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2017

The Relay - May 2017

June 5th, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.5 May 2017



"The story of the labor movement needs to be taught in every school in the land... America is a living testimonial to what free men and women, organized in free democratic trade unions, can do to make a better life. We ought to be proud of it." Hubert Humphrey


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 175 Business Manager Gary Watkins

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

Well, May has come and gone and we're on a fast track to Summer. During the early part of this year, work on the Inside has been somewhat slow. There are signs that work is beginning to pick up, namely, we're getting a few calls. Our Inside Construction Agreement was settled in early April with NECA and IBEW Local 175 agreeing to a 2.25% wage increase for each of the next three years beginning June 1, 2017. We also agreed to include enabling language to allow Local 175 members to participate in the National Electrical Benefit Fund 401(K) plan. Information about this program is available at www.nebf.com

Thanks to our RENEW leaders, on Saturday May 6th, IBEW Local 175 had its inaugural Spring Ride: Off Road Edition. Participation was very good and the fellowship was great. The Media Department from the International Office went along on the ride and will be posting a video in the near future. Special thanks to Assistant Business Manager Matt McCoy and RENEW leaders Seth Brown and Zac Painter for their work and leadership in this event. We'd also like to thank our sister locals for their support thru participation as well! If you're interested in getting a RENEW Chapter established in your Local within the 10th District, contact Matt McCoy at Matt@ibew175.org. He'll be happy to get you the information you need to get going.

We saw the contract at Thomas & Betts in Athens settled at the end of April. This contract was settled for a period of 5 years. This allows the Local Union and The Company an opportunity to work together in a stable relationship for a longer-than-usual period of time. We believe this will benefit the members as well as the employer. This particular location has found success in refining production methods and processes in companies purchased by Thomas & Betts.

As we moved to mid May( (5/13) the Inside JATC saw 65 apprentices complete their training. They enjoyed a graduation banquet on May 20th. Congratulations to our newest group of Journeyman!

Also on May 20th, IBEW Local 175 assisted in the installation of a KaBoom! playground at the Tyner Recreation Center. Thanks to the 22 Local 175 volunteers who showed up and showed out!

Local 175 is a diverse Local with Communications, Electrical Manufacturing, Inside Construction, Line Clearance/Tree Trimming, Maintenance, Outside Construction, and Utility Units.

We're headed into another season of storms and weather events that keep the folks in our Utility and Outside groups busy around the clock. We appreciate these Brothers and Sisters that keep the lights on. Often these groups are just waiting for the storm to let up so they can get to work. They're the safest and most productive in the industry.

Over the past few months, Henkels & McCoy has been installing a new 2 circuit, 15 KV line through Ellijay, GA. If i understood correctly, this line crossed the main highway 160 times in about 15 miles. This project is wrapping up as I write this article. Thanks to everyone who made this project a success!

In the maintenance world, Resolute Forest Products is now in the tissue business. The Electrical & Instrumentation maintenance department is not as large as it once was but it is a great group to have in our local. Unit Chairman Roy Parsons is making great strides keeping abreast of this newest expansion. We're blessed to have young leaders stepping up.

I've saved what I most enjoyed this month, besides the holiday, for last. On May 21st, we had our Retirees' Breakfast at Wally's Restaurant. There were 85 brothers in attendance. As you may have guessed, we all really  enjoyed the fellowship.

As I close it seems fitting to remember:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1

Safe. It's the only way to work.

Gary M. Watkins


Letter from IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Greetings to all of our Brothers and Sisters,

In our industry, safety has to be our first priority. Our brothers and sisters, both on the road and at home, should be the example others look to and aspire to be like when it comes to safety and production. By doing this, we continue to set and maintain high standards established by our forefathers which drives Local 175's reputation in the community. We should strive to leave our job sites and/or positions better than we found them. It is with this perspective that I say, YES, we are our Brother's keeper. We are always looking out for each other and I thank you for your continued effort and support of the members of this local.

I also would like to recognize our RENEW Committee and members with appreciation. Their continued efforts in getting our younger brothers and sisters involved in the communities and events around the Chattanooga area is establishing Local 175 as a strong community partner.

Please remember to keep your dues paid up and current in order to remain in good standing with our local. Resign week is always between the 10th and 16th of each month. Local union meetings are the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at 7:30 PM. Always attend union meetings when possible. Your voice is important for the future of our local.

