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2022

The Relay - June 2022

July 21st, 2022

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.2, No.6 June 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 Brothers and Sisters,

I pray this article finds you all well and prosperous. My how time continues to march forward. By the time you read this July will be upon us. It's looking like this may be one of the hottest summers in history. As high temperature records fall around the world, we continue to promote safety. Everyone knows to keep hydrated and be aware of signs of heat stroke.

One area where we can improve is exposure to the Sun's rays. I've seen many Brothers and Sisters, particularly on the Outside who, when they remove their hat and glasses, have the "raccoon mask" from exposure. Now I've been spared from having melanomas or skin cancers so far. But I can point you to some of our Brothers and Sisters who have not. In fact, skin cancer has taken the lives of many who spend time in the outdoors.

Would you be surprised to learn that your skin is your largest organ? With that knowledge, doesn't it make sense to protect it at all cost? Science and technology have provided us with many easy ways to prevent excessive exposure to the sun's damaging rays. Please make no mistake, we're all ten feet tall and bulletproof...until the first time we have to meet a cardiologist, a skin doc, or an oncologist. The old adage "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure" is certainly true in this instance.

As you may see, I'm a believer in sunscreen, wide brim hats, sunglasses, etc., that are in the best interest of our health. Technology has improved clothing to be sweat wicking, UV blocking, cooler and lighter, among the many changes. We have to use these tools to protect ourselves, as well.

One of my dearest friends has dealt with skin cancer frequently over the past 15 years. He always enjoyed golf, baseball, outdoor recreation, in addition to working outdoors a lot. Most of us don't' think about how outdoor sports increases exposure to rays that harm our bodies.

I don't promote staying inside all the time, but I well tell you this - folks who are dealing with or are susceptible to more skin cancer- spend most of their time out of the sun.

You may be the toughest person on earth, but the day you're diagnosed with skin cancer - all that goes away. Your humanity is exposed. Your youthful immortality disappears.

You alone will make the decision, day by day to protect yourself and family from this dread disease, or not. If there was any way to prevent an accident that you knew was coming, you would act to prevent it. This is no different. I leave you with the challenge to take care of yourself physically, mentally, socially, and wholly. Your family and friends depend on you. Being a great example begins with you, and you alone.

Sincerely and Fraternally,

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,

This will be my last contribution to The Relay. The middle of this month I will be retiring after 45 years as a member of the IBEW. I would like to take this time to thank all the Sisters and Brothers of this great union. It has been an honor to serve you as an Assistant Business Manager for the last 9.5 years. I also thank you for electing me as your President for the last 3 years. The IBEW has been good to my whole family, I have 2 grandfathers, 3 uncles, and my father was a member and a contractor. My brother Ronnie and I are 3rd generation, and my son Zac is the 4th generation from our family.

I would like to give special thanks to Business Manager Barry Key for hiring me and Business Manager Gary Watkins for keeping me. I learned a great deal from both of these brothers, and the same could be said of all the staff members I have worked with these past years.

Thank all you again.

Fraternally,

Danny Painter, 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,

I have two things to offer in this month's Relay.

  1. A promise made, is a promise kept. I was asked, after members posed questions on social media,  to comment on issues relating to Family Medical Care Plan. I promised to dedicated a portion of this Relay post to those questions; so here goes. 
  2. Resolute Forest Products has new ownership.

One: In a previous Relay, I offered my cell phone number. I did that to make sure members had a way to reach IBEW Local 175's dispatcher. I take this responsibility very seriously and see it as duty For the Membership. Use it. Blow it up. Don't hesitate to call when you have questions. 

This month, I'll make another offering: I'll never lie to you. The following is an attempt to answer Family Medical Care Plan questions that came up on social media. It's not "spin", but my best attempt to offer good information.

Some of the social media comments had phrases like "my bank hours", "where does the money go after bank hours are maxed out", and "heard the difference between what my benefits cost vs. the higher H & W benefit I receive from working Book II goes to a 175 slush fund". 

When it comes to Funds, Pensions, and Group Benefits, IBEW members hopefully come to understand that there is strength in the participation. The purchasing power of IBEW members and the function of the Family Medical Care Plan is not based on the individual, but actually represents the truest sense of ECONOMIC BROTHERHOOD that exist within our Union.

