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.

 

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August ’12 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

 

The mechanics review class started July 27th with Brother Rick Myers preparing the fourth year apprentices for the mechanics exam being given on September 12th.  Remember brothers, this is the only unbiased evaluation of your knowledge of the trade you will ever have.  Use this opportunity to its fullest.  Any apprentice that does not pass the exam will have to attend class this fall.  Best of luck to all.

In the July issue of the National Elevator Industry Educational Program’s (NEIEP) magazine Conduit, Area Coordinator Ron McKay mentioned the passing of Brother Mike Schaffer.  Here is what he wrote:

“I recently learned of the passing of Local 17 (Cleveland, Ohio) JATC Committee member Mike Schaffer.  As the owner of Edmonds Elevator, Mike served on the Local 17 committee for many years as a company representative.  Mike was typically the first committeeperson to arrive and the last to leave.  He had high expectations for the students of Local 17 and rewarded those who put forth a good effort with an uncanny loyalty.  I will always value Mike’s meaningful input, his thoughtful questions and the integrity he displayed as a NEIEP representative.”

Local 17 sends its condolences to the families of retired Brother John Sutter, 79, who passed away July 27th and retired Brother Joe Udovic who passed away July 19th.  The local also send condolences to the families of retired Brother Bernie Friem whose wife passed away and Brother Matt Johnson who lost his father.

The building trades are asking members to sign a petition calling for Governor John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine to fully implement the Affordable Care Act in Ohio as soon as possible.  The Act, also known as “ObamaCare” recently had many of its most hotly contested provisions upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

It was rumored on Thursday August 2nd and confirmed on Friday, August 3rd that IUEC General President Dana Brigham resigned his position and will retire effective September 1.  By rule, Assistant General President Jim Higgins assumes the duties of the general president until the General Executive Board can meet to name a replacement.  This must occur no later than ten days after the vacancy.  For updates on the changing situation at the International, go to iueclocal17.org.  Updates will be posted as soon as information is available.

 

 

 

 

May ’12 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

The major news at the April union meeting was the unanimous passage of the upcoming contract between the IUEC and NEBA by the locals at the ratification meeting held April 12th in Baltimore.  Our delegates, Dennis Dixon, John Driscoll, Jr. and Brian McTaggart and led by Business Agent Tim Moennich, literally returned from the ratification meeting minutes before the local’s union meeting.

Unlike the last contract there were no major points of contention and our givebacks were minimal at best.  The companies also made concessions and eliminated the “three strikes” language which caused a flooding of mechanics to the International escalating the unemployment situation around the country.  As I said previously, the International and NEBA are to be commended for quickly coming to an agreement that allows everyone in the IUEC to do what we do best… provide the best elevator and escalator service to our customers.

June 2nd is the annual golf outing being held this year at Mallard Creek Golf Club, 34500 Royalton Road, Columbia Station.  Tee-off time is 9 am and the cost is $90.  This includes cart, 18 holes of golf with food and refreshments at the turn and afterword.  As always, it will be a two-man scramble format.  So find a partner and join in on what is always a very good time whether you play golf or not.

The July 13th union meeting, besides being our second one held this year on a Friday the 13th, is our first IUEC Local 17 Bike and Car Night.  After the regular meeting, there are refreshments and food planned for everyone that wants to bring their classic or new-classic car or bike and enjoy some great food, drink and swap gear-head stories.  I will be there with Bridget, my ’73 MGB, taking pictures for the Constructor and our local website, iueclocal17.org.  Everyone takes joy in their restoration project or preserving a small piece of transportation history.  Come and share the pride in your ride.

 

In Union There is Strength

A father had a family of sons who were perpetually quarrelling among themselves.  When he failed to heal their disputes by his exhortations, he determined to give them a practical illustration of the evils of disunion and for this purpose he told them to bring him a bundle of sticks.

When they had done so, he placed the bundle into the hands of each of them in succession and ordered them to break it into pieces.  They tried with all their strength and were unable to do it.  He then opened the bundle, took the sticks out separately, one by one, and again put them into his son’s hands upon which they broke each of them easily.

“My sons, if you are of one mind and unite to assist each other you will be like this bundle, uninjured by all attempts of your enemies, but if you are divided among yourselves, you will be broken as easily as these sticks.”

From Aesop’s Fables

 

With St. Patrick’s Day 2012 a memory, I want to write about a conversation I had with a family member of a union brother.  Her name is not important but her message is.

After the parade, we met at a traditional after-party at one of downtown Cleveland’s fine hotels.  From the 10th floor we could watch the end of the event with its marching units, floats and finally the cleanup crew.  She is a veteran of the day, being of Irish heritage and participating for several years as a child whose father worked in the trades.

I asked her about her impressions.

“You know what I saw down there?”  She paused for effect and said “families.”

“I saw families coming together and enjoying the day. I saw mothers and fathers creating memories for their children and do you know the best part?”  Her voice rose in anticipation of her next point.  “They were not all Irish!”  She went on to enumerate the races and ages and how everyone was laughing, singing and enjoying the day.

I somewhat cynically remarked about how alcohol can do that.  She retorted that it wasn’t all about alcohol, it was about family.  That reminded me about the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt, and his refusal to partake of St. Patrick’s Day commercialism by going about his normal day and attending church in the evening.  To paraphrase “that is how we celebrate in Ireland and that is how I will celebrate in America.”

When I reflected later on her words and thought about the families gathered together in that hotel room, I began to see the day in a different light.  While alcohol lubricates the wheels, family gives us direction long after we sober up.  It is our family that keeps us centered and cemented in reality.

There are times when we as good union brothers and sisters must keep what happens in the hall at the hall.  This is good business.  When we gather with our spouses, children, parents and the rest of our blood family with our working family, we not only spread the message of unions as inclusionary institutions, but add more sticks to the bundle to make us an even stronger assembly.

In union there is strength.  In union, with family, we are invincible.

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April ’12 Cleveland Citizen

At the March union meeting, Business Agent Tim Moennich reported that IBEW Local 38 member John Walczak’s son Nick was one of the shooting victims at the recent tragedy at Chardon High School.  Nick had been shot several times and was at the Spine Therapy unit at Metro Hospital.  He was in serious condition and it was unknown whether he would walk again.

IUEC Local 17 and all its members send their thoughts and prayers to Nick and his family for the strength to endure the long road to recovery ahead of him.

The Union Sportsman Alliance is a non-profit conservation based hunting and fishing organization exclusively for union members and their families.  The USA’s primary goal is to protect wildlife habitats while guaranteeing access or hunters and anglers.  They are non-partisan and do not take positions on or endorse political parties, candidates or agendas. Their membership is free and open to all union members and their families. They can be reached through their website at unionsportsmen.org.

As this issue of the Cleveland Citizen goes to press our delegates will be returning from Baltimore and the ratification vote for the new five-year contract between NEBA and the IUEC.  If you were at the March meeting Tim outlined the basic structure of the agreement.  There will be pay raises in each of the five years and a portion of which going to bolster NEIEP, the annuity, health and welfare and the pension.  The most onerous section, Article X paragraph 6 which outlined the three-strikes policy for apprentices in sitting for the mechanics exam, was eliminated and the probationary period was extended from six months to one year.  There were some other minor concessions but nothing that created the rancor associated with the last five-year deal.  All-in-all it appears to be a solid deal which allows everyone to do what they do best.  In the end, that is what makes for a good union contract.

IUEC Local 125A in New Foundland, Canada reported that they signed an agreement ending their two and a half month strike.  They wanted to thank all of their North American brethren for the support they showed through their struggle.

There is still time to get your reservations for two upcoming events and mark your calendars for a third.

On Friday, April 20th our local will be honoring its retired members at Fran Sterle’s Slovenian Restaurant, 1401 East 55th Street.  Refreshments start at 5:30 and a family style dinner will be served at 6:30.  The cost to active members is $30 per person and retirees are free.  If you are planning to attend please contact Mike Hogan through the hall or you can email him at m.hogan67@yahoo.com.

Second, make room on your calendar for the IUEC Local 17 Golf Outing to be held June 2nd at Mallard Creek Golf Club, 34500 Royalton Road, Columbia Station.  Tee time is 9 am and the cost is $90 which includes golf, beer, pop and dinner.  Please have your checks mailed to Mike Hogan by May 1st.

July 13th is Local 17’s first Classic Car and Bike Night to be held in conjunction with the monthly union meeting.  We are planning a cookout and refreshments after the meeting and of course spending time sharing stories about our rides.  The meeting starts at 6 pm and anyone can bring their car or bike.  I know there are members with modern classics like Challengers, Chargers, Mustangs and Corvettes as well as Harleys, Indians and Hondas of all description.  They are all welcome as well as those muscle cars and classic rides from the sixties and seventies.  I will be there with my LBC, Bridget, taking pictures to share on the website, iueclocal17.org, and in the Constructor.

This is a real opportunity to meet other members and share some great motoring experiences.

ThyssenKrupp has agreed to pay $65 to the purchase of work shoes or boots that meet their safety standard.  The footwear must be oil resistant, have leather uppers, hard toed and EH rated to be eligible.  See your superintendent for more information.

March 2012 Cleveland Citizen

In your quarterly dues letter there are two important letters from Entertainment Chairman Mike Hogan all IUEC Local 17 members will want to make a point of attending.

On Friday, April 20th our local will be honoring its retired members at Fran Sterle’s Slovenian Restaurant, 1401 East 55th Street.  Refreshments start at 5:30 and a family style dinner will be served at 6:30.  The cost to active members is $30 per person and retirees are free.  If you are planning to attend please contact Mike Hogan through the hall or you can email him at m.hogan67@yahoo.com.

Also make room on your calendar for the IUEC Local 17 Golf Outing to be held June 2nd at Mallard Creek Golf Club, 34500 Royalton Road, Columbia Station.  Tee time is 10am and the cost is $90 which includes golf, beer, pop and dinner.  Please have your checks mailed to Mike Hogan by May 1st.

Four apprentices are currently enrolled in the NEIEP apprenticeship program.  Just a reminder that your OJT forms need to be turned in on a timely manner so your apprenticeship hours can be accounted for.  So please get your forms in on time.

There are sign-up sheets available for scaffolding and hydraulic controller theory classes.  If you are interested please contact Business Agent Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

NEIEP News

NEIEP’s new area coordinator, Jeff Burns from Local 9 Minneapolis, reported that our new apprenticeship standards were approved by the US Department of Labor and he will be working to get them approved by the state of Ohio.

There are two new online offerings NEIEP will be rolling our very soon.  The first is an escalator lab which will give great insight to those who do not normally get to work on escalators.  The second offering is a hydraulic valve lab which will explain the theory and application of how valves work.  To help illustrate the concepts, NEIEP is looking for UC4 and UV5 hydraulic valves.  If you or someone you know is tearing one out, please have your superintendent contact Tim about donating it to NEIEP for inclusion in their program.

As times get tighter, companies are looking closer at their employees.  One area that they are paying special attention to is continuing education and particularly the courses offered through NEIEP.  I have had more than one superintendent tell me that when the mangers look at whom to keep one factor is the amount of continuing education the individual has completed on their own.  The courses offered to every elevator constructor through NEIEP are comprehensive and free of charge.  Take advantage of them.

Since Saint Patrick’s Day is a few days away, Local 17 wants to invite every member of the local and their families to participate in the parade.  Edmonds Elevator has once again donated the use of their truck.  The parade will be held along Superior Avenue and we usually line up near the Plain Dealer building.  It is a great opportunity to meet other members and their families as well as create some special memories for your children or grandchildren.

December ’11 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

On behalf of IUEC Local 17 I would like to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone affiliated with the North Shore Federation of Labor.  Here is to a happy and safe holiday season to everyone and their family.

Meeting Notice:

The December and January meeting are special called meetings for the election and installation of officers.  If you cannot attend then you must contact the hall prior to the meeting or be subject to a $20 fine for non-attendance.

Starting January 1, there will be a $1.15 increase in the mechanics pay scale.  Each classification will receive an increase at their percentage of mechanics rate.

The annual Children’s Christmas Party will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from 1pm to 4pm at 3250 Euclid Avenue.  Refreshments and entertainment are provided and everyone is asked to bring a pastry.  This is a wonderful family event that brings old and young together and is a great kickoff to the Christmas season.

