting battle with a microscopic enemy that has caused division among communities, isolated billions and sowed confusion as different organizations gave conflicting information as to the best course of action.  At this point the only people alive who have not been exposed in some way to one of the variants are those situated in similar circumstance to the cast and crew of TV’s “Alone” or “Mountain Men.”

What happens in two years time when we are talking about the Omega variant?  What will be considered “fully vaccinated?”  How many boosters are enough or too many?  What about masking and distancing?  Are they to be considered the new normal?  The science around this has advanced as quick as the virus along with the paranoia of every person on the planet having to become a virologist.  

When facing the total destruction of England by the advancing Nazis during the Blitz, Sir Winston Churchill spoke regularly to the citizens of his battered island nation with many quotable moments.  One that resonates in this time is his assurance that the best the way for England, and the world, to survive is to “keep calm and carry on.”

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

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


January ’22 Labor-Citizen

Brothers and Sisters:

All apprentices need to be in attendance on Wednesday, January 19 at 5 pm at the school on Engle Road for the semester orientation with new Area Coordinator Jordan Miller. Tim Narowitz will be teaching RC 300 on Wednesday and Jerry Reitz will be teaching RC 100 on Monday and Tuesday. The first half of the alphabet will be in Monday’s class and the second half on Tuesday.

Apprentices who have not yet received a computer from NEIEP need to contact Business Manager John Driscoll Jr at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at The laptops are the apprentices to use during their schooling and their responsibility in the event of damage or loss.

IUEC Local 17 opened its recruitment from January 1 through January 31, 2022 at 23:59 hours. All interested applicants must apply through the National Elevator Industry Educational Program website,, go to the bottom of the home page and click on the appropriate links to begin the process. Tentative dates for the aptitude test are February 14-18 and interviews with the JATC on March 21-25. Good luck to all our future Constructor Brothers and Sisters.

John Taylor will be teaching the AC motor class as well as the motor/starter class. If you have ever had questions about AC motors, starters or soft starts, this is the class to take. Interested members can contact John at the hall at the contact information above.

Work in Cleveland for Local 17 has been very strong with all companies reporting a backlog of work. Otis, Kone and Gable/Three Phase have a lot of work starting in the first quarter of 2022 and TK is keeping several modernization teams working. Schindler has been awarded the Sherwin Williams corporate headquarters building set to go up on Public Square.

The International will begin negotiations on our new five-year contract with the NEBA signatory companies in February. Although wages are always a sticking point, the major issues identified at the convention in September centered around working conditions, safety and jurisdictional protection. With this in mind, it is a good time for all members to reevaluate their personal financial situation in the unlikely event of a work stoppage.

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

January ’22 Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

Happy New Year to the International community and the families of Local 17. To say the past two years have been a challenge is an understatement. Local 17 has been working continuously since the pandemic was declared in March 2020 with no let up in sight.

The rumor as of writing is that Schindler has been awarded the Sherwin-Williams HQ project on Public Square. The plan is for between 18 and 28 elevators in a 38 floor building. Otis and TK have mostly mods on their books, Gable has about a dozen mod and construction jobs planned while KONE has three good size jobs at Van Aken, Circle Square and Ahuja. This is a very fortunate circumstance as many localities shut down for significant times costing members valuable pay and pension hours.

We have also seen face masks and hand sanitizer become company issued PPE and the controversies over mandatory vaccinations and vaccination status become a political wedge to divide a nation. It’s sad. Using the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world as a political bludgeon to advance a divisive ideology is, in my mind, criminal and those advancing these issues are not the patriots they present themselves as.

Let’s pray that in 2022 cooler heads calm this fiery discourse.

Spring Semester starts the week of January 17th. There will be 14 apprentices in RC100 and eleven in RC400 with one apprentice doing RC200 on home study. The likely date for an orientation class will be Wednesday, January 19 with our new Area Coordinator Jordan Miller.

If everyone passes their classes as scheduled, Local 17 will have six test-eligible apprentices after the Fall semester. Good luck to those ready to take their next step in the trade.

Ross Elevator was bought out by KONE and owner Jim Ross retired along with mechanic Doug LaFontaine. Gable Elevator was bought out by Canton, Mass-based 3Phase Elevator. 3Phase has operations in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Florida. This will be their farthest western office.

At the November meeting, the Local 17 delegates to the 32nd General Convention gave reports on the committees with which they were involved. John Patton sat on the Constitution and By-Law Committee, Bill Lynsky was on the Resolutions Committee, Tim Narowitz was on the Health Committee and John Driscoll Jr was on the Pension Committee. Of the hundreds of resolutions discussed by the different committees, 20 passed on the floor covering safety topics. Thirteen need to go to the bargaining table because they deal with issues in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and seven were integrated into the International Constitution and By-Laws on November 1.

On November 6th Brother and Sister Ernie and Andrea Rodriguez held a fundraiser at Herman’s Pub in Brunswick for Andrea’s daughter, Grace Shank, who was diagnosed in August with brain cancer. Grace was living in Madison, Wisconsin at the time of her diagnosis and successful surgery. According to Andrea, prior to her becoming ill Grace was an active young lady who, among other interests, rode motorcycles with a group from IUEC Local 132 (Madison, WI) as well as playing multiple string instruments. The money raised will go to offsetting living expenses not covered by the IUEC health benefits.