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin


Chattanooga JATC and IBEW Local 175 Congratulates New Journeymen Wireman

After years of hard work, 65 brothers and sisters can now call themselves Journeyman Wireman. The Chattanooga JATC presented its graduates to family, friends, elected officials, and business owners on May 20th at the Chattanooga Trade and Convention Center. The men and women of this program completed over 1000 hours of classroom training and 8000 hours of on-the-job training.

The application process for the Chattanooga JATC opens July 5th and will run thru the end of December. http://www.chattanoogaelectricaljatc.com/www

Congratulations to Apprentice of the Year recipients Ben Foster, Jarrod Durham, and Colin Cole.



IBEW Local 175 Builds a Playground

When the community asks for help, IBEW Local 175 answers the call. 

On May 20th, IBEW Local 175 partnered with KaBoom! playground, Dr. Pepper, and City of Chattanooga to bring a new playground to the Tyner community. The Local 175 volunteers spent the day pushing shovels, mixing concrete, and running wheel barrels. Councilwoman Carol Berz opened the playground with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and seized the opportunity to thank IBEW Local 175 and Iron Workers Local 704 for their dedication to the project.

If you are interested in volunteering or want a community service project in your area, contact IBEW Union Hall at (423) 894.3557.

Special Thanks to the IBEW Local 175 Volunteers: Pieve family, Zac Painter, Ashton McMullan, Zach Ballard, Hunter McCaskill, Mike Grant, Mike Lyons, Dan Griffin, Eddie Long, Steven White, Brian Boaen, Matthew Gogolin, Michael Dick, Danny Painter, Winfred Gearrin, Kent Adams, Duane Evans, Caleb Long, Jenni Berz, and Rich Michael

http://wdef.com/2017/05/21/volunteers-put-together-new-playspace-kids/


IBEW Local 175 Hosts Retirees' Breakfast

On May 18th, Local 175 had the distinct honor and pleasure to host the IBEW Local 175 Retirees' Breakfast. The 85 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, solidarity, and craftsmanship of these great brothers and sisters. Thank you so very much.

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


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The Relay - April 2017

April 10th, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.4 April 2017



"Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice." Dwight D. Eisenhower


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 175 Business Manager Gary Watkins

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

What a privilege it is to be able to address you each month. With each newsletter I am striving to show more of the breadth of IBEW Local 175 than most members normally see. March was a busy month and that busyness rolled right over into April. Jim White, Matt McCoy, President Winfred Gearrin, and I attended the IBEW National Construction Conference in Washington, D.C. March 30th thru April 1st. There was a lot of business discussed and, as always, workshops including training, legal issues, financial reporting, and several other topics.

The first full week of April found Local 175 hosting the first C.O.M.E.T. Train-the-Trainer class in quite some time. It was attended by Assistant Business Managers Danny Painter, Matt McCoy, Caleb Long, and Business/Member Development Director Mike Grant. There were participants for North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and Alabama. This was a great time for fellowship and bonding for our Brotherhood. Mind you, these aren't all the things going on, just a glimpse at some highlights. Watch for C.O.M.E.T. classes as they will be rolled out very soon.

Week Two allowed us to get back to many of the daily tasks that we had temporarily pushed aside.

Let me insert here the contract negotiations were ongoing at:

  1. Thomas and Betts manufacturing in Athens, TN (Settled 4.22.17)
  2. NECA - Inside Construction (Settled 4.7.17)
  3. CRC - Call Center (Settled 4.14.17)
  4. North Alabama Electrical CO-OP - New Unit (In Progress)

Please note: On the first Monday of each month at 6:00 PM we have an Inside Construction Stewards meeting and a RENEW Committee meeting prior to the Union meeting which begins at 7:30 PM.

We are also having Code of Excellence classes on the third Monday of each month from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM. If you plan to attend one of these sessions please call our office (423.894.3557) and ask to be added to the class list. We plan to offer Code of Excellence classes at different times for those who are traveling. That schedule is pending at this time. Stayed tuned for more information.

I would like to extend special thanks this month to everyone involved with negotiations last month and this month. Your work keeps the framework together that makes our organization successful. THANK YOU!

As I end my April notes, I leave you this thought:

"He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster." Proverbs 18:9

Gary M. Watkins



Letter From IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

It is a good time to be a member of this great Local. We have recently experienced positive results with several contracts being negotiated and settled. A few of those include our inside agreement with the NECA contractors, a new utility unit at North Alabama Electrical Co-Op, the manufacturing unit at Thomas & Betts/ABB in Athens, TN, as well as several other utilities and Co-Ops. It is good to know all of your representatives are working hard and looking to the future for all the members of Local 175. With that, I am encouraging everyone to be involved with the Local in some way. You, the members, hold the key to our future.

