May ’12 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

First off, a large congratulations has to go to the International’s Labor Committee and the new contract they hammered out with NEBA.  Our give backs were minimal and the new agreement eliminates the most onerous aspect of the previous contract, namely the three-strikes clause of Article X paragraph 6, and incorporates the Assistant Mechanic classification into the language.  Benefits are bolstered throughout the term, particularly health and welfare, and we get raises every year.

Last month I talked about unions and companies working together for the betterment of their industry.  In my humble opinion the IUEC and NEBA looked beyond their own interests, viewed the broad landscape of the industry and came to the conclusion that they both can coexist and prosper.

From one grateful member, on behalf of many others, thank you.

Not much has been heard of from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law and their effort to turn Ohio into a Right-to-Work state since they announced the effort back in November.  Now the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), a trade group of non-union builders and contractors, is paying circulators for signatures to the RTW petitions.

The incentives for an individual range from 25 cents to $1.50 per signature and those for a group go from $1000 for 1200 signatures to $1350 for 2700 signatures.  While the use of paid circulators is not unheard of in political campaigns, how many people were paid circulators for the repeal of SB 5?  My guess is none.

While polls currently favor Ohio to go RTW, the numbers are not that much different than when SB 5 went before legislators in Columbus.  It was a concerted effort by public and private-sector unions that sent SB 5 to the legislative dung heap.

Keep vigilant my friends… the next real storm is just over the horizon.

July 13th is Local 17’s first Classic Car and Bike Night at 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,, and in the Constructor.


Where are they working?

Ken Bowles, Gerard Szemerkovsky, Ric Supinski and Jason Sohayda installing a freight car that the Museum of Contemporary Art for Otis,

Scott Hicks, Dave Lehotan, Jim Rogers and Ron Wittwage installing two cars at the casino parking garage for Schindler,

Bernie Sickle and Ed Gimmel doing a jack and cab at Cleveland Sight Center for Schindler,

Ken Hasek, John Logue, Craig Haller, Scott Villanueva and Jason Saunders doing a mod at Key Tower for Otis,

Mark Carollo and Steve Kemp replacing doors and operators at Perry for Schindler,

John Bruner and Taurus Ogletree doing a tear out at the Union Building for Schindler,

DJ Springs, Greg Seaman, Tony Karovich, Ken Eaton, Tom Peska and Scott Erison working at the Eaton Headquarters for Otis,

Matt Pinchot and Jeff Ward doing a mod at the Cleveland Clinic Parking Garage for Otis,

Tom Gombar and Paul Schutzow doing a jack at the Salvation Army for Kone,

Don Kaiser and Tim Moore clearing up violations at 45 Erieview for Schindler,

Bob Garman and Robin Eaton doing a mod at Halle’s for Thyssen,

Jason Faber and Joe Broz Jr. doing a jack at Granada Garden apartments for Thyssen.


At this writing there are 16 mechanics and one apprentice out of work.


Till next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



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 under the Union Links button.


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.


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