LU 136 Birmingham,  Al.
205-833-0909/job line 205-833-0939

Local News

Business Managers Report 2012 

Work has slowed somewhat in our jurisdiction as far as our usual customers. This means that we need more than ever to seek new customers and be able to show that we are the professionals they need to complete their job on time.

 Our problem for many years has been that we do not have General Contractors that are willing to give us a chance to show what we can do for them.  They have the assumption that we will have walk-offs, strikes, or lockouts. They think that we could cause them problems securing future work with their customers. When we meet with G.C.’s, customers, or new contractors, we assure them that these actions are a thing of the pass.

 We met with Robins and Morton, the General Contractor for the ball park project on April 9th, to discuss using contractors that hire union electricians. They said that every non-union contractor that can bond a project this size is bidding it. He informed us that if we were going to be successful, we would have to get serious about the bid. We had a very good meeting with them, but in the end, we still have to be low bidder.

 When the large cooperation’s tried to break the unions in the late 70’s and early 80’s, they were almost successful. That is when we lost the confidence of the G.C.s in this area. It is always harder to get something back than to never lose it. By visiting these contractors, we at least let them know we are still here, and want to work with them as much as possible.

If we get a chance to work with them again, we have to do everything possible to make them want to work with us again. This staff can try to sell new contractors on using local 136 every day, but when the time comes to show what we can do, that’s when we have to make every move as if our future is riding on this job because it is. If they see the negative side that has been displayed on some projects, we may never get the chance to work with them again.

Many times when there is a problem on a job, the violation of the contract is the easy part to solve. When we are notified, and start to work on the problem, it’s what was said and done in anger that can be the hardest part to settle. It has been said many times in union meetings that we never want a customer, or general contractor see that we have any problems.   

When you display an aggressive attitude towards someone on the job, 9 times out of 10 the problem could have been handled if the member would have calmly asked for his Steward and or Foremen, and let them handle the issue. Sometimes it is as simple as the Foreman or Steward were not involved at the time it happened, and think with a clear head without feelings over riding clear thinking. Most of the time even if you can’t get someone there right away, and the situation is not a dire safety issue, it shouldn’t be a problem to wait a few minutes to get it resolved. Words are like bullets; once they are fired you can’t take them back. It’s not to say that I haven’t ever got mad on a job and said things that I shouldn’t have, but when I did, I paid the price.  Sometimes it would cost me my job in one way or another.

Your attitude can go a long way as to the safety and attitude of the entire job. I have worked with some great Brothers in my career. Some of the best jobs were the jobs that were made a good job by the Brothers that worked on them. We may not have had the best of conditions, but being around Brothers that don’t mind doing a day’s work for a day’s pay, usually made the job a good job. As a young apprentice, I was taught to work smarter not harder. These Brothers were amazing as to the ingenuity that they would use to make a job go in as smooth as possible. Being smart and working steady, made for a great day. It was an honor to walk out the gate with these Brothers at the end of the day. They taught me how to be proud that I’m a member of the IBEW, and how to represent this union in the right way.

Good work ethics, good attitude, and being proud of the organization that you are a part of, is something that we all need to work towards. This is the best selling point that we have.

Work and play safe.

Jerry Keenum