Our meetings this month are on the 1st and 15th. Please make plans to attend. Also, remember to keep your dues paid current and inform the ladies in the front office of any changes in your phone number, address, or beneficiary. These are all in your best interest to keep current. When you come in or call, please remember to thank the ladies in the front office for all they do. A little kindness goes a long way. You can be the one to make someone's day.

In closing, John F. Kennedy one said, "In your hands lies the future of your world and the fulfillment of the best qualities of your own spirit." It is the members' involvement that makes the future of our local better today than yesterday.

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin


IBEW Local 175 Opens Training Opportunities

Business Manager Gary Watkins has opened a new series of training opportunities. Code of Excellence classes are now being offered on the third Monday of every month from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM.

The classes are meant to reinforce the standard that is expected of all IBEW union members. NECA contractors are also presenting Code of Excellence to owners and general contractors as a way to sell IBEW services and grow market share. Additionally, our membership is informing Local 175 that some jurisdictions are requiring an up-to-date Code of Excellence class when taking a referral. Call IBEW Union Hall at (423)894.3557 to register for Code of Excellence training.

Special thanks to those members who attended the last COE class:

Kent Adams, Joe Bell, Jeff Bingham, Dennis Curry, Charles Campbell, Tim Wright, Jerry Marshall, Jameese Cox, John Thompson, Cary Fouts, James Springfield Jr., Jason Bethune, Greg Niles, Logan Haynes, Jeremy McClain, Zac Painter, James Mathews, Keith Ammons, John Griswold, and Jonathon Rogers.




IBEW Local 175 and Thomas & Betts Reach Contract Agreement

In early March, David Winters and the Union Negotiating Committee began strategy sessions for the upcoming April contract talks. Brother Winters, Chief Steward and Lead Negotiator at the Athens facility, had a goal to formulate a contract proposal that provided the best compensation and benefit package for the 252 employee bargaining unit while still enabling the manufacturer to maintain a strong market position. 

The Athens facility has overcome many hardships over the last year. Last September, a work place shooting resulted in the death of three employees. The Thomas & Betts Corporation also experienced a change in ownership when it was bought by ABB.  On top of these changes, growing competition from overseas manufacturers such as China, who produce goods and materials with significantly lower labor costs, have made competition for the American manufacturer a very narrow game. Brother Winters and Human Resource Manager Trony Brooks recognized the opportunity a new contract would bring to the security and the future of the plant. The question was how to arrive at an agreement.

The month of April brought both sides to the negotiating table. The Union Committee, assisted by Manufacturing Representative and IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin, proposed across the board wage increases, protections against higher health insurance premium increases, and language changes associated to disciplinary action and plant rules. The Company proposed value-based options to new health care plans, hourly rate increases associated to staying competitive in the marketplace, and introduction of new fringe benefits regarding life insurance and accident & sickness leave.

The Thomas & Betts/IBEW negotiation is a testament to the value of having a strong "partnership". A new contract was reached by keeping an eye on doing future business for years to come. The Athens bargaining unit enjoys very competitive wages in the Southeast and ranks as one of ABB's highest compensation packages. On April 20, the union membership ratified the five year contract with an 84% approval vote.

(Picture: Trony Brooks, Human Resources Manager (left) and David Winters, Chief IBEW Steward. )

Special thanks to those who negotiated on behalf of the IBEW Local 175:

IBEW Negotiating Committee: David Winters-Chief Steward, James McCowan-Unit Chairman, Tracy Johnson-Recording Secretary, Leon Poe, Mike Mull, Larry Hunt, and Jimmy Parkinson




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The Relay - March 2017

March 1st, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.3 March 2017


"If I went to work in a factory the first thing I'd do is join a union."


Franklin D. Roosevelt


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,

2017 is really picking up speed. It’s April already, but you know that, don’t you?!

We currently have contract negotiations going on in the NECA/Inside Construction branch, Thomas & Betts manufacturing, Cooperative Response Center P&I branch, and North Alabama Electric Cooperative with others soon to follow.

