NECA TransmissionsNotes from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry

Response from IBEW President Ed Hill

Posted on Jan 17, 2009 by John M Grau

One reason I blog at NECA Transmissions is because I want to hear directly what people on our industry's frontline are thinking. I don't expect everyone to always agree with me, and I appreciate the people who take the time to write comments to my posts. While most NECA members agreed with my position on the Employee Free Choice Act, IBEW International President Ed Hill had another view.


I am somewhat surprised that your editorial regarding the Employee Free Choice Act hits as something that has little to do with our working relationship, but is more of a personal attack on the rights of working men and women.  I understand your concern regarding the favored nations issue; however it is our opinion that this is not a real issue, but one that some of you are using to mask your disdain for the rights of workers.  I believe that in the past when your organization wanted something legislatively that we did not necessarily agree with, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that we would not get involved, but would sit it out.  I believe for the most part this has happened and for the most part when there was something that was good for the industry we were there to work with our partners.

Your buy-in of the position of the anti-union forces does surprise me, and like the rest of them you have got it all wrong.  The present situation lends itself to the control of management when it is they who decide whether to have a card check for representation or not.  As you know if there are 95% of the people want a union, and the company refuses to accept the wishes of the employees and recognize the union as their bargaining representative, then the employer can demand an election. It is then that they grind the process to a halt until they can intimidate enough people against the union that they will permit the process to continue. Well, since it has been that way and anti-union management types seem to like it, we would like to be able to have something to say about the process as well, and if there enough cards to determine that the majority want a union then they should be permitted to have one instead of being brow-beat with the threat of loss of their employment and in many cases the actual loss of their job, until there is an election held.

However, there may be a bright side to this issue. Your position of concern for the voting rights of working men and women, however narrowly applied to a single issue, may be something to smile about.


I appreciate Ed's willingness to share his response here. Feel free to use the link below to send me any additional comments on this topic.

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NECA Transmissions is a collaborative effort from CEO John Grau and NECA staff to provide insight and feedback on key issues from the front lines of the electrical contracting industry.


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