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.