Author Archive

Western JETS Course Reimbursement (changes)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017



To all IBEW Local Union staff and members:

RE: Western JETS Course Reimbursement

As a point of information at the last Western JETS board meeting it was decided to better engage our contractor partners, the following courses will no longer be reimbursed by the Western JETS and safety training will be provided by our contractors as per WorkSafe BC regulations.

Aerial Work Platform

Confined Space

Construction Safety Officer Training

Fall Protection

Electrical Project Supervision

FSR Exam

Low Voltage courses required for OEM warranty

Telehandler Training


As we believe supervision training is a very important aspect of the trade we will continue to reimburse for Front Line Leadership. It has proven to be a more effective training tool, meets the same high gold seal standard and is a greater value versus the Electrical Project Supervision courses.


Due to recent conflicts the following changes have been made to the reimbursement policy.

FSR training will only be reimbursed with a sponsorship letter from a union employer or a Letter of Recognition with the Local Union.



Adrien Livingston

Executive Director

Job Tip – GFCI Sticker

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Another handy tip from IBEW Hour Power

Click on the video to watch …

Ladder Safety 101 – Electrician Talk

Friday, December 2nd, 2016


Ladders are in play for so much of an electrician’s daily routine that using them becomes second nature. On one hand, this is good — if you’re using them safely and correctly. But if your ladder safety habits aren’t up to snuff, this neglect can lead to a minor injury at best and death at worst.Ladder Safety 101

Observe Ladder Weight Limits

Ladders receive three ratings. Category I ladders are light-duty ladders designed for household use. A professional electrician might use these ladders for a basic light bulb swap. Category II ladders are for commercial use and are rated for up to 225 pounds. Type III ladders are heavy-duty industrial ladders and are rated for up to 250 pounds.

Exceeding the weight limit is a safety hazard. When investing in a ladder, it’s wise to buy one rated to hold more weight than you think you might need. You never know when you’ll have to climb carrying heavy equipment. Risking your life on a ladder rated for a lesser weight could cause the ladder to shift, buckle or break. It isn’t worth it.

Inspect and Perform Ladder Maintenance Daily

If you’re a busy electrical contractor, your ladder sees plenty of daily use, so it’s vital to perform a thorough inspection at the start of each work day. Examine the supports and rungs for cracks, buckling, warping, weather damage or any other sign of weakness. Perform a similar inspection of the base to ensure it’s sturdy and solid.

Ladders pick up dirt and debris no matter where you work. Get in the habit of wiping down your ladder at the end of each work day.

Use Your Ladder Safely

Improper use is arguably the biggest factor in ladder-related accidents. Set up your ladder in accordance with OSHA safety standards. Place the ladder on solid, level ground and ensure the base isn’t wobbly or shifting. Keep it away from entryways and exits. If you must use the ladder in a high traffic area, block off doors and alert others to its presence.

• If possible, have someone spot you or hold the ladder as you work. If this isn’t possible, consider strapping or securing the ladder.

• When climbing a ladder, don’t carry more weight than you can safely manage.

• Maintain good posture and climb as slowly as you feel necessary. Taking a little extra time to ascend or descend the ladder is worth it to avoid injury.

• Don’t lean across the ladder or place yourself in a way that could cause the ladder to come off balance.

• A good rule of thumb is to position your tool belt buckle directly between the rails of the ladder and try to keep it in that spot as much as possible.

Avoid Conductive Materials

As a professional electrician, you know that even non-conductive materials can become conductive when exposed to high voltages. Fiberglass and wood ladders are safer choices than aluminum or steel, but even they can become energized under the right conditions, especially if the supports or hardware are made of conductive metal.

Conductive ladders aren’t insulated, which means they won’t protect you from an electrical shock if exposed to live electricity. Choosing a non-conductive ladder can mean the difference between serious injury or a nasty shock.

Working around live electricity is hard enough, but maintaining a standard of safety is essential. It’s not hard to forget ladder safety when you’re in a rush; it’s even easier to fall into the trap of thinking that a ladder accident won’t happen to you. Accidents happen to everyone – by choosing the right ladder for the job and training yourself in daily safety procedures, you reduce your risks of injury or death.

Henry Miller – Founder of the IBEW

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Henry Miller, who died more than 110-years ago, was the founder, first president and driving force behind the first union of electrical workers in North America the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Click on the video to watch …

(sorry the audio is a bit quiet)


Step Potential – Information Video

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Keep your distance and learn how “step potential” can injure or kill you just by walking near downed wires.

Click on the video to watch about step potential.

WorksafeBC – Roles, rights & responsibilities of Workers

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

worksafe2On a worksite, everyone has varying levels of responsibility for workplace health and safety. You should know and understand your responsibilities — and those of others. If you’re a worker, you also have three key rights.

Your rights

  • Right to a healthy and safe workplace
  • Right to safety training and orientation
  • Right to refuse unsafe work

Your responsibilities

As a worker, you play an important in making sure you — and your fellow workers — stay healthy and safe on the job. As a worker, you must:

  • Be alert to hazards. Report them immediately to your supervisor or employer.
  • Follow safe work procedures and act safely in the workplace at all times.safety1
  • Use the protective clothing, devices, and equipment provided. Be sure to wear them properly.
  • Co-operate with joint occupational health and safety committees, worker health and safety representatives, WorkSafeBC prevention officers, and anybody with health and safety duties.
  • Get treatment quickly should an injury happen on the job and tell the health care provider that the injury is work-related.
  • Follow the treatment advice of health care providers.
  • Return to work safely after an injury by modifying your duties and not immediately starting with your full, regular responsibilities.
  • Never work under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any other substance, or if you’re overly tired.

IBEW NextGen … the next generation of Electricians

Monday, September 26th, 2016

The next generation of IBEW members needs to be ready to take the helm.

Click on the video to watch …


The Birthplace of a Union to Be Reborn as a Museum

Monday, September 19th, 2016

The man who sparked a movement is getting a museum to honor his memory.miller

At a time of terrifyingly high mortality rates and paltry pay in the new field of electrical work, Henry Miller knew what needed to be done, and he dedicated his life to making it happen. From the St. Louis boarding house where he lived almost 125 years ago, the lineman founded the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which would later become the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Now that modest brick house is being turned into a museum, thanks to St. Louis Local 1, the flagship local union of the IBEW.

The quest to purchase and restore the Henry Miller house began in 2009 with a video produced by the International Office’s Media Department on the IBEW’s origins. The six-minute video tells the story of Miller and the Brotherhood’s early days in St. Louis. It also discusses the role of the boarding house and, perhaps more importantly for Local 1, that it was still standing just six miles from their office, at 2726-2728 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Realizing that this structure was one of very few tangible items left from the Brotherhood’s birth, Local 1 leaders set out to bring the building home.

“If this is the home that our founding fathers met in to form the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, then we have to save it,” said Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs, also a fourth generation IBEW member and grandson of the district’s first international vice president.

In August of 2014, Local 1 leaders embarked on their mission to buy the house. They finalized the purchase less than a year later for $53,680.

While the building bears the marks of its previous incarnations, like weather-worn signs betraying its past as a corner market, little is known of the building’s history since Miller’s time, or how it evaded demolition when everything else on the block has since been torn down. While some of these answers may be lost to history, Local 1 leaders have been digging into the past to determine what the building looked like at the turn of the last century, and restore it for posterity.

Reviving the Past

Local 1 leaders are committed to returning the building to its original style as much as possible so visitors will see what Miller saw in his day. The first floor, then a saloon, will be converted into the museum, with display cases showing pieces from Local 1’s collection, including some personal items of the founding fathers and a copy of the original minutes from the AFL affiliation. Miller’s room, located on the second floor, will also be restored. Modern touches will be included where necessary, such as an elevator to ensure the building meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards. There will also be space for meetings and events.

“We’re going to bring the building back to the way it was,” said Local 1 Recording Secretary John Kahrhoff, who also directs membership development.

Once Jacobs gave the official go-ahead last year, Local 1 leaders began evaluating the house to determine its condition and whether it would survive a restoration. Any fears they had were quickly alleviated. A mechanical engineer found the structure to be in surprisingly good shape.

Old photos show the block, called Franklin Avenue back then, crowded with buildings in the late 1800s. When the adjacent buildings were demolished — the building now stands alone on the stretch of road — the brick sides were left exposed. A protective coat that was applied to prevent leaking during that time also saved the brick. The façade however, was replaced in the 1920s and will need to be redone to reflect that of Miller’s era.

While the foundation is in good shape, the interior, having been abandoned for decades, requires extensive work. The long-vacant property came with a leaky roof that rotted the entire interior wood structure. It will need to be completely removed, as will the back wall, to allow access and restoration.