The January meeting will be a mandatory meeting for the installation of officers. Those not in attendance will be fined accordingly.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to the families of Honored Retiree Jim Koberling who passed away and Brother Bill Dudas who lost his sister.

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

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


Welding Class Signup Begins

IUEC Local 17 Business Manager John Driscoll Jr is working with NEIEP Area Coordinator Jordan Miller to schedule a welding course at Lincoln Electric starting in January. It looks like there will be room for 20 students. Both mechanics and apprentices are welcome to take the course.

Students must complete the CEO 19 SMAW course on the NEIEP website first, it is currently available to all those interested.

Once you log in to the NEIEP website go under the “training” tab and click the “online training and licensing.” When that opens up, on the left hand side of the page is a “welding training” tab, click that and follow the instructions to complete the welding preparation course. 

For more information on the course or to signup, contact Business Manager John Driscoll jr at the hall at 216-431-8088 or email him at

December ’21 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and Sisters:

Apprentice pay raises were effective with the first paycheck in September.  Several signatories have been having issues with making a correct payout for hours worked.  At the October meeting, Business Manager John Driscoll Jr said that if these issues continue he will instruct our members to go to the office and wait for their checks.  If you have any issues with your check contact John at 216-431-8088 or email him at

The August issue of the Cleveland Labor-Citizen featured an article on Local 17’s new classroom facility on Engle Road.  There is also the article for the October issue of the Elevator Constructor, with photos, available on the local’s website,

The December 10, 2021 and January 14, 2022 meeting are mandatory called meeting for the election and installation of officers.  Fines will be assessed for non-attendance.

Where are they working?

DJ Spring and Deven Shields doing a mod at Southpoint Hospital for Otis,

Craig Nolty and Brendan Teets in Painesville installing one car for Otis,

Jim Thompson and Matt Dinko at Ridge Tool doing a two-car mod for Otis,

John Logue and Pat Pollock at Shoreham Apartments doing a two-car mod for Otis,

Matt Pinchot working Akron on a mod at AMHA for Otis,

Ken Bowles and Shane Huff at Mercy Hospital doing a two-car mod for Otis,

Jerry Szmerekovsky and an Akron apprentice at Lordstown Battery installing a freight for Otis,

Pat Kelly and Carl Turner at Westwood in Elyria installing one car for Otis,

Tom Peska, Ernie Rodriguez, Andie Rodriguez, Joel Reyes, Matt Ramser and Adam Klein installing six 11-stop 5500’s at Market Square for Schindler,

Bob Myer, Chris Boggess and two Houston mechanics installing cars at Metro Hospital for Schindler,

Dion Yatsko and John Smith running two cars at Metro Hospital for Berkshire,

Shawn Yatsko and Brandon Light at Owl’s Nest doing a two-car mod for Schindler,

Gary Thompson and Jason Mays doing a mod at Erieview for Schindler,

Felix DeJesus and Lem Hurd doing a mod at Commodore for Schindler,

Matt Carlton and Rob Timko doing a mod at CSU for Schindler,

Pat McCann and Ric Supinski doing door mods at Akron General Hospital for Schindler,

Matt Weingart, Lucas Janke, Aaron Reed and Mike Bowles doing a mod at UH for Schindler,

Joe Sumph, Dan Varga, Andy Mesko, Tom Holian, Jarrett Adams and Tristan Coughlin doing a mod at Forest Hills for Schindler,

Ryan Todd and Brian Seither doing a four-car mod at Winton Place for Schindler,

Joe Simcic and Don Yoho at Bendix in Avon adjusting three cars for Schindler,

Brian Bond and Tito Mike doing a two-car mod at Euclid Hill Villa for Schindler,

Dave Gnagy and Jay Carlson at Erieview doing a two-car mod for Schindler,

Todd Ross, James Hirz, Drew Williams and Russell Barrow at 55 Public Square doing a mod for Kone,

Tim Narowitz and Dave Ford doing a one-car mod at Acacia-on-the-Green for TK,

Anthony Metcalf and Brian Owens doing a one-car mod at 75 Public Square for TK,

Bill Dudas and Andrew Daniels doing a one-car mod at Slovene Home for TK,

Jason Fredrick and Chris Sipos doing a mod at Case 49 Building for TK,

Chris Scholle and Jason Saunders installing a car at Box Storage in Columbus for TK,

Kevin Thomas and Sean Canning installing a car at Berkshire School for TK,

Scott Hicks, Marc Carollo, Wing Lui and Brad Skotko at K&L buildings across from NASA doing a mod for Gable,

Jim Ehrbar and Tino Chabai doing a two-car mod at 11811 Shaker Blvd for Gable.

The Brothers and Sister of Local 17 send their condolences to retiree Dennis Dixon whose wife and mother both passed from complications of Covid-19.

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

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety,