Vol. 2, No. 5 May 2022
“If We Don’t Have Workers Organized Into Labor Unions, We’re In Great Peril Of Losing Our Democracy.”
– Dolores Huerta
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 Brothers and Sisters,
When you read this brief note, ballots will most likely have been counted and the 2022 election of Officers at IBEW Local 175 will be completed. This is your notice. You have 3 years to campaign for office in 2025. If you didn’t vote, you missed an opportunity to have your voice heard. Union elections are mandated and bound by the Labor Management Relations Disclosure Act.
Please take a moment to thank all the candidates who offered their time and service, as well as the Election Judge and Tellers who performed the (Important) manual part of the mailing, receiving, and counting of ballots to ensure the security and sanctity of your votes. Thanks to you all!
The United Way of Greater Chattanooga is celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary this year. There are many volunteer opportunities available with the UWGC. Watch for IBEW Local 175 Volunteer Days, coming soon.
In closing, I wish to thank President Danny Painter for his partnership, support, mentorship, and general all around Brotherhood as he heads for the retirement door. We will miss your “Uncle Danny” talks! Thank you for everything.
Gary M. Watkins
Business Manager – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO
For the Membership: A Letter From Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175
Welcome Sisters and Brothers,
t’s summertime, my favorite time of year. That means swimming, boating, beach vacations, and many other outdoor activities. It also means there will be more people traveling this year since the COVID numbers are down. During the last couple years of COVID, there has been a record number of campers and watercraft sold. Be careful out on the interstate and water because of the inexperienced camper haulers and boat operators. Summer also means heat, so drink plenty of fluids and keep sunscreen on while working in the sun or in hot temperatures. The main thing is to have fun, enjoy, and be safe.
By the time you read this you should have mailed your ballot. If this hasn’t happened, you need to fill it out and take it to the post office immediately. The ballots need to be there by June 6th at 8 AM. Just a reminder, the normal scheduled meeting on June 6th will be held at 9 AM for the purpose of counting ballots and will be closed after all the ballots are counted and posted. Our next 7 PM meeting will be held on June 20th. Thank you for your participation in your Local 175 election.
President – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO
For the Membership: A Letter From Caleb Long, Dispatcher and Assistant Business Manager for Manufacturing and Professional & Industrial Maintenance-IBEW Local Union 175
Brothers and Sisters,
We just enjoyed the Memorial Day holiday. Thank you to all our service members and I offer my respect and gratitude to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. You will forever be remembered.
I have three things to offer for this month’s Relay.
- Dispatch and referrals continue to remain steady.
- IBEW/ABB-Athens union members have grown their unit by 20 new members.
- IBEW/Resolute Forest Products union members continue to experience difficult times.
First: This past month IBEW Local Union 175 dispatched 13 journeyman-level calls between 4 different contractors (inside and outside). The Outside, driven by Service Electric and MPS, has had an increase in the number of calls coming to Local 175. Garnet Electric, an Inside contractor from Alabama, has also helped to move the Inside Book.
Second: In last month’s Relay, I mentioned the recent conclusion to contract negotiations at ABB-Athens. That 3-year contract will see a 16% increase in wages and an increase in paid-time-off. The effect of a strong contract negotiation is beginning to pay dividends. The union stewards continue the strong organizing effort and have added 20 new IBEW Local 175 members since contract ratification.
Third: On December 16th, the Canadian owned Resolute Forest Products announced the idling of Pulp & Paper operations at the Calhoun, TN mill. The Mill formerly known as Bowater has, for decades, been a place where multiple generations have earned a union wage. Hundreds are now in the process of being laid-off.
When things like this happen, it is the responsibility of the Local Union to request to enter into Effects Bargaining. The request is a tactical mechanism to leverage the Company to the table to negotiate severance, continuation of medical benefits after lay-offs, call-back procedures, protection of seniority rights, or even options to avoid mass lay-offs. The fall-out from the December announcement and April lay-offs, have brought several IBEW Local 175 grievances, eliminated the in-house IBEW apprenticeship, and reduced the Resolute population of Local 175 members by 70%. Local 175 will continue to prosecute these grievances, protect the collective bargaining agreement, and maneuver towards the prospect of new ownership at the Mill. A lot of work still remains…
Hang tough out there, stay true to the value of IBEW Local Union 175, and make sure loved ones at home know how you feel about them.
Thank you for the work you do.
Dispatcher/Assistant Business Manager – IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO
40th IBEW Convention Website
Find information on the IBEW Convention newsletters, video recaps, and convention actions under the “Read More” link below: