June ’11 Cleveland Citizen

Due to the strong response to the previous welding class put on by NEIEP, a second class has been announced.  The course runs for 40 hours and will lead to a 3G and 4G certification. Classes run from June 13th through the 17th and June 20th through the 24th from 5:15 to 9:15.  Any IUEC Local 17 member interested in participating must deposit a $500 check to guarantee attendance.  If you are interested, then please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich.

NEIEP is offering an online training and licensing course called “Rigging and Signalperson.”  The course takes three to four hours to complete online.  When the student takes the exam they must score at least 70 percent.  After successfully passing the online exam, a written and participation exam will be given by the NEIEP area coordinator.  The student must pass the written test with an 80 percent and a 100 percent on the hand signals.  The rigging and signal persons card is good for three years.

As predicted here and in the labor press from around the country, Governor Kasich is setting his sights on the private sector unions through the prevailing wage laws that keep Ohio from becoming another Right-to-Work-for-Less state.  Currently, any project using government money over $78,000 must abide by the prevailing wage laws.  This keeps all except the smallest of projects paying union wages.  The governor wants to raise this floor to $5 million, functionally exempting all except the largest projects from prevailing wage.

Many years ago, those far wiser than anyone currently in the administration, realized that the building trades slogan of “value on display everyday” means what it says:  union labor does the job right the first time so it doesn’t have to be redone. The prevailing wage law was enacted to maintain quality workmanship, strengthen local economies through construction work and prevent low wage, low skilled workers from undercutting the standard of living in our state.  For the sake of a few dollars now, the conservatives are throwing the dice with our money hoping that under skilled labor will not have to have their work redone by professionals.

Here is another tidbit… where prevailing wage laws have been repealed; overall wages have declined by 15 percent.  Can you take a 15 percent cut in pay?

Call your state senator and tell them to remove the prevailing wage laws from the budget and let it stand on its own.

While you’re on the phone, remind them that if they voted for SB 5, they really angered the wrong people… teachers, police, firefighters and the vast public and private-sector union members who will remember in November.

Everyone needs to take the time to do two things very soon, register to vote and sign a petition for the repeal of SB5.  Tim has petitions at the hall but you must sign one specifically for your county.  Please get there as soon as possible to get the repeal on the ballot.

In case you have not heard, the local’s website, iueclocal17.org, is up and running!  There is a wealth of information available including links to union and signatory contractor websites, a photo gallery of past events and information on upcoming events.  It is designed to be a user friendly way of keeping the local in touch with important union news from Cleveland and beyond.  Please take a few minutes and check it out.

All members will be receiving a letter from the local about American Income Life Insurance.  AIL is a union insurance company that offers a wide range of insurance products specifically designed for union members.  Along with the letter will be a response card to have an AIL representative contact you about their services.  You will also receive a packet of information covering their services and a no obligation consultation with one of their representatives.  This is a valuable opportunity to help secure the financial future of you and your family.

Where are they working?

Jeff Lindell and Anthony Young at the Browns Stadium doing escalator repair work for Kone,

Mike Miller and nick Meyer at the Cleveland Clinic Avon installing five hydros for Otis,

John Brunner and Taurus Ogletree at CSU installing a four-stop hydro for Schindler,

Bob Garman, Kevin Thomas and Joe Broz Jr. at Quicken Loans Arena cabling for Thyssen,

Mark Byram and Dave Lehotan doing cab work at Rainbow Apartments for Schindler,

Dave Brunner at Scott Hicks at the Cleveland Clinic installing three 4-stop hydros for Schindler,

Todd Kemp and Scott Erison installing a two-stop freight at VA Wade Park for Edmonds,

John Goggin, Gene Liss and Jason Costa cabling at Ohio Savings Plaza for Schindler,

Neil Beechuk and Bill Dudas installing a two-stop hydro at Midtown Tech for Thyssen.

June ’11 Elevator Constructor Article

Brothers and sisters:

When I was a helper, I had a mechanic ask me if I was crazy after a heated exchange with another mechanic.  I responded that crazy was a medical diagnosis that we were not qualified to make.  It was meant to diffuse his caution but it supports the tenuous line invisibly walked by ourselves and those around us.

There is no doubt that the constant and increased monitoring by the companies of the every move of their employees through GPS and other means puts additional stress on an already stressful job.  What quality of service can you give to a paying customer during your six minute maintenance visit?  If my phone is ringing every forty minutes to check on my location, how much am I really able to get done?  If my boss has me under the gun to get a job in, what level of  craftsmanship can the contractor expect?

