job information
member login

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

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 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.

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

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.

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