Think of it this way: Brothers Henry Miller, Danny Painter, and Lonnie Stephenson are on their tools and receive union-negotiated benefits. These negotiated benefits pay health insurance premiums regardless if they never go to the doctor, occasionally go for routine check-ups, require minor surgery, or suffer terminal illness where hundreds of thousands of dollars are charged to get them well. We buy consistent coverage, at a negotiated cost, despite varying levels of need/use. That's reliability.  To go even further, the healthy Brothers Miller, Painter, and Stephenson contribute to a Fund that helps keep the sickest of the participating IBEW members well, covered, and sometimes alive. Availability to bank hours, premium costs, and coverage remain constant, despite varying health conditions, because it functions as our Fund, rather than "my" bucket.  

IBEW Local Union 175 receives no money, nor is it a "pass-through" for benefit money paid by contracting employers. There is no Local Union slush fund, no account that benefit money goes into, and the General Fund does not co-mingle with FMCP, SERF, or NEBF accounts.

Hope this helps. If not, you can always call my cell when you have questions.

Two: 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 generations have earned a union wage. With that announcement, the United Steel Workers Local 790 and 899 and IBEW Local Union 175 requested to bargain the deision and effects of idling the Calhoun operation. We were effective in negotiating enhanced severance and seniority protections. For months though, our concerns focused on the future of the Mill.

The following public notification might indicated that new ownership will bring production back. This is a developing situation, especially with contract negotiations set to begin in early 2023.

Thank you for the work you do.

Fraternally,

Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Assistant Business Manager, IBEW Local Union 175, AFL-CIO




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The Relay - May 2022

June 2nd, 2022

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

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

Greeting Sisters and Brothers,

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.

Fraternally,

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,

It'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.

Fraternally,

Danny Painter, 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.

  1. Dispatch and referrals continue to remain steady.
  2. IBEW/ABB-Athens union members have grown their unit by 20 new members.
  3. 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. 

Fraternally,

Caleb Long, 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:

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The Relay - April 2022

May 3rd, 2022

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.2, No. 4 April 2022



"All Wealth is the Product of Labor." John Locke


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 Sisters and Brothers,

As I write this note, 10 IBEW Local 175 members are preparing to go the IBEW's 40th International Convention in Chicago, IL. The Convention is typically held every five years in our current age. Early conventions were annual events, then bi-annual, followed by when the IBEW income would allow such an expenditure. In our time, the US Department of Labor requires an election of International Officers at least once every five years. The Convention was, scheduled following the IBEW Constitution, in September 2021. That didn't work out. Our International President then had to get permission from the DOL to extend the term until the second week of May 2022. The IBEW Convention kicks off on Monday, May 9th.

You will be able to follow events at the Convention by going to www.IBEW.org. I'm not sure if there will be streaming of events, but it will be worth your efforts to check out the daily updates. This is YOUR IBEW. Come along and see what's going on with it.

On behalf of our ten delegates, I would like to thank you all for choosing us to represent IBEW Local 175. I look forward to sharing stories upon our return.

Until then, I am

Fraternally and sincerely,

Gary M. Watkins, Business Manager-IBEW Local 175, AFL-CIO


For the Membership: A Letter From Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175

Welcome Sisters and Brothers,

This year is moving along quick. Seems like yesterday it was the 1st of the year. 

It's starting to begin voting season on several fronts, where some of our local communities have started early voting.

The Local 175 voting will start soon. Envelopes will start mailing out on May 12, 2022. When you receive yours please read all instructions and get them back in the mail ASAP. Ballots will be counted on June 6th. This will give us time to get you another one in case something goes wrong with the mail. All you need is to put a stamp on and mail it. The main thing we need your hep with is making sure we have your correct address before May 12th.

On Monday, June 6th our regularly scheduled meeting will start that morning before the ballots are counted. Any candidate or appointee as an observer can be here to watch the counting. These observers cannot interfere in the counting in any manner. Once the ballots are counted, we will close the meeting.

Everyone give Bret Lyness, our Election Judge and his tellers, a big thank you for making our election run smooth.

Fraternally,

Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local 175, AFL-CIO


For the Membership: A Letter From Caleb Long, Dispatcher and Assistant Business Business Manager for Manufacturing and Professional & Industrial Maintenance-IBEW Local Union 175

Brothers and Sisters,

To whomever reads this, I hope you know you're appreciated and I offer thanks to our members for the work you do. 

I have two things that are relevant for this month's Relay.

  1. Dispatch and referrals will continue to increase in the coming months.
  2. IBEW/ABB-Athens union members have negotiated a new manufacturing contract

First: The work outlook continues to look strong for both NECA and TVA. Local 175 has dispatched 181 Journeyman Wiremen during 2022.  We believe this pace is only going to increase in the coming months. 