The added relationship distractions of our spouse, co-workers, children, adult parents, siblings and neighbors can feel like chains weighing us down.

Then we start second guessing ourselves.  Did I really tighten that adjustment?  Was that the right parameter?  Where are all my jumpers?  Did I do the right thing with my kids or my spouse?  Why did I yell at my neighbor for no good reason?  Is it really worth going on?

When someone in trouble does decide to step into the void, those left behind are fraught with questions that no one on this plane can answer.  All we as outsiders can do is offer support to the survivors.

This brings me to a serious point brought up at the April union meeting.  If you or someone you know is troubled or seems to show signs of being troubled, do not just walk away.  Screw GPS and tasking, turn off your phone and take the time to truly listen to what your coworker is saying.  They may be reaching out to you as a last handhold before the abyss.

We make a difference in our daily work.  That difference cannot always be measured in profit or the number of callbacks we take.  Sometimes the measure is in how we treat each other.  There have been many times I spent an extra half hour in the coffee shop or took a long lunch to listen when a coworker was troubled and that time was paid back to me when I needed it.

The point is, take the time now.  Take the time now to praise someone for a job well done.  Take the time now to constructively correct someone when needed.  Take the time now to let your loved ones know how much you care.  Take the time now to ask for forgiveness or extend understanding.  Take the time now because you do not know how much you will have.

The International offers mental health services through the National Elevator Industry Benefits Plan.  If you are having a hard time coping with a situation, please, please, please seek someone out and get help.

NEIEP is looking for contributors to Lift Magazine, its educational supplement available to all members.  The upcoming issue covers new elevator technology.  You do not need to be a professional quality writer to contribute, just having the desire to share your knowledge with others.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team of compensated Lift contributors, send your resume to Jon Henson at jhenson@neiep.org or call 508-699-2200 extension 6115.

Brother Jeff Ford’s brother Joe was recently promoted to Captain and is currently serving in Iraq.  Please keep him in your prayers.

The local sends its most sincere condolences to the families of Brother Ryan Faber who passed away on March 31st and retired Brother James Horvath who passed away on March 25th.

‘till next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don

dknapik@windstream.net

Second welding class announced

Due to the strong response to the previous welding class put on by NEIEP, a second class has been announced.  The course runs for 40 hours and will lead to a 3G and 4G certification. Classes are run from June 13th through the 17th and June 20th through the 24th from 5:15 to 9:15.  Any IUEC Local 17 member interested in participating must deposit a $500 check to guarantee attendance.  If you are interested, then please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

2011 Golf Outing Date Set

The 2011 Local 17 Golf Outing will be held on Saturday, June 11 at Mallard Creek Golf Course, 34500 East Royalton Road, Columbia Station.  The outing will start at 9 am and the cost will be $90 per person.  Of course, there will be food and drink at the turn and at the end of the day dinner and door prizes.  To reserve your spot, call Mike Hogan at 440-427-0004 or you can email him at m.hogan67@yahoo.com.

NEIEP offering online rigging and signal class

NEIEP is offering an online training and licensing course called “Rigging and Signalperson.”  The course takes three to four hours to complete online.  When the student takes the exam they must score at least 70 percent.  After successfully passing the online exam, a written and participation exam will be given by the NEIEP area coordinator.  The student must pass the written test with an 80 percent and a 100 percent on the hand signals.  The rigging and signal persons card is good for three years.

May ’11 Cleveland Citizen Article

I hope everyone had a happy May Day!  There’s a lot to talk about so let’s get going….

There are plans for another OSHA 10 and scaffolding class.  If you are interested, please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich for class dates and times.

NEIEP is looking for contributors to Lift Magazine, its educational supplement available to all members.  The upcoming issue covers new elevator technology.  You do not need to be a professional quality writer to contribute, just the desire to share your knowledge with others.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team of compensated Lift contributors, send your resume to Jon Henson at jhenson@neiep.org or call 508-699-2200 extension 6115.

The Project Labor Agreements for the casino have been completed.  While all the details are not in at this time, it looks very good that the project will be moving forward shortly.

