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The Relay - September 2017

October 5th, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.9 September 2017



"The state of the Union largely depends on the state of unions." Evan Esar


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, 

I trust this writing finds you well and celebrating the great memories from the Summer of 2017. September has now come and gone, and several of our members remain working out of town.

At the Local Union we're frequently asked what we've heard about Bellefonte, Wacker, Yellow Hammer and other various projects that are set to begin in the near future. I would like to say that these projects are beginning to move, however they are static. While we believe that the projects will be built, the Owners have simply not started direct work on the sites. We have been blessed in that our Sister Locals have had an abundance of work and our members have been able to work OT within a 3 or 4 hour drive from home. While this may not be ideal, it is much better than having no work to go to.

Many of our members are getting first hand experience at being "travelers". Please remember what "Jurisdictional Courtesy" means. Some of you had bad experiences with folks who either didn't know or didn't care about jurisdictional courtesy. Wherever you go, YOU are a representative of IBEW Local 175. Please protect the good name that your Brothers and Sisters before you built.

We're grateful for our Brothers and Sisters who saw the need for health insurance, pension, a local union office, etc. On Thursday September 21st, there were 96 retirees at our Local 175 Retirees' breakfast. Be sure to check out the pictures from that great event!

October 7, 2017 finds the Local 175 RENEW Committee's 2nd Annual Fall Ride. This year several new sponsors, including the IBEW 175 Credit Union, OPEIU, NECA, and others have helped to expand the event to include a Car Show, hamburgers, hot dogs, as well as inflatables for the kids. We are working to make this a more family-friendly event.

  • Motorcycle Ride flyer is here.
  • Information for the Fall Festival is here.

October 2017 will begin our Membership Pin ceremonies. If you are due to receive a Pin, you will receive notification in the mail along with instructions on which Union meeting will host the ceremonies. Please take the time to attend the meeting to receive your pin.

This fall finds Local 175 staff members involved in organizing campaigns and bringing rank and file members on board with opportunities to strengthen Local 175 and ALL unions around us. We will offer COMET (Construction Organizing Membership Education Training) classes, COE (Code of Excellence) classes, New Officer Training, Leadership Training, Steward Training and other subjects to be determined as we move forward.

We are currently working to bring all of our Units into view. IBEW Local 175 is comprised of 16 distinct Units. We are establishing a place for each Unit on our website. Our goal is to have a different Unit featured to help us become more familiar with our family.

Let me take this opportunity to thank those who have donated to the gofundme.com accounts of Local 175 Sister Marilyn Graham and Danelle Murphy. Sister Graham is recovering from a successful liver transplant and Danelle Murphy, daughter of Local 175 Brother John Murphy, suffers from Moyamoya disease. These campaigns are still  active and the financial needs continue to grow. Please help them. We will soon have a place on our website where this type of information is posted. 

I believe the success or failure of IBEW Local 175 lies within the hearts of our members. When we prioritize Union meetings, Unit meeting, special events, community work events, and the like, the future is bright!

When compared to Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Fraternity, Sorority, Social Club, etc., it is the Local Union organization that fights for a safe workplace thru expanded safety training, a higher standard of living thru supporting good wages, a better quality of life thru negotiating for health insurance coverage, end of career benefits thru negotiated pension plans that allow us to retire with dignity following a successful career. These are but a few of the benefits of being a member of the IBEW. The Local Union gives us opportunities to grow into better leaders, better citizens, and yes, better employees.

As I close, I would like to thank those who serve as Officers throughout IBEW Local 175, Local 175 Office Manager Quennia Greene, Bookkeeper Wendy Culpepper, Secretary Shelly Bridges, and each of the Assistant Business Managers at Local 175 for maintaining the hearts of servants. These are the people that do the work to make IBEW Local 175 YOUR Local Union.

Until the next issue: 

Be SAFE, Be Proud, Be Blessed.

Gary Watkins



Letter From IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

It is with best wishes I begin this writing to all of our members. There are a lot of events  coming up in October. We have the 2nd Annual Fall Motorcycle Ride along with the Fall Family Festival on October 7th. We are looking forward to a large turnout and a lot of fun and fellowship for all. Bring the family and come on out.

