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The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.2 February 2017


There is no greater calling than to serve your Brother. And, no greater satisfaction than to have done it well. Walter Reuther

Welcome to THE RELAY. Many years ago, the leadership of IBEW LU 175 published THE RELAY in an effort to strengthen the communication of information to LU 175's membership. The copy was in paper form, mailed via the United States Postal Service, and read in the hands of our Brothers and Sisters that built this Local into one of the finest in North America. The newest version of THE RELAY will now carry on that proud tradition to all generations of LU 175 membership via a 21st century internet.

Letter from IBEW Local Union 175 Business Manager Gary Watkins

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

Times flies when you're having fun. February has been so busy. Many of you were at the UTC Basketball games on February 4th...GO MOCS!

The RENEW Committee has started having regular meetings on the 1st Monday of each month at 6:00 PM. For those who aren’t familiar with RENEW,  Reach out and Engage New Electrical Workers,  it is the IBEW’s outreach to new members. Please contact Matt McCoy at the Local office or email him at for more information about connecting with RENEW.

The Local has revived Steward Training classes for our current Inside Construction Stewards. We will expand the training as we move forward into 2017. Please thank those who serve as Stewards, as is it is not a glamorous position. Stewards are frequently called upon to share news or decisions that are not popular. Please remember that these Brothers and Sisters perform a service in the workplace that is necessary to protect workers and contracts.

On Tuesday February 21st, many were on hand to enjoy a Labor history program presented by the Shelby Bottom Duo. They are currently touring with their “Joe Hill Traveling Labor History Show”. We also enjoyed a “beans and greens” dinner of pinto and great northern beans, turnip and collard greens, cornbread, chow-chow, and lots of other peppers and onions. Dessert was fresh apple cobbler and banana pudding.

To be included in notices for future events, if you aren’t already signed up, simply text: IBEW175  to 31996. This will add you to our text messaging list.

The regular 1st and 3rd  Monday meetings are always a great place to see folks and enjoy great fellowship. These meetings start at 7:30 pm.  We will also begin Code of Excellence classes in March. Please watch our webpage for dates and registration information.

While we don’t have start dates or calls yet, our best information says both Google-Yellowhammer in Stevenson, AL and Bellefonte in Hollywood, AL are expected to make good announcements later this year.

I close with the notice that many of our Units are in contract negotiations at this time. The best way to support your Union is to attend meetings and participate. Supporting your leaders shows a stronger  group.  Remember:

  “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”   Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)

Together we can accomplish much more that we can individually.

In Solidarity,

Gary M. Watkins


Letter from IBEW Local Union 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I personall y hope this writing finds everyone and their families in good health and doing well.

We have just received word of the passing of Brother Richard "Round Man" Turner. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family. Brother Turner was an excellent electrician and good brother to all who knew him. He will truly be missed and he has our prayers.

Looking forward, we have had severa l calls for the upcoming outage at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant and will be watching as Sequoyah Nuclear Plant gears up for a back to back outage as well. With several brothers working on the road, many have come home to support our efforts in manning our own work. Local 175 thanks our membership for this outstanding effort. We are still watching for information and specifics to come out on the Wacker, Bellefonte, and Google projects as they develop. There have been some fun events for our members and families to participate in and more to look forward to as Spring comes into bloom.

Safety has to be a lifestyle in all activities of life. Regardless, if it is a work or at the ball fields with our children. Safety and developing a strong Brotherhood is predicated on the involvement of all members of an organization. Everyone is always encouraged to get involved with your Local Union. This is the very thing that affords us the opportunities to enjoy all aspects of our lives. We all work with someone we can invite to our Local Union meetings. Remember, our union meetings are the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month. Please get involved.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone on staff at IBEW Local 175, the instructors at the apprenticeship school, as well as the journeyman and the apprentices for working together in helping to make Local 175 the greatest IBEW Local in the 10th District. We do the work that makes our great country strong. Thank you and may God bless each of you and your family.   

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin


Bonds of Brotherhood: IBEW Local 175 RENEW Committee begins its monthly meetings

The Local 175 RENEW Committee has started the new year off right. After sponsoring Local 175's Inaugural Fall Motorcycle Ride, the brothers and sisters of RENEW got back to business by holding its first strategy meeting of the year.   

According to RENEW's mission statement: "Greater involvement by local union members of all ages is critical to the growth of the IBEW. RENEW is an IBEW-wide initiative dedicated to creating opportunities for members ages 35 years and younger and helping them develop the skills necessary to become active in the local union and play a role in shaping its future."

During the meeting, Brother Matt McCoy and Brother Cody Walker presented an agenda associated to developing a leadership effort comprised of Local 175's younger workers. RENEW emphasizes a priority in strengthening the bonds of brotherhood and introducing the young workers to the history and values of Local 175's traditions. "The goals of this program are to educate the next generation of workers about the benefits of the IBEW, to provide a space for younger members to discuss issues relevant to their workplace and community, and to encourage their participation in programs that are focused on strengthening the local union and the labor movement."

IBEW Local 175's RENEW Committee encourages participation from all members who want to strengthen our Local. RENEW meetings are held on the 1st Monday of every month at 6:00 PM. Contact Matt McCoy for ways to get involved.  

Above photo (L-R): Brothers Tim Wright, Matt McCoy, Daniel Whiteside , Zack Ballard, Logan Haynes, Dennis Curry, Cody Walker,  Zac Painter, Mchael Dixon, Ernest Pieve, Dave Roberts, and Ronnie Casey. Not pictured: Eli Watkins, Michael Lyons,  Jeremy McClain, and  Daniel Buckmaster.


IBEW Local 175 Retirees' Breakfast

On January 19th, Local 175 had the distinct honor and pleasure to host the IBEW Local 175 Retirees' Breakfast. The 93 brothers and sisters in attendance represent some of the finest craftsman and Union representatives this country has to offer. The quarterly Breakfast is an excellent opportunity for retired members to fellowship and reminisce. 

Local 175 expresses great appreciation for those who were in attendance. Let it be known, Local 175 is the Local it is today because of the effort, dedication, and craftsmanship of these great brothers and sisters. Thank you so very much.

The next Retirees' Breakfast will be in the Spring. We look forward to it.


Membership Profile: IBEW Local 175 and Resolute Paper Products

IBEW Local 175 is more than just inside and outside construction. The brothers in the Electrical & Instrumentation division at Resolute Paper Products is one example of Local 175's various business units. Historically, the men and women of IBEW Local 175 have worked a tremendous amount of man-hours in construction and maintenance at Bowater and Resolute. 

Unit Chairman Roy Parsons has brought a significant amount of leadership and dedication to the job. Brother Parsons is excited about the growing business at Resolute Paper Products with its new tissue line and hopes to grow more opportunities for IBEW Local 175. 

The membership at Resolute recently celebrated the retirements of Brothers Mike Bishop, Bobby Thompson, and Dwight Tinsley. After years of service, Local 175 wishes these brothers a happy retirement.

Above Photo (L-R): Unit Chairman Roy Parsons, Brother Mike Bishop, Brother Jeff Eldridge, Brother Steve Serago, and Brother Gerald Lunsford.