To begin April, Local 175 is hosting our first Construction Organizing Membership Education Training (COMET) class in several years. The first class is designed to Train-the-Trainers. Several Local 175 agents will begin this class. Agents from across the 10th District (Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) as well as from the 5th District (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Panama Canal, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands will also participate. While I realize that everyone may not be totally on board with Organizing, we must remember that we all take the same oath and are at that time "organized" into the IBEW. It is our responsibility to share our code of conduct, means of communication, Brotherhood, and all aspects of being union members. Someone taught us, and now, it is time to pay those lessons forward.

As we move ahead I will attempt to make information that I think will be of interest available thru this column. There are groups and interests around us that align with many of our core beliefs.

One of the groups aligned with organized labor is Union Plus. They provide services specifically to union members and their families. We recently had their union agency representative, Dawn Collins, give a seminar to several members. You can get information concerning mortgages and other programs by clicking here UnionPlus.org.

Local 175 partnered with Blood Assurance in early March to support them when they experienced a  dangerously low point in their supply. We plan to have another event with them in the Fall. Stay tuned.

The Inside Construction Stewards meeting is also held on the 1st Monday at 6:00 pm in the main conference room at the Local Union hall. For more information contact Toby Smith at Toby@ibew175.org

Our RENEW meetings will continue to be held on the 1st Monday of each month at 6:00 pm prior to the union meeting which starts at 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held in the Local Union auditorium unless otherwise noted.

The RENEW Committee is also sponsoring a  Spring Ride Off Road Edition on May 6, 2017. For more information contact Matt McCoy at Matt@ibew175.org

We look forward to nice (dry) weather so that we can begin having hot dogs and chili before meetings again. If you’re not coming to RENEW or Stewards meetings you’re missing great fellowship opportunities.

Our Local Union is only as strong as its weakest link. Don’t be that link. Get involved in events and activities that are sponsored. If you have ideas for events bring them to our attention. Let’s see if there’s enough interest to get a Local group started.

Like every other organization in the world, ours is run by the people who show up. You must first realize that you have a voice before you can use it. If you re not included in activities, don’t get your feelings hurt, get yourself in he loop.

The quickest way for any organization to die is to exclude the younger members. All of our industries are changing and we must be flexible in our knowledge if we are to survive and succeed. Youth in this organization will keep it strong and growing.

We’ve discussed several topics recently and Code of Excellence continues coming up in conversation. I will begin scheduling COE classes on the 3rd Monday of each month beginning April 17th. The class will begin at 5:30 pm in order to be completed before time for the regular union meeting. If you want to be included in the class, please call our office and have Quennia, Wendy, or Shelley put your name on the list. Please don’t wait until the last minute to register. This class is a worthwhile investment of your time. We believe it will help members understand many of the issues encountered when dealing with customers, their perception of our members, and work ethics. I hope you will all make an effort to attend the classes. The first few sessions will be directed at the Inside Construction workers. The International Office is currently updating the COE specific to Manufacturing, Maintenance, Outside and Utility groups. They will be offered as soon as they are available. Please watch this column for that information.

While this column may seem to jump around, I’m trying to capture the most relevant items to present to you. Thank you all for your support and for everything that you do each and every day to shine the best possible light on IBEW Local Union 175. After all, YOU are IBEW Local Union 175.

“In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6

In solidarity,  

Gary M. Watkins


Letter from IBEW Local Union 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Greetings to all of our Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for being a part of one of the best locals in the entire International. We are truly blessed with good members and leaders.

I would like to encourage everyone to be active and get involved in any of the events going on in our local. You can begin by attending the meetings on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. April's meetings will be on the 3rd and 17th. Please make plans to attend.

It is vitally important to maintain an up-to-date dues receipt. Staying current is a good union practice and it ensures you and your family are entitled to your benefits. Please remember to keep your dues paid current and inform the ladies in the front office of any changes to your phone number, address, or beneficiary.

Spring is here and the weather is warming up. We are anticipating an improving work forecast for our jurisdiction. On the positive side, we have sent several to Watts Bar for the Unit 1 outage with Sequoyah's outage to follow. We have several brothers and sisters working on the road in other jurisdictions across the country. We are really looking forward to work picking up here before the end of the year. 

It was once said, one person with courage is a majority. Going forward, stay safe and keep up the good work. As always, thank you and may God bless each of you and yours.

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin


Bonds of Brotherhood: IBEW LU 175 Strengthens the Brotherhood with The Spring Ride: Off Road Edition

This past October, IBEW LU 175 held an Inaugural Fall Motorcycle Ride. Over forty LU 175 brothers and sisters braved the cool fall morning to share in the bonds of brotherhood during the 4 hour ride. This Spring, IBEW LU 175 is taking a different route. WE'RE GOING OFF ROAD! 

