Vol.2, No.2 February 2022
“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.
For the Membership: A letter From Gary Watkins, Business Manager-IBEW Local Union 175
Greetings IBEW Local 175 Sisters and Brothers,
I hope this message finds you all well and prosperous! By now you all realize that time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana. Spring is just around the corner and there is an ice storm just northwest of Memphis, TN. These are unusual days, indeed.
I’ll be brief this month. I want to share our calendar for the foreseeable future.
- On Thursday March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day), we will have a Retirees Breakfast at the IBEW Local 175 Union Hall beginning at 9:00 AM. While we won’t have the regular spread from Wally’s Buffet, we will have plenty food to enjoy, fellowship, and breaking bread together after such a long drought.
- On Monday April 4th, nominations for Officers at IBEW Local 175 will be held during the regular Union meeting.
- On Monday May 9th, the 40th IBEW International Convention will begin in Chicago, IL. Local 175 has 10 delegates elected to represent us at this event.
- On Monday June 6th, election of Officers will be held during the day. Results will be posted on the ibew175.org website as soon as they are certified.
- On Monday July 18th, newly elected Officers of IBEW Local 175 will be sworn in at the regular Union meeting.
I hope to see you at many of these opportunities for fellowship.
Fraternally and sincerely,
Gary M. Watkins, Business Manager/Financial Secretary-IBEW Local Union 175
For the Membership: A Letter From Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175
Welcome IBEW 175 Sisters and Brothers,
Last month I went over IBEW 175 Death Benefits, since then we picked up a few new members to the fund, could use more, hopefully it will grow.
This month I’m going to write about some of our other funds.
Let’s start with International Death Benefit Fund. You must have been a members in continuous and active, good standing for 6 months to be eligible. Also, you can be no more than 2 months behind on your dues. Your beneficiary would receive a sum of $6,250 for any natural causes of death, and $12,500 for any accidental means. This information can be found in your Constitution under Article 11, section 4 (a).
We have another accidental death benefit with American Income Life. $4,000 for just having your dues paid up.
Family Medical Care Plan has a death benefit of $10,000 plus an accidental death benefit of $10,000 for all the inside wireman classifications. The accidental death doubles if work related.
Lineco has a death benefit of $10,000 plus an accidental death benefit of $20,000 for all the outside lineman classifications.
Last month I told you that the NECA contractors work was picking up. Since then we have had nearly 20 calls for our NECA contractors, on top of the numerous TVA calls. What I’m hearing is that there may be more calls coming.
Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175
For the Membership: A Letter From Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Recording Secretary-IBEW Local Union 175
Dear IBEW Local 175 Brothers and Sisters,
My cell/home phone number is 423.602.1010. Offering a cell number may not be a typical way to open a newsletter but I have a story and a plan that will help explain.
Before we get to the story, think about what previous generations of IBEW Journeyman experienced when they pulled out of their driveway looking for work. Start by inventorying the resources we have now that wasn’t available to the previous generations. Cell phones were non-existent or, in the best case, used by very few. Social media wasn’t available to share information about work or to get feedback about living conditions. Imagine going on a book-signing tour, trying to locate mail-box locals or navigate on a tight timeline with no MapQuest, Google Earth, or Siri whispering directions in your ear. We can all agree these old-school Brothers and Sisters, with limited resources available, were true trailblazers.
Now to the story.
My dad, Eddie Long, retired from IBEW Local 175 in 2013. He primarily worked his 42-year IBEW career from Book II. His family enjoyed benefits and union-money flowing back home for work in IBEW locals such as Local 1547 (Alaska), Local 3 (New York City), Local 153 (South Bend, IN), Local 164 (Paramus, NJ), Local 317 (Huntington, WV), and a dozen others that had the work and took care of IBEW business.
Back in the mid-1990s, Brother Long had a good run in the Chicago area. A Journeyman Wireman could work and stay busy between Local 134-Chicago and the neighboring Local 697-Gary/Hammond suburbs on both long and short calls. As the story goes, Brother Long was stranded outside the Local 697 union hall making $.25 calls from a pay phone. He was calling Local 175 needing information so he could take a Book II referral. The city of Gary/Hammond, Indiana did not have the best reputation and was the last place a country-boy from Tennessee 1) without a referral and 2) low on quarters wanted to be as close-of-business was approaching. He had no other resources and all he wanted was information from his home Local.
When Brother Long came home a few months later he went to talk to Assistant Business Manager/Dispatcher Barry Key. I’m sure Brother Long brought about 1,000 lbs. of frustrated torque to that meeting because of not getting in contact with a Local 175 representative. His frustration ended when Brother Key offered, “Eddie, here’s my home number so this won’t happen again.” Brother Key didn’t attempt to explain away the past, he simply provided a resource and a tool for future use.
The moral of the story is “Be a Service to the Members“. It’s Brother Key’s example of leadership and service that leads me to offer my cell/home number.
I’ve thought about the importance of that story as I move to the dispatch responsibility. Questions have come up like: How to be available? How to be resourceful in this new role? How can the dispatcher best support Book I and Book II? I’ll start with the cell/home number, but please know IBEW Local 175 stands in support to our working Brothers and Sisters.
Thank you for your work.
Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Recording Secretary-IBEW Local Union 175