IBEW 37th Convention

One union members report on the 37th Convention of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). This is unoffical and unsanctioned.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday, 9/13/06, the third day

Started reasonably promptly around 9:00 again, got a report on the costs of this convention. Rental, transportation, salaries of delegates, etc. Someplace around 13 million! Good thing we only do this every five years. Good thing in International picks up the tab – at least our per capita goes for something.

On the committee reports: an unusual but good IBEW practice. Each member of each committee is introduced. As each member is introduced, there is only on clap – that is everybody claps just once. Sounds like a rifle shot. Then, at the end, after everybody has been introduced then applaud the entire committee. Speeds things up quite a bit.

Nice speech by Jerry O’Connor, former International Secretary-Treasurer, retired. He’s older than he looks. Anyway, his main thrust was the need to organize. He told us he was surprised to learn that International Workers of the World, the IWW, the “Wobblies” were trying to organize Starbucks. He said he didn’t even know the IWW was still around.

Now I did bring with me a small flashing light for my bicycle from the IWW, which they sell on their website. I’d purchased a couple and they make a good backup or alternate. Nice IWW logo on it. I tried looking him up, to give it to him. I couldn’t find it but I did find where he was sitting in the VIP section for non-delegates. His seat had a name tag on it, so I clipped the light to the name tag. Later on, I saw him walking around wearing it. No doubt he’ll be wondering where the heck that came from – and how many secret wobblies are in the IBEW.

Bro’ O’Conner did deliver a classic line, regarding the elections in Novemvber: “Let’s annihilate the bastards and then organize their pallbearers!”

A couple of examples we could all learn from the IBEW: invite to the convention those with whom you DISAGREE, or those seemingly on the other side of the fence.

Dan Hesse, Chairman and CEO of Embarq Corporation, a telecommunications venture that employs our members. He shared with use the plans of the company. He seemed to be open and honest. His message was one of growth, both for the company and for the IBEW working together. I have no idea what it would be like to be across the negotiating table from him but I got the impression he would be straight.

Another example: we heard from Joe Hansen, President of the UFCW, the United Food and Commercial Workers. You know, the union that pulled out of the AFL-CIO and was critical of it’s operation while the IBEW stayed behind and supported the AFL-CIO. He talked about our differences in strategy but that the goals we were seeking were still very much the same.

We heard from Fred Myers, VP of TRCP, the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, which host an outdoor show on OLN, the Outdoor Life Network. Many IBEW members hunt and fish – and this show is for them. The TRCP supports hunters and outdoorsmen and is an alternative to the National Rifle Association which takes the traditional hard-line approach and general support of Republican candidates and values. An upcoming show sponsored by TRCP, “Escape to the Wild” will be an all-union show and feature union members hunting and fishing.

Fortunately it didn’t rain (much) today and I was able to take the bike, Along the way I was able to take a few pictures:

Burnham was not only influential in Chicago, but had an impact on Cleveland as well. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to convince them to preserve their lakefront so it doesn’t really compare to Chicago in size or scope.

The Browns Stadium is right on the lakefront.

And if you think we’ve got some screwy sculptures in Chicago, I dunno who came up with this one for Cleveland, and how they sold it to ‘em.

But they’re not entirely uncivilized. They don’t have

many bike lanes, but they do have some amenities for cyclists.

Lastly, the picture you’ve all been waiting for: the IBEW Local 1220 Delegation from Chicago: from left to right: Madeleine Monaco, Business Manage/Financial Secretary of Local 1220, Jim Sterne, Business Agent, and ME, Bob Kastigar, Executive Board Member.


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