There was a very important mailing about a potential identity theft issue involving the Benefits office and Value Options, the network provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment.  According to the letter sent out to every participant, a computer tape containing personal information was lost in transit from Value Options back to the Plan office.  The information was provided to Value Options in order to qualify participants when they sought services.  Since neither the Plan office, Value Options or the carrier used for the shipment have located the tape, they arranged for identity theft protection through Debix for all plan participants at no cost for one year.  This includes members and their covered dependents.

Identity theft is nothing to be taken lightly.  If you have received the letter and not acted on it, I implore you to contact the Benefits office and take advantage of this opportunity to protect yourself and your dependents.  A link to the Benefits office is available through iueclocal17.org under the Union Links button.

WELCOME BACK

Brother Jeff Ford’s brother and retired Brother Bob Pudimat’s stepson, Captain Joe Ford, returned from service in Iraq.  Thank you to him and everyone serving their country.

At this writing there are 18 mechanics and one apprentice out of work.

ISSUE 2 AND BEYOND

If there was any doubt in the minds of anyone as to the sympathies of the Ohio electorate on the issue of public-sector collective bargaining, then the November 8th tsunami that led to the resounding defeated State Issue 2 spoke volumes.

Every single union member, whether public or private sector, must stand up and shake the hand of the brother or sister next to them over the defeat of Issue 2.  The turnout was nothing less than incredible and the 61 to 39 beating the Republican led Statehouse took on the issue was landslide by any measure.  In the heady afterglow of victory, there are still battles to be fought and the next one is forming as we speak.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a Columbus-based “non-profit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse” presented 1621 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to turn Ohio into a right-to-work-for-less state.  They need only 1000 valid signatures to get the go ahead to gather 386,000 signatures to place the “Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment” on the November 2012 ballot.

The amendment would turn Ohio into the 23rd right-to-work-for-less state and the first since 2001 when Oklahoma voted in RTW legislation.

This is the same group responsible for State Issue 3, the amendment to opt-out of the new federal health insurance program, which passed by a 66 to 34 percent margin.

Union brothers and sisters make no mistake, the conservative right and Tea Party activists are out to destroy American labor and their hard fought for victories.  I’ve often wondered why conservatives in particular hate us so much.

I have a lot of flippant answers but the serious one I keep coming back to is they fear the concerted action by many because it is harder to demonize a group than an individual.  The right has continuously portrayed union members as sub-humans who cannot find their asses with both hands.  Union leaders to them are cigar-smoking, whiskey-drinking, backroom dealing fat cats who are out for no one except themselves.  What a minute… isn’t that the traditional image of the robber baron of the Industrial Revolution that the conservatives love?

Conservatives are the ones that have all the correct answers and any logic that does not fit their mold of the world is rejected as obtuse thought.  This is a snobbery that perpetuates the class warfare that continues to tear at the soul of America.

I have had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with people of all social strata:  CEO’s, corporate honchos, small business owners and politicians at every level through to the people that empty their trash cans.  People are remarkably alike in their root desires after their basic needs of food and shelter are met– we all want something better for our children.

Being a union member does not guarantee success and it does not shelter failure.

Being a union member, being productive at your job, and having the opportunity to make a better life through better wages, benefits and working conditions is something worth fighting for.

Now is the time to clean your guns, stock up on ammo and be prepared.  The conservatives are coming

November ’11 Cleveland Citizen

Brothers and sisters:

The North Shore Federation of Labor is asking your support for our union brothers and sisters in the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880 (UFCW) and their efforts to negotiate a fair contract with Rite Aid.  While Rite Aid’s profits have soared they have cut hours and benefits for their represented workers and have refused to come to the table with a reasonable offer that maintains workers integrity.

Consequently the UFCW, North Shore Federation of Labor and their affiliated unions and locals are asking all members of the building trades to boycott Rite Aid.  The other represented pharmacies, CVS and Giant Eagle, each offer incentives to those members looking to transfer their prescriptions.  The UFCW is a great union that truly puts its members first.  We need to support our union brothers and sisters with the combined effort of Cleveland area labor voting with their pocketbooks.

Meeting notice

The November 18, December 9 and January 13 meetings are mandatory special meetings for the nomination, election and installation of officers.  A $20 fine will be issued for non-attendance.  Requests for exemptions from attendance must be presented to the Local 17, Executive Board or Business Representative prior to the meeting either in writing, in person or by phone.

I am very pleased to announce that the new issue of Lift Magazine, a publication of NEIEP, should be in the mail as we speak.  The theme of the issue is New Technology.  There are articles on ThyssenKrupp’s Twin system, PMS motors and regenerative drives, MRL systems and the new performance-based elevator code.  It is another tool in NEIEP’s box of continuing education for the new and experienced member.  There are also a number of classes available online.  Please take the time to check out the site at neiep.org to enhance your knowledge in the trade.

At the October meeting, Business Agent Tim Moennich reported on three deaths in the International.  The details were sketchy, but this needs to be a reminder to everyone to work safe, work smart and be very aware of what is going on around you.  Another important aspect is to not cut corners on safety or Article IV team work.  If you need help on a job, call for it.  If you can’t get it, lock it out and tell them to send a team.  Safety is no accident.

Callback from Hell

A member recently took a callback at a Parma apartment complex.  When checking out the pit, the car did not stop when he popped the bottom door lock.  When he examined the lock he found the wires jumped together on the same stud.  After correcting that issue, he decided to check the rest of the door locks.  When running the car down from the top landing, he found the same situation with the top lock.  He also discovered furniture on the car top.  When he informed the building management and the Parma Police, they arrested one the residents on a number of charges. Again, safety is no accident.

Cleveland Brown’s All-Pro lineman Joe Thomas donated ten tickets along with vouchers for food, parking and sweatshirts to be given to out of work members and their families.  The tickets are for the November 13th game against the St. Louis Rams.  Local 17, as of this writing, has five tickets left.  If you or someone you know can use the tickets, then give call Business Agent Tim Moennich a call at 216-431-8088.

Schindler recently paid $2000 to the Contingency Fund for Article IV flooring work given to other contractors at the UH Cancer Center.  This was in addition to the amount paid previously for another trade blocking cable holes on the same job.  Keep vigilant.  Your out of work brothers are counting on you.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Voltaire

Since the election is only a few days away, I do not need to remind everyone reading this that a NO vote on Issue 2 is vital to supporting our brothers and sisters in the public-sector unions.  This is the home stretch on what has been a tsunami of support for the repeal of this union busting, ill-conceived notion that in order to balance local budgets, it is necessary to legislate what the government cannot negotiate.

I was talking with a friend who knows a member of a local school board.  The board member was telling him that if Issue 2 passes, then the system will be able to keep off the state watch list.  My friend’s response was that at contract time the board needs to hire better negotiators.  Most contracts have a reopen clause which allows either side to amend an agreement before the end of the contract.  The IUEC used this with NEBA to create the Assistant Mechanic slot which has put several thousand brothers and sisters back to work since its acceptance in August 2010.

There is also binding arbitration with public-sector contracts that is designed to avoid strikes and impasses.  According to the October 16 issue of the Plain Dealer the last public-sector strike was in July 2009 and there have been 16 total strikes in the last five years.  There were 18 cases of binding arbitration in 2010 according to the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB).

SERB is the agency charged with collecting, tracking and analyzing the public-sector contracts for the state of Ohio in much the same way that the GAO does for the federal government.  The agency currently has 3,285 contracts on file.

In that same edition, the PD Editorial Board endorsed the passage of Issue 2.  An unemotional reading of the piece indicates that there was much debate among the members before arriving at the decision to endorse its passage.  An analysis of their logic, particularly in their naïve notion that the GOP led government would reexamine the more onerous aspects of the law, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the first Law of Politics “He who has the Gold makes the rules.”  Most, if not all, office holders are beholden to this law through those that fund their campaigns.

North Shore AFL-CIO Executive Director Harriet Applegate wrote in her October 22nd rebuttal that “telling Ohioans that public employees are the problem and consequently have to pay for a crisis that was not of their making is deceitful and wrong” hit the nail square on the head.  The flood of letters decrying the papers endorsement and the number of subscription cancellations because of it is further proof of the acrimony following this issue.

Does their need to be reform?  What form should it take?  Who needs to sacrifice and how?  These are all valid questions that need answers as the state moves forward after the defeat of Issue 2.

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