Hello from District 3.
When I showed up for my first day in the IBEW back in 1985, I had on a brand- new pair of boots and a tool belt full of shiny tools. I checked in with the foreman on site and asked where he wanted me to start. He said, “first thing, go put your tools in the gang box and meet me in the back of the building.”
He was waiting for me with a pick and a shovel. “Hey kid, see that yellow string disappearing into the sunset? Dig me a trench 1 foot wide and 18 inches deep, and don’t break the string.”
That pick and shovel ended up being my tools for quite a long time. My lines were straight, had perfect depth and corners at a sharp 90 degrees. I thought to myself, is this really electrical work? What did my dad get me into?
But after I completed that task, the foreman looked at my work with a nod of approval and said, “Not bad kid. Go get your tools out of the gang box and meet me up on the third floor. I’m going to put you with ‘Bones.’ He can be hard to work for sometimes, but he’s the sharpest wireman on the job. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you just may make it.”
Now we have the laborers digging our trenches. Are we too good to dig our own trenches? Is that work below us? I don’t think so. Anytime an IBEW member and not a laborer is doing our work, that’s a good day. That was one the of the first tasks the laborers took from us. They have alsoe wrestled the underground utilities from us and now they have their eyes set on all underground PVC conduit.
We have a responsibility to protect our industry for future generations. The first page of our agreement states what our scope of work is. If you should see any other trade doing what you consider to be electrical work, contact your agent immediately. You are our eyes and ears in the field. Hopefully together we can not only slow their encroachment, but put an end to it.
Business Agent, District 3