There is currently an action with Marshall Samuels Accessibility and their split shop arrangement where one of their operations is union and their other location is a non-union shop.  MSA is a home accessibility company selling stair and wheel chair lifts, dumbwaiters and residential elevators.   If they become a signatory, then Local 17 will be picking up a couple of new members and a strong presence in a market the International is eager to penetrate.  This will also offer another company to employ Local 17 members.

At the April meeting, the membership voted to go ahead and purchase the URL iueclocal17.org and develop a website.  I am happy to report that the development has been moving briskly ahead and we should be live very soon.  The purpose of the site is to keep the members, retirees and their families informed on what is going on between meetings.  There is space for photo galleries of events like the Retiree’s Dinner held last April 15th, updates on JATC news, announcements and links to the International, union and local signatory company websites.  The hope is that it will be a go to resource for news and information as the convention is held in the late summer and the contract is up next year.

If anyone has content, announcements, births, weddings, deaths, pictures, or anything they would like to share with the rest of the local, please click on the web administrator link on the Contacts page and I will post it as soon as possible.

The local sends its most sincere condolences to the families of Brother Ryan Faber who passed away on March 31st and retired Brother James Horvath who passed away on March 25th.

As of this writing there are 25 mechanics and two apprentices out of work.

Battle Fatigue

As I write these words in late April 2011, a group called We Are Ohio, labor unions from across the state and the Ohio Democratic Party are collecting signatures to repeal the union-busting Senate Bill 5 signed into law less than a month ago by Republican Governor John Kasich.  Their goal is to get over 230,000 signatures from all over the state to put a repeal of SB5 on the November ballot.

The governor has proven to be a wiley character and as hard to pin down as an eel on his support for the bill.  He talked about “giving local government the tools they need to make (financial) decisions” which on the surface we can all agree that that is not a bad thing.  When we work in our trade we occasionally use several special tools, except the ones he was talking about turned out to be a chainsaw to public-employees right to bargain and hamstringing pubic-sector unions by legislating what they could not get by negotiating.

There is a sound political theory behind what he is doing.  I call it the “Friedman Generalization and Corollary.”  Milton Friedman was a Nobel Prize winner in Economics and advisor to Ronald Reagan during his campaign and after the election on the Economic Policy Advisory Board.  In 1982 he and his wife Rose wrote a book titled Tyranny of the Status Quo.  In that book he did a study of current economic situations around the world and how they interconnected.  Early in the book he told a story about the election of a Premier in British Columbia and what he did not promise during the election and why.

Very briefly, here is the text from Friedman’s book:

“Any measure that affects a concentrated group—either favorably or unfavorably—tends to have effects on individual members of that group that are substantial, occur promptly, and are highly visible.  The effects of the same measure on the individual members of a diffuse group—again whether favorable or unfavorable—tend to be trivial, longer delayed and less visible.  Quick, concentrated reaction is the major source of the strength of special interest groups in a democracy – or for that matter any other kind of government.  It motivates politicians to make grandiose promises to such special interests before an election – and to postpone any measures adversely affecting special interest groups until after an election.”

“Had Premier Bennett spelled out his intention to cut personnel and funds before the election, he would have aroused immediate and vocal opposition from the special interest groups affected—and only lukewarm and far less vocal enthusiasm from the taxpayers in general.  By waiting until after the election to spell out his program, Premier Bennett could hope that the bad effects on the concentrated groups would dissipate before the next election while the good effects on a broad constituency would have time both to take effect and to be recognized as the result of the measure he took.”

This is the playbook Governor Kasich and his advisors are using to hijack Ohio and turn labor back a hundred years.

They executed the Generalization flawlessly; withholding their plans until after the election and then publicly springing the effort to cut public-sector bargaining rights only after the election.  This kept public unions from effectively organizing against them and for former Governor Strickland.  Now they are in a waiting mode until 230,000 signatures can be obtained to put the repeal on the ballot.

Over the next couple of months it is going to be very important that we pace ourselves to not become burned out by the effort to repeal SB5.  With the granting by the Supreme Court of person status to corporations with regard to political activities, you know that huge money will be in play because the next step is making Ohio a Right-to-Work-for-Less state.  It is also important to be prepared for the largest privately financed effort to beat back an issue ever marshaled by any special interest group anywhere in the history of politics.  Ever.

I have a more in depth analysis on my blog, Through the Mill (through-the-mill.com).  Click on the Analysis icon on the left and cursor down to the article titled “Ohio, Wisconsin and Why the Rush.”

Brothers and sisters,  keep focused.