Second: IBEW Local 175 proudly represents members who manufacture products UNION MADE IN THE U.S.A. ABB-Athens, one of Local 175's Professional & Industrial (P &I) manufacturing units, provides the construction industry with metal boxes, strut, extrusion products, and pre-fab wiring harnesses. IBEW Local 175 has represented the 243 employee bargaining unit for over seventy years.

The IBEW Local 175 Membership Negotiating Committee concluded contract  negotiations in April and ratified the wealthiest union contract to ever come to Athens. A year-long preparation at unit meeting, labor management meetings, and surveys sent to IBEW/ABB members returned four negotiating directives: a percentage-pay increase to benefit retention and recruitment, more vacation with less gap between years-of-service requirements, a new cap to insurance premiums, and protection of seniority and the bid procedure. The Membership Negotiating Committee was successful in all four areas. Congratulations to the membership working under the new three-year contract.

Appreciate you and please stay safe.

Fraternally,

Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Assistant Business Manager-IBEW Local 175, AFL-CIO


For the Membership: A Letter From Matt McCoy, Assistant Business Manager for Outside Construction and Professional & Industrial Electrical Cooperatives-IBEW Local Union 175

Brothers and Sisters,

THIS IS A CALL TO ACTION!!!

I hope this communication finds you all well and enjoying the warm weather.

I want to talk a little about an issue that will have a direct and long-lasting impact on each and every one of our members, their families, and beyond. An issue, alas, that has been Tennessee state law since 1947. Now, 75 years later, lawmakers wish to add insult to injury and enshrine right-to-work in the Tennessee state constitution. A preemptive measure that would make it more difficult for lawmakers to overturn in case of a federally mandated repeal of right-to-work.

Let's talk about what right-to-work really is, and what it is not. I will begin with the latter.

During my tenure, I have encountered far more individuals who do not fully understand right-to-work than those who do. The overall scope of right-to-work is far smaller and much more sinister than most even realize. A common misconception is thinking right-to-work and at-will employment are one in the same. At-will means an employer may terminate you at any time for any reason or no reason at all without incurring legal liability.

Right-to-work statutes address nothing as it pertains to your right to keep and maintain a job. In fact, your right to keep and maintain a job remains a core component of the collective bargaining process between unions and employers.

Following federal enactment of the Taft-Hartley act of 1947, no person may be forced to join a union as a condition of employment, nor may membership dues be utilized for political purposes. These are both separate federal laws not within the purview of any right-to-work statute.

So called "right-to-work" laws go a step further and entitle employees to the benefit of a union contract, including the right to force a union to process their grievance if they feel the employer has wronged them without paying any of the cost. Unions are the only organizations in the United States compelled by federal law to represent non-members. Under right-to-work laws, unions are required to process the non-dues-paying employee's grievance, even if it costs tens of thousands of dollars. These non-dues-paying employees also enjoy the higher wages and benefits that their dues paying coworkers fund and enjoy. In states that do not have right-to-work statutes employees still do not have to become members. If an employee elects not to join, they still must pay an agency fee for the extra benefit they receive as a result of the union and collective bargaining process. Right-to-work removes the burden of the agency fee on the non-member, forcing the union to represent them without proper payment. A quick search of the Bureau of Labor Statistics website reveals that states with right-to-work statutes have lower wages and more workplace injuries across all workplaces.

Simply put, right-to-work laws ensure a small group of workers are promised a superior product and service, without the obligation of payment for said goods and services. With hope that unions will be crippled to a point of insignificance and no longer pose a threat to corporate profits.

This in an egregious attempt to gaslight working class citizens to their own detriment via false rhetoric and an erroneous slogan. The overarching goal of right-to-work has everything to do with weakening unions, diminishing workers' rights, maintaining low hourly wages and absolutely nothing to do with anyone's rights or employment status.

But wait, there's hope! The proposed amendment will be on the ballot in November and WE CAN STOP IT! Do not assume the cavalry is coming and leave the fight to others. This battle is ours and ours alone. We need to educate ourselves and as many others as possible. We must get the word out and show up at the polls!

I ask that you all join me in taking up the fight to oppose this heinous attack on workers' rights and get out the vote!

If you have any questions regarding Amendment #1 or how to get involved please, call the Local today. It would be my pleasure to discuss this with you and get your name on the volunteer list while we are at it! We will be doing some phone banking and will need all the help we can get.

