Over the years line work has fluctuated back and forth from spotty work to an abundant amount of work. For the last 15 years we have had an enormous amount of work - so much that the Local has had to run multiple apprentice boot camps to keep up with the demand. Now that the work has slowed down many of you are questioning why is it that the Local has so many apprentices.
That’s a good question and I’m glad you came to me with it. My answer is this; I ask you when the work picks back up, and work in the other parts of the country is going strong, who will man our jurisdiction? Will our Journeymen come back home to man a 4-10 distribution job when they are working 6-10’s with per-diem?
Will the customer understand that we are not prepared, even though we tell them constantly that we have a skilled work force ready to go? Will our Signatory Contractors understand when they are awarded jobs and they call for skilled man power and we tell them, I’m sorry but we can’t fill that job at this time? I know the work has been very good and there has been many opportunities for our members to be relatively close to their homes, but we all made a commitment to man our jurisdiction.
The beauty of being part of the IBEW is that we as members have the ability to work in any part of the country when work is slow, or you as an individual wants to seek out high lines, or whatever suits your needs. We must never forget this is the career we chose, a career that can’t be outsourced, a career that gives us a sense of worth and pride. Many times in our lives we come to a crossroad, do we take the straight and less bumpy or do we take the road less likely taken?
We, as IBEW members, have taken the path less likely taken with uncertainties, sacrifices, and risks. We do this because of all of the benefits that come along with being part of the IBEW. Time and time again we hear another plant is shutting down and moving headquarters out of the country, and many Americans are losing their jobs. Point being, yes work has slowed down but it wasn’t outsourced to Mexico, and when the Utility’s start putting work out we have a skilled work force ready to answer the call. As always, my door is open for questions or concerns. Please be safe this summer, and with any luck work will start to pick up soon.
Please, say a prayer to keep all our members, their families, our service men and women, and their families safe.
Fraternally, Mark S. Lawrence IBEW Journeyman Lineman D938633 Business Manager/ Financial Secretary