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Old 01-04-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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Default How can the IBEW change it's damaged reputation?

I am asking this question specifically to the Contractors that visit this forum. I concede that the IBEW has tarnished it's own reputation in the past, and am interested in taking steps as to correct this situation, at least locally. I want ALL of the gripes and issues! Dump them all here!

PS... Please, this is not for the sake of argument. If you just want to stir the pot, go somewhere else. This is intended to be a mature and frank discussion of Union issues. If you can't handle the conversation, then please do not involve yourself.


Last edited by boulengerina; 01-04-2010 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Left out some important stuff
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:36 AM   #2
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Oh boy, here we go.

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Old 01-04-2010, 11:37 AM   #3
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big can o' worms, huh?
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:37 AM   #4
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:38 AM   #5
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None of this is for the purpose of argument... Please be as mature as possible with all replies.... PLEASE!!!
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:38 AM   #6
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Exactly.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:38 AM   #7
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Cute
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:39 AM   #8
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None of this is for the purpose of argument... Please be as mature as possible with all replies.... PLEASE!!!
Good luck with that.
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:41 AM   #9
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Good luck with that.
Yeah... That's what I figured. But hey, I may be the LAST BOY SCOUT, but I don't think so. There's gotta be some folks out there that can handle it. But maybe not...
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:48 AM   #10
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I would give you an honest reply, but you wouldn't like it. To the point you wouldn't accept it. And I'll bet to the point you'd say I was full of it.

So, like Mama used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:53 AM   #11
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I would give you an honest reply, but you wouldn't like it. To the point you wouldn't accept it. And I'll bet to the point you'd say I was full of it.

So, like Mama used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."
If it's true, I will like it. Like I said... I am not going to argue with anyone, and don't expect anyone to argue with me. I just want EVERYBODY'S take on this. Please, tell me what you think, even if it isn't nice. Some of the things the Brotherhood has done in the past were not very nice either. Just try to be professional in your response.

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Old 01-04-2010, 11:56 AM   #12
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OK I will throw one out here.

In my personal opinion, all the locals have to realize that when the media reports things about a particular local that it does not get reported that 'local XYZ' is picketing. No it gets reported that The Union is picketing like it is all one big Union.

My point being when say the garment workers union does something that looks bad it reflects on every local equally. That is not fair but it is the truth. The locals need to recognize that 30 seconds of News time showing a bunch of loud mouthed rude picketers hurts them much more then hours of community service.

I also fail to see how having picketers act like D-Bags helps anything at all.
.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:02 PM   #13
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OK I will throw one out here.

In my personal opinion, all the locals have to realize that when the media reports things about a particular local that it does not get reported that 'local XYZ' is picketing. No it gets reported that The Union is picketing like it is all one big Union.

My point being when say the garment workers union does something that looks bad it reflects on every local equally. That is not fair but it is the truth. The locals need to recognize that 30 seconds of News time showing a bunch of loud mouthed rude picketers hurts them much more then hours of community service.

I also fail to see how having picketers act like D-Bags helps anything at all.
.

Good point, Bob. Better even with regards to the IBEW, as we do not strike, and (at least down south) very rarely picket. And when we do, we do our best to come across professionally and not like a bunch of D-bags. And before you say it, I know it's different in New England. Shame, too. I think that some of this behavior could be linked to their dwindling market share in NE.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:06 PM   #14
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I think that some of this behavior could be linked to their dwindling market share in NE.
That was my thought as well based on my experiences up here.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:14 PM   #15
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That was my thought as well based on my experiences up here.
Many years ago, the textile mills here in NC were the target of a large organizing campaign. The mills for the most part closed up and moved away, and that has DIRECTLY affected the IBEW here in the good ole North State. Like you said, different Union! And it's not like the construction companies could move anyway... All the work is here! But the mentality is VERY slow to change.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:38 PM   #16
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the answers to this question would be the same answers you would get if you asked the following questions:
what's wrong with the government ?
what's wrong with the military ?
what's wrong with the mafia ?
what's wrong with the school system ?
what's wrong with insurance companies and banks ?


there is simply too much history, and too many issues.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:25 PM   #17
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OK I will throw one out here.

In my personal opinion, all the locals have to realize that when the media reports things about a particular local that it does not get reported that 'local XYZ' is picketing. No it gets reported that The Union is picketing like it is all one big Union.

.
My daughter was hassled by the local building cleaners union trying to organize the building she works in. She tells me UNION’s stink and their members are noisy, rude and a PIA. Now this is a 23 year old young lady just entering the work force and her first exposure in the work force is a negative opinion of unions, even though her father has been union since long before she was born.

When the local paper comes to take pictures of the union work force completing the local ballpark (or whatever) how about they pick a few workers that do not look like maggots. One picture in the newspaper was a bunch of workers flexing their biceps and showing their tats off with IBEW hats on. A book is judged by it's cover.

Members have to be educated to talk to open shop members. When I worked open shop I hired two union members out of work (bad recession in the 70’s). All they did was trash the open shop men and the lousy pay they were getting. Learn to treat all people including electrician nicely, do not trash their pay and bennies but teach them to politely educate their open shop fellow tradesmen about the POSITIVE aspects of the union. Also get the idea out of their heads that because a man is open shop, does not mean he can’t do decent electric work.

Have a method to weed out bad union members, like the guy I worked with, he had 50 W-2’s in one year (SERIOUS) and of course all contractors were evil in his eyes.

Educate the members that contractors are part of the union process, not the evil enemy, and not all contractors are Scrooge type owners.

Last edited by brian john; 01-04-2010 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:09 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by boulengerina View Post
I am asking this question specifically to the Contractors that visit this forum. I concede that the IBEW has tarnished it's own reputation in the past, and am interested in taking steps as to correct this situation, at least locally. I want ALL of the gripes and issues! Dump them all here!

PS... Please, this is not for the sake of argument. If you just want to stir the pot, go somewhere else. This is intended to be a mature and frank discussion of Union issues. If you can't handle the conversation, then please do not involve yourself.

I think this is a good question and a realistic topic of conversation,I like to share some of my point of views.

1)Quality control of membership development.Stop,stop,stop with the rampant nepotism.Bring the kids in who score highest on the test and give a good first impression at there interview,regardless of who there related to.
Hold apprentices accountable for there performance in school.Stop pushing guy's through,if you fail,your out.
When organizing test guy's in and put them at the right level stop handing out journeyman tickets like there candy,also when taking in apprentices if they have past experience let them test in so they can be placed at the correct level.

2)Journeyman development.I think if the points I made above are met we would have a much bigger pool of top professional electricians and way less slugs giving the rest of us a bad name.Also we should have some sort of required continuous education for j-man.

3)Training.Stop claiming that we have the best training in the industry and show it.When trying to organize contractors or attract contractors to sign the agreement,bring them to the school,let them see what there getting when they sign.I worked non-union for 6 years before joining the local.My training consisted of a 6 month tech school and learn as you go.Now I am close to finishing the local's school(5 year program) and there is no comparison.What I got in my union training was far more intense and involved then anything ever made available to me when I was non union.Give tours of the school to both potential contractors and customers.

These are just some of my ideas off the top of my head.I think the goal is to produce the very best work force possible while being able to maintain top condition and wages.Most union electricians are honest hard working people but the percentage that are not is what people talk about and right now from my short time in it seems that percentage is to high.

I know there are some union guy's out there that are going to tare my post apart but that's fine. These are just my opinions on what we could do to improve ourselves.I know I might come off a bit to critical of my own union but for what it's worth,organizing in to my local was one of the best moves I could ever have made.My life definitely changed for the better when I joined.But there's always room for improvement.

Oh yae I'm not a contractor.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:23 PM   #19
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the answers to this question would be the same answers you would get if you asked the following questions:
what's wrong with the government ?
what's wrong with the military ?
what's wrong with the mafia ?
what's wrong with the school system ?
what's wrong with insurance companies and banks ?


there is simply too much history, and too many issues.
If that is your mentality, then you are certainly entitled to it. But let me ask you this... If everything that you listed is so screwed up, isn't it worth fixing? Shouldn't we try? Or should we allow the powers that be force us down a rabbit hole and into third-world status?
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:28 PM   #20
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My daughter was hassled by the local building cleaners union trying to organize the building she works in. She tells me UNIONís stink and their members are noisy, rude and a PIA. Now this is a 23 year old young lady just entering the work force and her first exposure in the work force is a negative opinion of unions, even though her father has been union since long before she was born.

When the local paper comes to take pictures of the union work force completing the local ballpark (or whatever) how about they pick a few workers that do not look like maggots. One picture in the newspaper was a bunch of workers flexing their biceps and showing their tats off with IBEW hats on. A book is judged by it's cover.

Members have to be educated to talk to open shop members. When I worked open shop I hired two union members out of work (bad recession in the 70ís). All they did was trash the open shop men and the lousy pay they were getting. Learn to treat all people including electrician nicely, do not trash their pay and bennies but teach them to politely educate their open shop fellow tradesmen about the POSITIVE aspects of the union. Also get the idea out of their heads that because a man is open shop, does not mean he canít do decent electric work.

Have a method to weed out bad union members, like the guy I worked with, he had 50 W-2ís in one year (SERIOUS) and of course all contractors were evil in his eyes.

Educate the members that contractors are part of the union process, not the evil enemy, and not all contractors are Scrooge type owners.
My experience with Service Industries is much the same as your daughter's. I guess it goes back to what Bob said about the press and the "one union" mentality.

50 w-2's in a year? No $#!+??? That's deplorable.

Thanks for your input, Brian.

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