According to Kahrhoff, a single lamp bulb still hangs from a four-foot long rag-wire Edison base socket in the middle of the room where the founding fathers met, suggesting the level of neglect this section of the building has endured since early last century. Surrounding this artifact of electrical history are dilapidated walls and ceilings, chunks of plaster and wood and random remains from the building’s past. Metal headboards lie rusting on the floor while aging wood boards hang from the ceiling like stalactites.

A Local 1 contractor will act as a general contractor on the project. Local 1 will also do the wiring.

millerfund_houseThe boarding house is located in a neighborhood called JeffVanderLou. Once a poor and neglected area, it is now experiencing a revitalization. The house sits 300 yards from the Scott Joplin House, an official historic site. A contemporary of Henry Miller, Joplin was an African-American composer and pianist known largely for ragtime compositions, many of which he produced while living there in the early 1900s, according to the Division of State Parks website.

Honoring Our Origins

In addition to renovating the boarding house, Local 1 has purchased an adjacent empty lot and plans to include a Founders’ Park with 10 utility poles, each with a statue of a lineman to represent the 10 founding fathers. Granite benches and commemorative stones are in the plans, surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.

The entire project is expected to cost approximately $6 million. Local 1 will be turning over the project to the newly formed Electrical Workers Historical Society, which is soliciting donations to cover the cost of the renovation as well as ongoing maintenance.

If all goes as planned and the construction is completed in time, the Society will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony around the time of the international convention next year, Sept. 19-23, 2016, which is the 125th anniversary of that fateful meeting in St. Louis.

“We hope that all IBEW members will be inspired by the house and the history it holds, and see it as a home for everyone in the Brotherhood,” Jacobs said.

IBEW local union #1003 Annual Picnic was fun and there was lots of food.

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Thank you to everyone that showed up for the IBEW 1003 Annual Picnic !!

Thank you especially to those that helped out,

Logan Lynn and Tim Lucas the chefs extraodinaire, Ray Keen, Dale Anderson, Mike Kinaken.

Also thanks to Ruth Anderson for some direction when we were wandering around bumping into walls.

Thanks also to Colton Crockett-Cragg for his awesome guitar playing and singing.

The 50/50 draw raised $112.50 which will go to local food banks.

Y’All come back again next year ya hear !!

Does it Pay to Work Union? Yes. And Here’s Proof.

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

A new study says union construction members in Minnesota get $5.59 back in income for every $1 they pay in union dues.

The findings come in a new analysis from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute, which found that union construction members paid a yearly average of $1,381 in union dues and fees, but that they made an extra $7,720 after taxes over their nonunion counterparts. That was even before factoring in other benefits such as improved health care, pensions and the extra job satisfaction that comes with having a voice at work.happyUnionworker

The figures reflect the broad range of union construction jobs and a highly variable pay scale that takes in data from all levels of skilled and unskilled trades, from electricians to laborers, journeymen to apprentices.

“These figures out of Minnesota reflect the sort of wage gap we see all over the U.S. and Canada,” said IBEW Director of Construction Organizing Virgil Hamilton. “Every union electrician ought to be aware of the benefits their membership brings them, but it’s useful to see the numbers laid out so clearly for people.”

And it’s not just union construction members who benefit from the strength of unions. The MEPI study points to more than 9,000 jobs in the state of Minnesota that are directly attributable either to labor organizations or to the higher spending power of the state’s union families.

In all, MEPI finds an additional $808.6 million boost to Minnesota’s economy and another $99.5 million in extra state tax revenue that would not exist without the union construction industry.

Not addressed by the study is the fact that IBEW electricians tend to do even better against their nonunion competition than members of many other building trades. “There’s typically more of a difference between union and nonunion wages as you move higher up into the skilled trades,” Hamilton said, “so it’s likely that our members are actually making even more than $5.59 extra for every dollar in dues.”

Nationally in 2015, union members in the construction industry made an average of $356 more every week than their nonunion counterparts, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That works out to nearly $19,000 more per year or a 47 percent pay difference over construction workers who don’t belong to a union

“It’s really rewarding to see these kind of studies,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “We’re out there working hard every day for our members, and to be able to show them that their membership in the IBEW is an investment that pays off many times over tells us we’re winning the battles that are important to their bottom line.”


*taken from