On May 6th, IBEW LU 175 will be hosting The Spring Ride: Off Road Edition. LU 175's RENEW Committee, our young worker initiative, has again stepped up to plan this brotherhood opportunity. The ride will begin at 12 PM EST on public trails at Austin Bend Farms in Dunlap, TN and should conclude that evening around 5 PM. The event will also have food and drinks when everyone arrives back from the trail.

Event coordinator and RENEW Chairman Matt McCoy, matt@ibew175.orgdescribes the off road trails as best suited for ATV, side-by-sides, and true off road vehicles and recommends registering online to reserve a T-shirt and help IBEW LU 175 get a head count for food. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Reserve now @ https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-ride-off-road-edition-tickets-33007655787



Membership Profile: Chattanooga JATC and IBEW Local 175 Welding Program

The Chattanooga Joint Apprenticeship Training Center (JATC) has a well established track record of recruiting and developing Local 175's workforce. Students who pursue a traditional academic path often graduate from 4-year institutions with a mountain of college debt and few applicable skills. By comparison, the JATC and its graduates pride themselves on their distinct competitive advantage. The program, through the combined effort of IBEW 175, TVA, and the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), consists of  5 years of classroom theory and 8000 hours of on-the-job training which strategically position these graduates with the skills necessary to earn top pay. 

In a competitive job market, employers and training facilities must stay fluid when adapting their training curriculum. The JATC's new welding program, a 200 hours course taught by JATC Instructor Larry Ponder, is a prime example of being able to meet marketplace demand. JATC Executive Director Kenny Smith and representatives from TVA began conversations in an effort to ensure that an adequate supply of Local 175 electricians were trained to handle on-site welding.  In the program's first year, five Journeyman Wireman received their welding classification.

Local 175 Inside Journeyman Wireman/Welder Michael Dixon described the training as, "almost complete job security." Brother Dixon, a graduate of the JATC's 2016 inaugural welding class, is currently working at TVA's Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. "In the line of work we're in you have to make yourself hard to get rid of. With Brother Scottie Stone and myself on the job and welding certified, we were able to ensure that IBEW Local 175 electricians did our welding," explained Brother Dixon.

Thank you Chattanooga JATC and the new Journeyman Wireman/Welders that are gaining the skills to protect Local 175's work.

If interested in the Welding Class or any additional training the JATC has to offer click:

http://www.chattanoogaelectricaljatc.com/www




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The Relay - February 2017

February 1st, 2017

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 matt@ibew175.org 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 personally 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 several 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 matt@ibew175.org 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.



Posted by IBEW Admin | Topic: 2017  | Category: Newsletter | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

The Relay - January 2017

January 1st, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.1 January 2017


As iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another. Proverbs 27:17


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

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings to all members of IBEW Local 175.

It is my honor and privilege to serve as Business  Manager/Financial Secretary of IBEW Local 175 at this great juncture in our history. The IBEW Local 175 membership is comprised of twenty-one counties including eleven in Southeast Tennessee: Bledsoe, Bradley, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie. Local 175 also serves members in eight counties in North Georgia: Catoosa, Dade, Fannin, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Walker and Whitfield and two counties in Northeast Alabama: Dekalb and Jackson. We serve various electrical cooperatives, utilities and one municipality in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

We are proud to announce the transition from printed newspaper to the digital domain. We hope you find THE RELAY useful, worthy of your time, and entertaining. Check the newsletter each month to learn more about our business units and our membership. 

THE RELAY will highlight who we are, where we are, who we serve, and present informative stories from our brothers and sisters.  We plan to use this newsletter to bring news of current events, work and job reports, notices of training, and other items that provide a direct benefit to Local 175 membership. Additionally, Local 175 uses Facebook to disseminate items that are more time sensitive. Look for the IBEW Local 175 Facebook page. If  you see or have news items that you wish to have considered for inclusion, please submit them to: news@ibew175.org.

Many of Local 175's membership have requested Steward training, Code of Excellence, and other training. I will begin teaching Code of Excellence classes in February. Other classes will follow, with dates and enrollment instructions posted on Facebook.

