Peoria • Galesburg • Quincy
Business Manager - Paul Flynn



 Local 34 Newsletter

April 2018

Brothers and Sisters,

     With the passage of the Future Energy Jobs Act, FEJA solar work in the state of Illinois will be expanding and possibly exploding.  We simply don’t know for sure how many of the proposed projects will land in Local 34 jurisdiction.  Regardless we have been attending open houses, zoning board meetings, county board meetings etc. to protect our work and land as many of these projects as possible.  Other trades, namely the Laborers and the Millwrights have also been at every meeting and they are very mistakenly trying to claim our work. Unloading and transporting solar panels, installing the rack and supports. This tactic by them is very unfortunate and has strained our relationship with the other trades and the building trades to say the least. 

     Regardless, we have been doing all we can and will continue to fight off these attacks on our brotherhood.  Working with our industry partner NECA, our signatory contractors are aware of the situation and have assured me they will be aggressively bidding the solar work and protecting our jurisdiction.  It is a damn shame that we not only have to fight the non-union element who will also be bidding on these projects, we must fight the union trades as well. 

     Because the funding for the FEJA comes from rate payers of Com-Ed and Ameren, it is not considered public money and therefore no prevailing wage is involved.  The FEJA did at one point contain prevailing wage language but our great Gov. Rauner had it removed.  There was also language that tied the work to the IBEW qualified Apprentices and Journeyman, but the Laborers political group had that language removed.  Large signatory contractors we have talked to are stating that to compete against the non-union, 60% of the solar projects must be done with labor that has a total package of $30.  I’ve told the contractors to go out and secure the work and we will figure out the manpower later.  We have contacted the International business development department and we have been working state wide and with the 6th district to verify that the information we are receiving is correct, accurate and up to date. 

     We also have been actively engaging with the developers of these projects, Trajectory Energy, Cypress Creek, Hawkeye Energy Etc., and offering our help to pass zoning ordinances and offer up our JATC training facility to tour and see first hand why we are the best trained and most skilled workforce for them to use. We recently sent out a letter to all the members who live in Peoria County to attend an open house held at the Operating Engineers 649 union hall on plank road in Belview/Bartonville back on March the 22nd.  The event was held at the Operators hall because trajectory energy has two proposed solar projects right next to the jail. 

     The idea from Trajectory Energy was to get any neighbors opposed to the project to come out and see firsthand the drawings and locations of the projects. The IBEW goal was a call to action by the membership and we wanted to fill the room with IBEW members to show the Laborers and Millwrights that we are not going to tolerate or let them steal our work.  Of the 350 letters mailed out to the membership who live in Peoria County, eight members showed up.  four active and four retirees’.  I would like to sincerely thank the Brothers and Sisters who showed up and represented the IBEW.  Tina Burd, Stephanie Mallicoat, Nate Woosley, Kyle Villager, Daniel Barnes, Marty Clinch, Greg Happ and Dave Sheckler.  Later that same evening we attended a solar event at the Carver center and thank you to Daniel Barnes, Marty Clinch and Noel Shelton who represented Local 34.

     Myself, Executive Board Members Mike Kenny and Rob Sheely, Quincy Rep. Steve Marold and 5th Year Quincy apprentice John Kelly attended the spring state IBEW conference in Springfield.  The highlight was a speech given by our next Governor of the State of Illinois, JB Pritzker.  Make no mistake that this is who I will be voting for in November and I hope you will too.  He has organized labor’s back and quite frankly organized labor and working men and women in general cannot afford another 4 years of our current Governor.   His first plan of action is to get a capitol bill passed and start rebuilding Illinois.  I know we sure could use the work.

     Back to Basics.  Just in case you may not have given it any thought; lets start with the fact that everything that we have today, the working conditions, job site safety, the training, our wages and benefits were established by those who came before us.  Those standards were hard fought for and won because of the strength of our Union and the commitment of our members to support it.  The cancer of yeah, we have that, but the what have you done form me lately attitude has weakened out ability to protect and further improve our standards.  Members need to be educated, engaged and active.  Basic.

     Whether you’re enjoying the benefits of your retirement, figuring out when you’re going to retire or just starting to fill your buckets as a new member, you’re in this fight. Local Unions have lost many of the protections that were established during the Obama administrations.  The shift under the Trump administration in favor of big business and the top % of the richest Americans will certainly be detrimental for the rest of us.  Deregulation and underfunding government services will directly impact all Americans especially the poor.  The unfair tax policy and lack of revenue will put Medicare and Social Security in the crosshairs.  Those are programs Americans have paid for and cannot afford to lose. 

     Trump is packing the courts and government agencies at every level with right wing appointees who could care less about worker’s rights and are going to stick it to organized labor.  Your economic security is at risk.  However, we are confident that we will survive this onslaught and if we stick together, protecting one another as Local 34 and its members have always done, not only will we persevere but we will come out of these challenging many times stronger and continue to move forward.  We have work to do, the fight is now, lets recommit to the basics and face it straight on, the security of you and your families future depends on it.

     By Paul Flynn, Business Manager.


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