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The Relay - October 2017

November 6th, 2017

The Relay

The IBEW Local Union 175 Newsletter

Vol.1, No.10 October 2017

"Unions are the leading force for democratization and progress ." Noam Chomsky

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 to my IBEW Local 175 Brothers and Sisters,

I hope this note finds you all well and working. We've reached the end of October and are heading into cooler weather. On the construction side of the house it seems like new jobs don't break ground until the weather is bad...hopefully the weather will remain relatively good AND we'll get some new work started soon.

Over the past couple of years, several members have asked about Steward Training. We have attempted to include everyone who has asked for the training, as well as, several up-and-coming members who will be better leaders because of this training.

In the first week of November, we will have TVA Steward Training, Construction Steward Training, and Officer Training. These classes represent an investment in the future of IBEW Local 175 as a whole and in the Units themselves. I appreciate the patience shown by  many of you in getting the classes scheduled. I also appreciate the time that goes into learning to serve in new capacities or simply gaining new perspectives in our work.

As I mentioned previously, Local 175 is a conglomeration of 16 different Units. We have plans to spend time with each Unit by helping them grow and become more self-reliant. Some of our Units have been on a bi-monthly or quarterly meeting schedule. We are returning to monthly meetings with each of our Units. These are membership meetings where trained Unit Chairmen and Officers will help facilitate a safe and open meeting, free of fear of retaliation or harassment when discussing issues that directly affect them.

As it pertains to Units, we are seeking members with computer knowledge, within each Unit, to help with their Unit's section on the 175 website. As we get folks involved we will add their sections. Please contact Caleb Long or Matt McCoy at the Local 175 business office, 423.894.3557, for more information about this.

I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that we have members who are sick and in need of support. Please feel free to drop me a line at if there is someone that I need to add. We are looking at adding a page with a list of pages for Local members and families. We're often contacted by members who want to help by making a monetary donation. Following much discussion we determined that this was the most accessible, secure, and direct route to handle contributions.

  1. Sister Marilyn Graham has had a successful liver transplant and is doing well. Her medications and other expenses, however, far outweigh her limited income. Click HERE for Marilyn's GoFundMe page.
  2. Danelle Murphy is the daughter of IBEW Local 175 member/International Rep. John Murphy. Danelle suffers from a rare disorder known as MoyaMoya. She is doing much better, but still has miles to travel. Click for HERE Danelle's GoFundMe page.
  3. Michael Warren, a 2nd year apprentice and IBEW Local 175 member, accidentally fell 40' into a concrete pump station but is improving daily. The Warren family has asked us to express their thanks for the incredible outpouring of support. Click HERE for Michael's GoFundME page.

I'm always grateful for the opportunity to serve the membership of IBEW Local 175. I'm also very blessed to have a group of Assistants that work tirelessly to ensure your interests are represented and your business is taken care of.

The Construction meeting and General meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 7:30 PM. Unit meeting times and locations vary by Unit. Always support your Stewards and Union Respresentatives. With out them, the Union would suffer greatly.

The only way to spell Union is with U-N-I at the front.

In solidarity,


Letter From IBEW Local 175 President Winfred Gearrin

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

I hope this writing finds everyone in good health and doing well. We have talked SAFETY a lot and must continue to make it our number one priority in all aspects of our lives. That said, our own Brother Michael Warren, who suffered critical injuries while on the job with Adman, has been touched by the Lord. He is now in rehab on the long road to recovery and is doing great. The Warren Family asked me to express how extremely thankful and grateful they are for everyone's thoughts, prayers, and support.

Our regularly scheduled meetings this month are November 6th and 20th. There will be a pin ceremony on the 6th with the meeting starting promptly at 7:00 PM. Please make plans to attend. The eligible pin recipients should have received a letter in the mail informing them of their eligibility.

As a word of encouragement, please remember to keep your dues paid up and current in order that you remain in good standing. Also, some of our brothers and sisters on the road have missed monthly resign. Resign is always between the 10th and the 16th of each month. Local 175 observes two holidays during the month of November. Thanksgiving and the Friday after are meant for our membership to have time with family and friends while they reflect on what they're thankful for.

It is my wish that God bless and enrich each and everyone of our Brothers and Sisters and the future of this Local Union.

In solidarity and with best regards I am,

Winfred Gearrin

ABB/Thomas & Betts Announce Plant Expansion

Local 175 is proud to announce that ABB/Thomas & Betts will be adding to its Athens production facility. The manufacturer of electrical construction products was only able to make the announcement after its Memphis headquarters finalized the complicated evaluation process. The Athens production plant was in competition with ABB locations from around the world including Mexico and various spots in the United States. The new facility brings growth to the region's economy and IBEW Local 175 is proud to have partnered with Thomas & Betts to make it a reality. 

Earlier this month, Thomas & Betts' Plant Manager Chuck Gilreath and IBEW Local 175 Assistant Business Manager Caleb Long signed a Memorandum of Understanding that ensures the employees working  at the new facility will be covered under the existing collective bargaining agreement. Gilreath also highlighted that the 5 year contract, negotiated between Thomas & Betts and IBEW Local 175 back in March, played a significant role in promoting the Athens location as a stable and competitive option. Details of the type of new production and the size of the expansion are still being developed. 

In a time when domestic manufacturers are moving overseas, it feels good to make this type of announcement. It is also a proud moment when employers recognize the value of having union representation in manufacturing. 

Support those, that support you. Buy Thomas & Betts union-made products!

IBEW Local 175 Fall Festival and Motorcycle Ride

Local 175's Fall Festival & Motorcycle Ride was a huge success! 

On October 7th, we celebrated the 2nd Annual Local 175 Motorcycle Ride. Thirty-eight IBEW Local 175 members started the event with a four-hour motorcycle trip through some of the most scenic parts of our jurisdiction. The Ride included stops at Nickajack Cave, Cloudland Canyon, and the Chickamauga Battlefield. Local 175 members were also fortunate to have shared the road with members from Local 760 and Local 429.

In addition to the ride, Local 175 added a family and friends aspect to the celebration. Over 200 joined in on the brotherhood and fellowship as the bikes arrived back to the Hall. The kids enjoyed all kinds of fun activities such the Chattanooga Fire and Police Department's "Touch a Truck", inflatable jump slides, and face painting. Local 175 was also very happy to have a catered lunch for all who attended. 

Thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers who made this event a success. See you next year!

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