We are are excited to host a "Beans & Greens" night at Local 175 on Tuesday, February 21st from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm. For our entertainment, the Shelby Bottom Duo will be performing songs of the musical history of Joe Hill and the early labor movement. We will have 200 tickets available for this evening. Tickets are $5 with proceeds to benefit the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. You can reserve tickets by calling the hall at 423.894.3557. Join us for good food, good music, and great fellowship.

Finally, this is truly a new age. January 20th, 2017 saw the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the Untied States of America. Whether or not you supported President Trump, I believe that it is our duty to pray for our leaders. During this new time, we should ask that all leaders are blessed with guidance and wisdom to lead our nation forward  to peace and prosperity. 

Thank you for all you do!

Fraternally and sincerely,

Gary M. Watkins


Letter from IBEW Local Union 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to begin with thanks and appreciation to the membership for allowing me to serve as your President. I can assure you the officers you have chosen and those who have been appointed are brothers and sisters of the highest integrity and are committed to serving with an unwavering determination to make our Local the best it can be.

This is a transition time in our Local due, in part, to our work outlook and the completion of the Watts Bar Unit 2 Construction Project. It is encouraging to know we have a lot to look forward to in the next year with the upcoming February outage at Watts Bar and then the March outage at Sequoyah Nuclear. Wacker Chemie AG is also planning $150,000,000 investment in plant expansion projects to its Charleston, TN facility. Later in this year, there will be opportunities in the developing projects at Bellefonte Nuclear and Google-Yellow Hammer. These projects will aid in getting some of our membership back home and working in Local 175's jurisdiction again.

In closing, I would like to encourage everyone to get involved with Local 175. You can start by attending the union meetings. It is there, your voice can be heard and put into action. We will have many events coming up this year that will be good for you to be a part of in some way. I wish for a prosperous and blessed year for all.

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin


Bonds of Brotherhood: IBEW LU 175 Strengthens the Brotherhood with The Inaugural Fall Ride

This past October, IBEW LU 175 held an Inaugural Fall Motorcycle Ride. Over forty LU 175 brothers and sisters braved the cool fall morning to share in the bonds of brotherhood during the 4 hour ride. 

The beginning point of the poker run began at Crockett PowerSports-Chattanooga with stops at Big Daddy's Fireworks in Powell's Crossroads, Sequachee Valley Electrical Co-Op in South Pittsburg, and Charlie's Lounge in Soddy Daisy with the ride culminating back at the LU 175 Union Hall.

“In the initial planning stages, we wanted to reintroduces fellowship outside of work,” said Asst. Bus. Mgr. Matt McCoy, co-coordinator of the Fall Ride. “We tried to plan for all worst-case scenarios in order to provide a good ride, excluding one flat tire and one blown fuse we were able to have an awesome event.”

Riders and their families of the Fall Ride enjoyed the warmer afternoon with a catered BBQ lunch, a coronation of the poker run winner, and tables of door prizes. IBEW LU 175 partnered with multiple vendors such as Milwaukee Tools, IBEW LU 175 Credit Union, Thunder Creek Harley Davidson, InLine Electric Supply Company, Crockett PowerSports, ALTEC, and Costco which provided resources and prizes to show appreciation of the members that attended. 

IBEW LU 175 hopes that the success of this year's Fall Ride leads to a bigger event next year. Look for it again in 2017.


Brother Seth Brown leading the pack.

Brothers Zac Painter and Dennis Curry with their better halves.

Brothers Gary Watkins, Seth Brown, Ray Stillwell, Brian Hunter, and Eddie Long.

BBQ and brotherhood after the ride.

Brothers Kevin Taunton, Bob Hopper, Eddie Long, Caleb Long, Ernest Pieve, and Zac Painter.

Brothers Scott Moore, Lonnie Stephenson, Darren Brown, and Randy Day.


Membership Profile: Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

IBEW Local 175 is more than just inside and outside construction. Meriwether Lewis is one example of our various business units. Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative is comprised of twenty one IBEW Local 175 lineman that services Perry, Hickman, Humphreys, Houston, and Lewis counties. These Local 175 lineman work hard to insure that 34,000 Middle Tennessee homes and businesses have reliable electrical service.

Brother David Qualls represents Local 175's members as Unit Chairman at Meriwether Lewis. These brothers recently celebrated their annual Christmas meeting with 20 out of 21 members in attendance. 

This Summer, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and IBEW Local 175 enter into contract negotiations. Show support to these members. Their success is our success.


Posted by IBEW Admin | Topic: 2017  | Category: Newsletter | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment