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Old 09-01-2019, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default What to do with our aging workers

In our drive for efficiency and profit I find that our older workers are becoming a burden. We are in an environment that is hostile towards older JIW'S that are limited physically and aren't proficient with technology.

I've had a guy that despite having an ipad for several months still manages to get logged out, or gets lost trying to load up relevant prints, he has health limitations that prevent him from safely stressing his shoulders. I've seen him put up lots of pipe, but he was in pain doing it.

Many of these guys are just past their prime, CE's that cost half as much are producing way more making them obsolete.

I don't see how they are going to make it to retirement like this. What obligation does the IBEW have towards these guys if any? Should I even care?

The writing is on the wall for the rest of us, if nothing changes we'll be cast aside same as them once we can't compete with robots and the young.

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Old 09-01-2019, 01:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by TGGT View Post
In our drive for efficiency and profit I find that our older workers are becoming a burden. We are in an environment that is hostile towards older JIW'S that are limited physically and aren't proficient with technology.

I've had a guy that despite having an ipad for several months still manages to get logged out, or gets lost trying to load up relevant prints, he has health limitations that prevent him from safely stressing his shoulders. I've seen him put up lots of pipe, but he was in pain doing it.

Many of these guys are just past their prime, CE's that cost half as much are producing way more making them obsolete.

I don't see how they are going to make it to retirement like this. What obligation does the IBEW have towards these guys if any? Should I even care?

The writing is on the wall for the rest of us, if nothing changes we'll be cast aside same as them once we can't compete with robots and the young.

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Old 09-01-2019, 01:30 PM   #3
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In our drive for efficiency and profit I find that our older workers are becoming a burden. We are in an environment that is hostile towards older JIW'S that are limited physically and aren't proficient with technology.

I've had a guy that despite having an ipad for several months still manages to get logged out, or gets lost trying to load up relevant prints, he has health limitations that prevent him from safely stressing his shoulders. I've seen him put up lots of pipe, but he was in pain doing it.

Many of these guys are just past their prime, CE's that cost half as much are producing way more making them obsolete.

I don't see how they are going to make it to retirement like this. What obligation does the IBEW have towards these guys if any? Should I even care?

The writing is on the wall for the rest of us, if nothing changes we'll be cast aside same as them once we can't compete with robots and the young.
I believe that people are responsible for themselves.

The trade as a whole doesn't owe them anything, nor do the customers. It is their responsibility to excel to a point in which they don't need to do manual labor anymore. If they can't get to that point, then a change of career is in order.

It's no one else's fault if they can't figure out how to use an iPad. Have they gone to Apple and taken the classes that they offer? Probably not. It's always excuses.

There are a lot of positions in which an older and slower guy will do a better job due to his experience and wisdom. But when it comes to pure labor, I can't see putting an old guy in a task that he will be slow at just to keep him working. That's not a viable option anywhere in the real world, that only happens in the union, and it's one of the reasons why unions will be gone.
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:46 PM   #4
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Our industry is a physically demanding one, but some aspects are far more demanding than others. The right guy (or gal) for the right job.
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Old 09-01-2019, 01:51 PM   #5
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You know what's funny? Young kids come in here daily seeking advice from older guys........


From now on maybe I'll just let the little brat's cook in their own stew..........


Or maybe not... After all , this is just one guy asking what to do with the old farts in his workplace.



Hello's forum, I'm new here and was wondering how could I find a job as an electrician when I get out of high school? Perhaps I should just stay at home and try to make it with my mom.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:16 PM   #6
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Do you have any sort of supplemental pension? If not maybe try and get one started. The young guys today looking at their future (the old Journeymen) may realize that they don't want to, or be able to, work themselves to 65. I know a lot of guys that always said the were going to try and get out at 55. Very few probably did. The trade is not easy on us. You never know which ones will be able to make it to 65.



We have a supplemental pension that you can take at 55. It basically will pay your medical and a little more until you eligible for Medicare. At that point you can find some other work (not electrical except for teaching or inspecting), or work up to 1,000 hours out of the hall. At 65 you can take you regular pension without penalties, or lose 2% a year for each year you take the normal pension early.



For the amount of guys I know that work till 62 year round, I know that many that only work six to ten months and don't take their supplemental pension. they are set in their lives that they can make it on half their salary and would rather not work in the extreme temperatures. I'm not sure, but if you take your supplemental and work your 1,000 hours, it may not count as a pension credit towards your normal pension?


There are some that completely let themselves go due to lifestyle choices. They are on their own to stay employable. As cruel as it may sound, they are not your problem. If they can't cut it they need to get out and take their supplemental pension. I know plenty of guys that were as fit a a fiddle and were very productive till they retired at 65.
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Old 09-01-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
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I should probably add that the job I was on all summer, I was the youngest at soon to be 53. the three others were between 58 and 60. We made the dead line and did it under hours. The job was figured for another journeyman and apprentice. We never had an apprentice.
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:20 PM   #8
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As far as what happens in the local that I’m in when guys get close to retirement and their body’s can’t do the strenuous labor as the young Guys anymore .

Usually the guys ready for retirement get sent to the plants , schools , or buildings the hall contractors have Maintance work at they they end up replacing ballast and light bulbs outlets etc .

I like to see this Bc it’s a great option to keep the older guys busy without having them be a burden, and no one wants to see the older guys get thrown away like trash once they can’t do manual labor ,.

I’ve seen also on a lot of jobs the Forman will know how to place guys to perform tasks based on their ability and physical capability’s.

The muscle heads usual do the heavy work ,

The older guys will be laying out boxes ,windows , switches , conduit runs , on plans or on floor with spray paint .

Or doing lite pipe work , wiring fixtures , etc

Me personally I like how in the union we take care of the guys ready to retire by giving them the easier work not having them get hurt they earned it , and when the younger guys get older they will appreciate it aswell.

But the best reward will be that all that hard work wasn’t a waste and will be able to retire with annuity. io pension, local pension,
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:34 PM   #9
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Yeah there's a lot to be said for efficiency, I worked a crew up at Suncor for the 424 when they started manning up "froth" for a project. Our crew was stacked! Me and my buddy at 25ish were the youngest Jmen by far everyone else 45+ We sat at a lunch table that would become two foreman and a GF. (And QAQC if you count lucky me).

We were cable crew, maybe 30 guys 2 other cable crews on site at that point (grew to 250 electricians). I think we were a 6/7 man crew, learned a lot from those guys. We outpulled two other 10ish man crews, we didn't work too hard, just smart and together.

Then we got this kid, a pipefitter instrument guy, very enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that he didn't pull in rhythm, we tried to get him on board for a week, it was stupid and frustrating... next week he got stuck with me on point pulling about 60' maybe 80' up to the level from the ground. Probably copper, snowing both ways, on ice, uphill.. You know the story... tried to show him how to do it, but he was still Tammy. Haha I mean rammy. After coffee I put him on point and I anchored, I let him have all the weight, let him do that after lunch too.. By last coffee his arms were ready to fall off and I approached the subject again "do you think you can do this all week?" "Ready to work as a team? It's easy, one - two - three - pull".

Yes off topic but just want to reiterate the skills these guys bring to the job, my body's busting down at 42, I need to work as smart as I can. I advocate " lie down" breaks, like if you're working in a crawl space or hunched doing outlets, a minute of flat stretching every now and then can be the difference between working tomorrow or being too messed up.

Its scary out there, I learned from guys with 30-40+ years of experience and I don't see them around anymore. Me and my buddies with 20 yrs on the tools are old timers.

We gotta take care of these guys when we can, I would never assume they are any better financially then I am, just less time on the clock to keep making it. Unfortunately I also don't assume they are all "wise", scabby guys tend to stay scabby. Union pension is great but they/we need to stay up on technology and try to make sure we aren't phased out. There's not a lot of jobs for us that are easy.

I play the lottery every week...
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Old 09-01-2019, 03:47 PM   #10
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Yeah there's a lot to be said for efficiency, I worked a crew up at Suncor for the 424 when they started manning up "froth" for a project. Our crew was stacked! Me and my buddy at 25ish were the youngest Jmen by far everyone else 45+ We sat at a lunch table that would become two foreman and a GF. (And QAQC if you count lucky me).

We were cable crew, maybe 30 guys 2 other cable crews on site at that point (grew to 250 electricians). I think we were a 6/7 man crew, learned a lot from those guys. We outpulled two other 10ish man crews, we didn't work too hard, just smart and together.

Then we got this kid, a pipefitter instrument guy, very enthusiastic. So enthusiastic that he didn't pull in rhythm, we tried to get him on board for a week, it was stupid and frustrating... next week he got stuck with me on point pulling about 60' maybe 80' up to the level from the ground. Probably copper, snowing both ways, on ice, uphill.. You know the story... tried to show him how to do it, but he was still Tammy. Haha I mean rammy. After coffee I put him on point and I anchored, I let him have all the weight, let him do that after lunch too.. By last coffee his arms were ready to fall off and I approached the subject again "do you think you can do this all week?" "Ready to work as a team? It's easy, one - two - three - pull".

Yes off topic but just want to reiterate the skills these guys bring to the job, my body's busting down at 42, I need to work as smart as I can. I advocate " lie down" breaks, like if you're working in a crawl space or hunched doing outlets, a minute of flat stretching every now and then can be the difference between working tomorrow or being too messed up.

Its scary out there, I learned from guys with 30-40+ years of experience and I don't see them around anymore. Me and my buddies with 20 yrs on the tools are old timers.

We gotta take care of these guys when we can, I would never assume they are any better financially then I am, just less time on the clock to keep making it. Unfortunately I also don't assume they are all "wise", scabby guys tend to stay scabby. Union pension is great but they/we need to stay up on technology and try to make sure we aren't phased out. There's not a lot of jobs for us that are easy.

I play the lottery every week...
Great story I could actually picture what you wrote in my head and I’ve seen it befor .

I’m 32 and feel my body from being in the trades since 18, knees back etc

I do a lot of the small things to help keep my body from being abused .

I’ll get a pad to kneel on when doing outlets so I don’t fck up knees on concrete, or a rag etc

Go slow coming down on the scissor lift so I don’t rattle my back to bad . I don’t jump off the lift I use the rungs lol .

During wire pulls I deff don’t try and be a hero we pull as a team .

Stretching , eating properly , proper rest ,
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:20 PM   #11
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Im 59. I would consider myself to be completely unemployable in the field. I saw this coming over ten years ago and decided to begin hiring other people and start contracting full time to make enough money.
Before then, I contracted part time and made a decent living.
I have a few jobs that I have to run by being on site at least 1/2 a day and that’s about it. The rest of my time is spent estimating and paperwork.
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Old 09-01-2019, 07:33 PM   #12
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The best thing for ageing electricians is to get into contracting, estimating, project management, teaching etc. Problem is there are many that never required the skills to do those things, they were simply electrical labourers their whole career and don’t know anything else. In the near future there will be many of these types who will not be able to work on the tools, more and more every year. If they are lucky they will land jobs at Home Depot or fast food joints.
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Old 09-01-2019, 08:01 PM   #13
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What to do with our aging workers
A modest proposal: Soylent Green.

It's a really difficult problem. The idea that everyone's going to become a boss for the last ten years of their 40 year career is not realistic.

It was easy back in the old days, 100+ years ago. People had the sense to die before it became an issue. Maybe the thing to do would be encourage journeymen over 40 to smoke cigarettes so they don't hang around so long in their burden years.

In the boom years when the American economy was expanding endlessly there was so much wealth being generated we could just overpay people past their prime, chalk it up to something they earned when they were young, and it all worked out. Now, the world is looking to trim that kind of fat.

The technology related difficulties are IMO totally solvable. The problem is that continuing education is a farce. Continuing education has not kept up with the times. If it's important to teach the noobs Ohm's law, it's also important to teach the old dogs how to use an iPad.

Some will wear out their bodies on the job before the job has paid them enough to retire. I think this is a failure of shared risk. If you get hurt bad enough you go on disability and you're on permanent vacation, your troubles are over, but if you get just beat up enough you're no longer efficient, you're just dead weight and again fat they're going to want to trim. Seems like that could be solved too, but it would cost.

It's coming after people outside the trades too, make no mistake, when you're not the hard charger you once were, they're looking to put you out to pasture. If you planned your life on ever increasing earning, it's going to be painful.

I have seen lots of places this has been solved by culture: the younger just help out the older, beater, without being dickheads about it, because they know they'll be old and beat someday too. That was the old way.
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Old 09-01-2019, 10:01 PM   #14
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The two items I had going against me was ibew and St. Louis County government. As we speak, the state of Missouri is developing a process of a "state" license to do away with the lock that heritage ibew contractors had for so long. Even local-1 president is against his own jw getting their license and starting their own business. Can include St. Louis Cit-ay, but I have no interest in doing business here at all, always turn those customers away.
What I did not anticipate was the devastation OBAMA CARE would be to me. My health care cost went from under $20,000.oo a year in 2009 to over $100,000.oo a year by 2011. Since then it drifted up to $140,000.oo a year since. Now how am I suppose to get a policy for that? I will have to continue to work for a big box, such as the airport until my 66th birthday for Medicare. It's an easy job but the people suck, including having main residency in the cit-ay. I'd like to leave, but will need a health care policy to cover existing chemo. One of the NON ibew contractors doing work here is interested, but I'm not 25 or even 45 years old anymore. Lots of choices nowadays, but I have to limit myself because of my arthritis.
Any body or organization that supported obama/democraps in 2008 can drop dexd. You have no idea how much a game changer 2009/2010 where for those of us using certain target types of chemo. And what does the government do with all those taxes collected on those meds? Give it out to free loaders who never paid into the system.
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:30 PM   #15
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Pussies. I pulled a 14 yesterday. Woke up a teeny bit stiff.
Most people look at my face and tell me I look 45. They are shocked when I tell em it will be 65 next time. Whoop whoop. And now if you will excuse me, I am off to hike up Koko Head.
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Old 09-01-2019, 11:51 PM   #16
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Pussies. I pulled a 14 yesterday. Woke up a teeny bit stiff.
Most people look at my face and tell me I look 45. They are shocked when I tell em it will be 65 next time. Whoop whoop. And now if you will excuse me, I am off to hike up Koko Head.
Right there with you brother.

My cousin keeps calling me to help with rush jobs he has all over the eastern seaboard. Most of the crew is old farts and the rest a couple youngins.

It always gets done under time.
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:34 AM   #17
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I should probably add that the job I was on all summer, I was the youngest at soon to be 53. the three others were between 58 and 60. We made the deadline and did it under hours. The job was figured for another journeyman and apprentice. We never had an apprentice.
I'll be 67 in 20 days, pulled a 30 hour day last week with an in the 30's crew and carried my own, carried the pack and directed the entire project while running up the road 80 miles and back to test a 100 lb circuit breaker manhandling it by myself in the shop and getting back to the job at midnight having to motivate the crew to keep moving. And we were short two men.

But SO FAR my genes have been good to me, I see many in the 50's that eat wrong, drink (alcohol) and smoke and then moan about getting old. These habits just exacerbate the aging process I THINK? Sort of the sins of our youth become the burden of aging.

Yeah, I am a hero (IN MY MIND).

Saw The Who last night and Roger was moving and dancing across the stage at 75 for 2-1/2 hours.
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:39 AM   #18
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I do not go to union meeting for obvious reasons (Owner), but when I did and I am told it is no different now, there is a split with what to do with future retirement money the younger members usually go for what would benefit members, in the long run, no matter the old dudes and the old guys go for what would benefit them. Pretty typical for most people vote what benefits them.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:06 AM   #19
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I drink still, have aches and pains, but still get up and work the tools. Actually, the more active I am, the less I hurt, though rest doesn't hurt either. I'll probably be working at The Who's age because I'm know I won't have enough to probably stop work entirely, plus I'd probably lose my mind. I'd rather be busy, just dial it back. I'm not comfortable with running people, though down the road maybe if I found the right ones.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:21 AM   #20
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I drink still, have aches and pains, but still get up and work the tools. Actually, the more active I am, the less I hurt, though rest doesn't hurt either. I'll probably be working at The Who's age because I'm know I won't have enough to probably stop work entirely, plus I'd probably lose my mind. I'd rather be busy, just dial it back. I'm not comfortable with running people, though down the road maybe if I found the right ones.
You're on to something here, trust me, I know what I'm talking about. Change your attitude about this from "maybe if I find the right ones" to "I will find the right ones" and you'll see things start to come together.
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