FROM THE BUSINESS MANAGER
As I sat down to write my February newsletter article, I couldn’t help thinking about all the activity going on up at our State Capitol Building. My mind raced in the direction toward all the individuals who have committed themselves to protect and defend our labor values and our way of life. As many of you are aware, a few Right to Work (for less) Bills have reared their ugly heads, once again, and have made us band together, united, to fight like hell for our livelihoods. I recently was reading an article from the AFL-CIO, and it discussed “Messaging for Working People.” In a nutshell, the article was about how to improve communications and inspire people to send sustainable messages full of substance. It said, “The job of a good message is not to say what’s popular; it is to make popular what needs to be said.” I thought to myself, wow, now that is the truth. Anyway, I believe working people like our members deserve to make more than a decent living, everyone deserves a decent life. We need to continue working towards more than just earning a paycheck but to work to sustain our families. Our voices need to reflect our values and therefore motivate one another to work harder for a better life. Together as working people, I’m confident that we can reach long-term goals of establishing higher wages, safer working conditions, and living better lives. Solidarity with one another and holding each other accountable will only improve lifestyles and set the kind of standards the IBEW is all about. If we can learn to send messages that are more personal, more concrete, and more active, then I believe we can and will improve how we communicate with one another. I’m more committed now than ever to grow, prosper, and address how I communicate with our membership. I’m ready to SPEAK UP TOGTHER, CREATE MORE SUSTAINABILITY, and CHANGE THE RULES. Are you with me?
FROM THE ASSISTANT BUSINESS MANAGER
"In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as 'right to work.' It is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights. It is supported by Southern segregationists who are trying to keep us from achieving our civil rights and our right of equal job opportunity. Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights. We do not intend to let them do this to us. We demand this fraud be stopped. Our weapon is our vote."â€• Martin Luther King Jr.
This quote seems to be more than fitting because today, the day of writing this, is MLK Jr. Day, as well as some of what is taking place at the Capital for the next few months pertains to “right to work.” To add slightly to the above quote, as well as rob a bit of content from the rest of that speech, in a nutshell, “right to work” gives any represented, Union, employee the “right” to not pay dues, and the Union Hall is still required to represent them as a dues-paying member when they need representing. In the days of MLK Jr. these people are referred to as “Free Riders.” As you could imagine, if enough of the members decide not to pay dues, the Hall then runs out of money, and just like that we don’t have the funds we need to continue, and worst case the Union goes away, that’s the part of the above quote where “its purpose is to destroy labor unions.” This may go without saying, but this is the time when D’s and R’s need to unite and become the party of Labor to sustain our futures.
Our weapon is our vote,
8th DISTRICT ANNUITY FUND
Everyone with an 8th District Annuity account should have received notice that Empower has acquired the full-service retirement business from Prudential. There is no change to login or to register as a new user. The website is - www.retirement.prudential.com
Please note: If you receive an error message while logging in to your account, this is due to incomplete information on file for your date of birth and/or ZIP code. Please contact BeneSys at 844-989-2321 to have this information updated.
This past month 44 lost a giant of a man. Earl Lee a line hand out of the tri-cjty area south of Great Falls passed away after a 30-year battle with cancer. Earl joined the IBEW in 1963 and was a proud Union man his whole life. During that time he worked as a Lineman, Foreman and safety director for the Montana Power Company. During those years he was a teacher, mentor, friend and leader to those he worked with and around. He served on the E-board and negotiating team for the Local. I was working with him during one difficult negotiation, when he relayed that the Company insisted no man in labor was worth 10 bucks an hour! His reply was “these aren’t just any men…these are Lineman and they are worth 20 dollars an hour! Well, we didn’t get $20 an hour that year, but we did exceed $10! Earl watched out for the old timers and the youngsters alike, often catching a pole when he could see the old guy needed a break and helping the groundman always stay one step ahead of the Lineman’s needs. He took time to reason out most jobs and was one of the safest crews to work on. I’ll miss Earl, and I am thankful I got the opportunity to learn about power lines and life from that man.
Rest in Peace Brother, your friend Billy Ryan
MEMBERSHIP & EMPLOYER DEVELOPMENT
IBEW Membership is not a spectator sport!
68th Legislative session off and running!
Check out the Legislative Action tab on the local’s website, on that page is key contact info for Senate and House leadership, the key committee’s that will affect us. Currently there are well oner 400 bills that we are tracking. The elected legislators have over 4500 bills in the request que. The last day to request bills will be February 24th. In name there was 15 Right to Work bills, as of writing this article there will be 2 bills that will have been heard. SB 140 is an attack on the nursing sector and HB 216 is an attack on public sector employees. Leading up to the hearings on these 2 bills the Labor Lobby team has been working to get information to the Senators and Representatives that will be hearing these 2 bills and deciding on their fates.
One of the simplest ways you can help to stop any bad bills is to contact your elected officials on the Legislative Action Tab look for this link to find them:
Click the link to find your Montana State Representatives: Montana Legislators.
A simple email introducing yourself where you live, who you work for, what you do for a living. You also can include what subjects you feel that would impact your life, livelihood and how you would like them to vote on those items. If there is a need for a call to action look for notices to go to your email. The next couple of weeks will be very telling of how this session will go. As always, the elected officials do value the responses, they receive from their constituents.
If anyone is interested in submitting testimony for the bill that MECA had drafted and we have been helping with, to add utility workers to be included in the law What is needed anyone that has had an accident or a near miss while working on roadways, any road ways. This testimony will help to pass this bill and provide protection to those helping to restore power, trimming trees or locating on roadways to be afforded protections to keep you safe.
You can contact me through my cell phone or submit testimony through an email. Please send that to email@example.com. Tell your story as much details as you can, when the bill goes to hearing I will submit those stories for the committee members to read.
Brotherhood is NOT a title… It’s a COMMITMENT!
Safety Item: The 3 Ps of winter driving are prepare, protect and prevent.
Local 44 would like to congratulate the following members who have retired from the trade:
Brian Cassidy Daniel Huffman
Best wishes for a long and happy retirement!
FEBRUARY UNIT MEETINGS
Great Falls Feb. 06, 2023 6:00 PM Great Falls Labor Temple
Havre Feb. 07, 2023 6:00 PM Elks Lodge
Lewistown Feb. 08, 2023 5:30 PM Fergus Electric
Billings Feb. 09, 2023 5:00 PM NWE Service Center
Line Construction Feb. 11, 2023 10:00 AM Helena Labor Temple
Helena Feb. 20, 2023 5:00 PM Helena Labor Temple
Bozeman Feb. 21, 2023 5:00 PM Bozeman Labor Temple
Missoula Feb. 22, 2023 6:00 PM Missoula Labor Temple
Butte Feb. 23, 2023 5:30 PM Local 44 Office