For the past year and a half, I’ve had the great fortune of working on the new addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In the first two years of my electrical apprenticeship with IBEW Local 11, I worked on small jobs for small shops that had a very limited scope of work, so there weren’t very many aspects of the trade I had exposure to, much to my disappointment.
Over the next few months, we'll be following the story of Hannah Cooper, an apprentice with Electrical Workers (IBEW). Check out her first entry below:
My entire life my mother has been a union electrician—a fact of life I never thought to question. It was where she spent her days while I was growing up, and it gave her the means to support our family. Although I understood and in my own way appreciated this fact, it never once occurred to me when considering potential career paths. I had this idea that I was going to make a career for myself in the arts and spend my time traveling the world as a dancer—maybe do some part-time modeling for supplemental income—acquire a bachelor's degree at a four-year university back East and maybe try to join a dance company. This was the plan anyways, from my early years of childhood up through the first half of my senior year of high school, when I realized I didn’t want to be a dancer anymore. I stopped showing up to my college auditions, completely throwing a wrench in the plan.
In New Orleans this Super Bowl week, there are plenty of fans sporting 49ers' red and gold caps and jerseys and Ravens' purple and black gear. But there also are thousands of union members—including many from unions in the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO (GNO)—who proudly display their union label and are making the game possible and the fan experience in the Crescent City run smoothly.
As part of a strong holiday program, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 668 puts up the entire holiday lighting display for downtown Lafayette, Ind. Between 25 and 50 volunteers show up weeks in advance of the local holiday festival and install the lights in the downtown plaza and county courthouse rotunda, a tradition the local has taken part in for 65 years. Members continue to make sure all the lights are working and fix any problems that come up throughout the holiday season.
Berry Craig, recording secretary for the Paducah-based Western Kentucky AFL-CIO Area Council and a professor of history at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, is a former daily newspaper and Associated Press columnist and currently a member of AFT Local 1360. Craig sends us this follow-up to his Nov. 21 story.
The manager at the Southside Walmart in Paducah, Ky., might have figured he’d quashed the protest at his store. After all, he made James Vetato and three other OUR Walmart picketers leave from near the front door.
The quartet retreated but regrouped at the entrance road to the busy shopping center the Walmart store anchors.
An unknown number of workers who are helping with the recovery after Superstorm Sandy may have difficulty casting their votes today because they are away from their home states. New Hampshire elections officials are doing what they can, as required by state law, to help make sure those workers can cast their ballots.
The recovery from Superstorm Sandy could be one of the most expensive in American history, with estimates climbingtoward the $50 billion mark in property damage alone. As Americans all across the country pitch in, most of the work repairing and rebuilding the storm-ravaged areas will be done by talented and hardworking union members. Many of the organizations dealing with Sandy’s devastation emphasize the importance of union workers’ expertise and skill, as well as of sufficient government financial support for rebuilding physical structures and roads and, in many cases, people's lives. Here is what our members have been doing to help with the recovery:
If you're in New York and need assistance locating Hurricane Sandy resources or want to volunteer to help, here are some links to get you started:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Website
This site has comprehensive info on applying for FEMA assistance, updates on gas shortages, warming centers and tips for cold weather, transportation (bridges, roads, subways, railways), food assistance, power outage updates, unemployment insurance and more.