On October 16th, Local 175 will have a pin presentation for members with 5 to 35 years of service. The 40 year and above pins will be presented at the next regularly scheduled meeting on November 6th.

I must also stress the importance of keeping your monthly dues paid to the current month. You have an International pension and a life insurance policy directly connected to your dues. If your dues aren't current, you or your beneficiary will not see those benefits and coverage. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.

Once again, I have to emphasize the importance of safety in our industry. Safe work practices are critical regardless of what we are doing. It is our duty to strive to prevent any accident if we're on the job or at home. It has to become a lifestyle. Two weeks ago, we had a second-year apprentice critically injured. Brother Mike Warren fell from a pump station platform into a forty foot pit. Brother Warren is now in Intensive Care. Please keep Brother Mike Warren and his family in your thoughts and prayers. In this Brotherhood we are our brothers' keeper.

Our regularly scheduled local union meeting as always are the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 7:30 P.M. On Monday, October 16th the meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M. to accommodate for our pin presentations. Please make plans to attend. Any organization is only as strong as its members. See you there.

May God bless each of you and yours.

With best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin



IBEW Local 175 Sponsors UTC Football Game

IBEW Local 175 is very proud to be a part of the strong tradition of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Over the years, Local 175 has built and maintained most of UTC's infrastructure and facilities. Our membership have benefited tremendously from the partnership between Labor and the University.

On September 30th, UTC showed their appreciation to over 100 Local 175 members and their families during the Western Carolina vs UTC football game. Our members enjoyed food, drink, and live entertainment in a family atmosphere that made for a great afternoon of Brotherhood and football. During the first timeout, IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin was presented an official game jersey as recognition of Local 175's sponsorship of UTC Athletics and the University's commitment to putting our members to work. GO MOCS!

Pictured: (Left to Right) Assistant Business Manager Caleb Long, Business Manager Gary Watkins, and President Winfred Gearrin


University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger Talks to Apprentices from the Chattanooga JATC

What does it take to be successful? What does it take to persevere against all odds? What allows individuals and organizations to achieve great things? Local 175 apprentices and Coach Heath Eslinger had that discussion.

Prior to our most recent Union meeeting, Coach Eslinger brought the same fire and intensity to a group of 80 apprentices and Local 175 membership that he brings to the UTC Wrestling program. Coach explained the hard work and effort that it takes to get through a five year apprenticeship is almost exactly the same as the requirements needed to be successful in the wrestling room. Coach Eslinger spent a hour and a half exchanging with the group on the importance of self discipline, on how setting boundaries for oneself can be liberating, and how commitment to achieving a set goal is vital to being a member of an organization. If we build a better apprentice; we also build a strong Union. This bond will make all of local 175 stronger.

Pictured: (Left to Right) Business Manager Gary Watkins, Local 175 5th Year Apprentice Tyler Lawson, UTC Head Wrestling Coach Heath Eslinger, and President Winfred Gearrin


IBEW Local 175 Hosts Retirees' Breakfast

The Local 175 Retirees' Breakfast is one of the most important events on our calendar.

On September 21st, Local 175 had the distinct honor and pleasure to host the IBEW Local 175 Retirees' Breakfast. The 96 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 January 2018. We look forward to it.


IBEW Local 175 Members at North Alabama Electric Cooperative Elect Unit Officers

Last month, The Relay announced Local 175's organizing victory at North Alabama Electric Cooperative.

On September 22nd, the Local 175 membership held its first unit officer election. The newly elected officers are Unit President - Brian Stewart, Unit Vice President - Eddie Alred, and Unit Recording Secretary - Bart Nelson.

Local 175 would like to recognize the Negotiating Committee; these members include Brian Stewart, Eddie Alred, Travis Baugh, Galen Dean, And Brandon Evans. Congratulations to all newly elected officers.

Pictured: (Seated Left to Right) - Unit President Brian Stewart, Local 175 Assistant Business Manager Jim White. (Standing Left to Right) - Gaylen Dean, Brandon Evans, and Travis Baugh.



Posted by IBEW Admin | Topic: 2017  | Category: Newsletter

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