Spread the word, VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT #1! You already have the right-to-work....for less.

In solidarity,

Matt McCoy, Assistant Business Manager-IBEW Local 175, AFL-CIO


For the Membership: A Letter From Grant Rains, Assistant Business Manager for TVA Annual Maintenance, Electric Power Board, and Electrical Cooperative Utilities-IBEW Local Union 175

Greetings IBEW Brothers and Sisters,

I hope all is well with you and yours. In the Outside Utility world, work is as busy as it has ever been.

One area of focus that I would like to discuss is "internal organizing". Internal Organizing is the process of unionizing a group of employees at a workplace that already has a portion of its employees unionized or working toward organizing those in the bargaining unit that are currently not dues paying members.

Local 175 has been able to do this in the last 3-4 years at a couple of our outside utility units. In my opinion, internal organizing comes down to relationships within your work group and how you treat others. For example, if you are in the union and shun or act rudely toward someone that isn't, they are most likely never going to want to join the union. On the other hand, if you actively show those employees that the union is for everyone that wants to be a part of it you are likely to draw those people in. 

At Middle Tennessee Electric Corporation and Volunteer Energy Cooperative, Local 175 has members that show the benefit of becoming a member of the union. Along with the benefits, they also show a welcoming and hospitable attitude. Any time a bargaining unit can grow in numbers they become stronger, and that's exactly what these two bargaining units have done.

In conclusion, I would like to commend these two groups of Local 175 members for their hard work, day-in and day-out, to keep the power on in the respective communities.  Thank you for maintaining a good relationship with those that aren't part of the union today...but may be tomorrow.

Fraternally,

Grant Rains, Assistant Business Manager-IBEW Local 175, AFL-CIO



IBEW Local 175 Awards the 2022 Richard Allen Trimm Memorial Scholarship 

(Pictured L to R: Bill Hudson-Proud Local 175 Dad, Miss Anniston Hudson-Richard Allen Trimm Scholarship recipient, and Caleb Long-Chairman of the Richard Allen Trimm Memorial Scholarship)


IBEW Local 175 sent a letter, on April 25th, to Local 175 Brother Bill Hudson's daughter. It read:

"Dear Miss Hudson,

It gives IBEW Local 175 great pleasure to award you The Richard Allen Trimm Memorial Scholarship. We feel confident that you will honor the members of IBEW local 175 and The Richard Allen Trimm Memorial Scholarship with hard work and an all-out pursuit of academic excellence. Congratulations on this achievement..."

The Richard Allen Trimm Memorial Scholarship provides four years of college tuition assistance to a son or daughter of a Local 175 member or a deceased member. Our hope is that this $3,000 per year scholarship removes certain financial burdens and empowers its recipient to achieve a four-year college degree.

This scholarship is very competitive. The winning applicant must demonstrate a history of excellence in the classroom and have played a significant role in making their community a better place.

We offer our congratulation to Miss Hudson and look forward to awarding the second scholarship beginning in January 2023.



IBEW Local 175 Examining Board "Tops-Out" a New Generation of Journeymen 


On April 30th, the IBEW Local 175 Examining Board administered the 2022 Journeyman Classification test. Fifty-seven apprentices walked into the Donald E. Baker Memorial Auditorium and, after successfully passing the test, fifty-seven Journeyman Wiremen walked out. Congratulations and thank you for your commitment

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The Relay - March 2022

April 1st, 2022

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.2, No.3 March 2022



Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join a 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 Local 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,

It's time to update The Relay!

2022 is a busy year for IBEW Local 175. On March 17th we enjoyed our first Retirees Breakfast in about two years. The headcount for this event was 78. Not bad for a restart at a new location. We look forward to getting back to normal with this event later in the year. We've included a few pics from the Silver side of Local 175.

As we've mentioned in previous articles, 2022 is the year for the Election of Officers at Local 175. Nominations will be held on April 4th during the regular monthly meeting, which begins at 7:00 PM at 3922 Volunteer Drive, 37416. If you haven't received a notice of the election in the mail, you need to contact the Local 175 business office at 423.894.3557 to update your mailing address.

Before this newsletter, we haven't discussed the Local Unions' 110th Anniversary. In 2022 IBEW Local 175 will celecbrate 110 years of service to our members. There have been several other IBEW construction Local Unons in Chattanooga, but Local 175 has been blessed to be the most successful. We hope you'll join us Saturday, June 25th between 9 AM and 3 PM to celebrate and look forward to the next 110 years!

Looking back, time has passed so quickly since I topped out of the Chattanooga Electrical JATC program in 1982. It seems like yesterday when I couldn't wait to get out of class, and school. Spring is here and a new group of Journeyman will soon be on the loose. Beware, be careful, be safe. Your most important daily task is to go home safe and sound, every day.

Let's get ready to enjoy SUMMERTIME!!

Fraternally,

Gary M. Watkins, Business Manager/Financial Secretary-IBEW Local Union 175 


For the Membership: A Letter From Danny Painter, President-IBEW Local Union 175

Dear IBEW 175 Sisters and Brothers,

Hope everyone had a good month.

The last 2 months I have gone over some of our Death Benefits. If you did not read them, it would serve you well to do so. 

Let's investigate something a lot happier, our RETIREMENTS

First up, our International Retirement: this one pays out the least of the three. I think any retiree would tell you anything coming in is a good thing. You get this payout for just keeping your dues paid. it pays $4.50 per month per years worked. In other words, if you work 40 years you would receive $180.00 a month at 65 years old. You must be at least 62 to draw but from 62, 63, 64 there would be a penalty accessed. You also must be a member in good standing for 20 years to be vested.

Next up is our National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF) pension. It pays $32.00 for every year worked. An example would be if you worked 10 years payout would be $320.00. This retirement is funded as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). There is 3% on top of your gross earnings that goes into this fund. This pension can be drawn at 62, it could be received at age 60 and 61 but with a penalty. You must have worked 300 hours in one of the last 7 years to be able to draw before 63. This fund takes 5 years to be vested.

Last one up is our Southern Electrical Retirement Fund (SERF). This one is our largest fund, it is like a 401K, but is a 403B. These contributions also are part of our CBA. Contributions differ upon your classification, Journeyman Wiremen contribute 10% plus $.35 per hour and by the end of our recent contract it will be 10% plus $1.00 per hour worked. Journeyman Linemen contribute 16%, apprentices 3rd-6th period contribute 4% and CE(s) contribute 2%. Our TVA contract in all classifications contribute $4.45 per hour worked. You must be 55 years old before you can draw this fund. Be sure and check with SERF if drawing early to make sure there are no penalties. If you work consistently throughout your career, you can build up a very nice retirement. In the 45 years since its beginning this fund has lost money only 3 times, so it is well managed. This year we made 14.63%, which also saw our first our top 8 members go over 1 million dollars in their shares account. So, as you can see, IBEW 175 members can retire in comfort.

It was nice to visit with all the retirees this month at our retirement breakfast. If not for them, IBEW 175 would not be as strong as it is today. It has been at least 2 years since we have had one. I haven't seen some of these folks since the last one. Hopefully, we can get back to having these on a regular basis.

Fraternally,

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,

I'm going to start by offering a "Thank You". Dozens of Brothers and Sisters have bid and fulfilled the obligation to provide manpower to our union contractor base over the last month. Because of the members, Local 175 has filled every call. You are appreciated and thank you for your work.

IBEW Local 175 is a Union comprised of many different employment sectors. We represent employees within manufacturing, utility, electrical cooperatives, maintenance, and construction. Local 175 is strong because we train and have a wide-ranging work scope. Local 175 members can do all work within the electrical industry. 

The lifeblood of our construction units are the Apprenticeship Programs. Local 175 Inside Wireman apprentices, over the last few months, have had questions regarding City of Chattanooga licensing requirements. The concerns and input seem to be focused on how licensing will affect top-out and rerates, how journeyman classification could be affected, and not being able to travel. 

To eliminate any further confusion, IBEW Local 175 Dispatch offers the following: An apprentice who provides, to the Local Union, a completion letter from the Chattanooga Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center stating that the apprenticeship requirements have been fulfilled, will be classified as a Journeyman. The Local Union classifies and hope this addresses any concerns.

The work outlook is looking like we will be busy as we move into the Spring and Summer months. We expect calls to hit Local 175 Books from both NECA and TVA contractors.

Appreciate you and please stay safe.

Fraternally,

Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Assistant Business Manager-IBEW Local Union 175


Posted by IBEW Admin | Topic: 2022  | Category: Newsletter | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

The Relay - February 2022

March 1st, 2022

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

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.

Fraternally.

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.

Fraternally,

Caleb Long, Dispatcher/Recording Secretary-IBEW Local Union 175


Posted by IBEW Admin | Topic: 2022  | Category: Newsletter | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment