FROM THE BUSINESS MANAGER
July already, we still have a few Lineman, Operators and Groundman on the books. Not too shiny for this time of year, but we have been filling calls every week as they come in. I think over all we are a little bit down from the last two years but close. Woody is out and about trying to visit as many crews as possible. So when you have a little dust on the right-o-way, and if it is a Ford Escape, it’s probably him. We try to get around seeing as many as we can during the summer months, but am I wrong or are the summers getting shorter? Anyway, be safe and remember Long and True is the way to build em, cause every Brother that drives by will be checking your craftsmanship for the next fifty years.
On the NorthWestern front (we sent them a copy of this, so I know they read it) we are still in a struggle with the OMS/Dispatchers negotiations. These are some of the most underpaid employees they have, at the same time they are the front line both core and after hours working shifts around the clock. It feels as though they are being discounted, we (all of us) must be adamant that just because of the transition they do not get less than what they should. As you see them tell them hang tough we will stick together. We at the time of this writing are still waiting for the arbitration on call out rest period to come about. We did have a Labor Management meeting, and I have seen them working to address some of the issues we brought up. Hopefully we can keep track of what is being done in all the areas and work with them to keep things from getting to the grievance stage.
At Hill County we have the unfair labor practice being looked at by the NLRB out of Denver, the process seems very slow. We have been working with them to address this and other issues while we wait.
Fishing report, well the high water is subsiding and fishing is picking up. The Hydro team has been very busy with Missouri flows well over 20,000 cfs. My fire pit and benches at Craig were in the water for most of a month, but the river has been producing. As far as other places for fishing and catching, well the Hi-Line guys are doing well on Fort Peck for pike and walleyes. The Helena bunch is picking up walleyes and trout at Canyon Ferry, Hauser and Holter. That’s what I know, not much of a report but once again you can get the low down from Rob Buhl in Billings as he has been officially designated “Fishing Information Reporter” for the Local. Call him anytime. As for me, I don’t know whether people call me up to rub in the fact that they are fishing and I’m at work or they truly want to give me a tip on fish biting somewhere. Either way I am jealous of them. Hopefully I can wet a line before summer is over. If you catch a good one or your kid does send the photo in, Dwight will get it on the website.
Rain, rain go away come again some other day. Holy smokes it is wet, hopefully by the time you get this it will have dried out enough that we can get some work done and get some recreation time in. The 4th of July is a great time of year to reflect on the great place we live. I don’t care what your political persuasion is, this is a great country. So, put the beer on ice, some steaks on the grill and invite the neighbors over to watch fireworks, enjoy your Community, this great State and Country. There will be some spectacular firework shows so enjoy them, if you let the pros handle it we might prevent a few grass fires and maybe save a finger or two. Butte, I believe has the best fireworks show in the State. It is incredible, it all happens on the 3rd of July, allowing you to catch your local one on the Fourth. So, bring a lawn chair down and take a peek, there is a big public park next to the hospital you can picnic at, you will be impressed.
In Brotherhood, Be Safe!
CONSTRUCTION MEMBERS – NEW BENEFITS
With the start of the new contract year, June 1, 2018, there will be contributions put into an HRA, Health Reimbursement Account, for every hour you work. All Outside Members will receive this at a rate of .25¢ per hour. To make this work, you will need to accumulate $100 in your account; it is then your money. Then LINECO will send you two prepaid debit cards recognizing your account amount. Additional or replacement Benny Cards will cost you $10, so don’t lose them. The best or wisest use is to forget about it and as you near retirement age you won’t have to worry about if you will be able to afford health care or if you need to work one, two or three more years; you will have a balance that can be used to pay your premiums or supplementals as needed. For example, if you need, it can be used for non-covered health costs, such as non-covered prescriptions, medical co-payments, maybe a non-covered “Lasik” eye surgery, but using it is not my recommendation, my recommendation is to leave it build toward retirement. It is money in your account for health care coverage. It will add up fast and when trying to decide if you can retire early it will make a difference!
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
We recently had a grievance filed against NorthWestern Energy by a member down on the river. It was an issue regarding PTO vs. short term disability. It took some time because of having to deal with the third party (Unum) but it was resolved to the members benefit. “Good work” to the Stewards in handling this case.
FROM THE ASSISTANT BUSINESS MANAGER
Hello everyone, I hope you and your families are doing well. It is summer time once again I think. I am not sure if I am living in Big Sky Country or some type of Rain Forest, but it will get here. I just went through some Registrar training a few weeks back and learned some campaign techniques that may help in this year’s election. The most important thing that caught my eye was that Local 44 has over 300 members that have not registered or have been dropped from the voting rolls. With a membership of 1,100 or so this is not acceptable. This year’s midterm election is the most important one in our life time. Please register to vote. I have voter registration cards with me, so if you see me and need one let me know. We will fill it out and I will mail it for you. We had only 56% of our members vote in the last election. Let’s try to get to 85%, more to follow. Have fun and be safe out there. LET’S VOTE
Local 44 would like to congratulate the following members who have retired from the trade:
Francis Crosby – Journeyman Lineman
Wally Freund – Journeyman Gasman
Mike Glueckert – Journeyman Lineman
Jay Gummer – Senior Locator
Lee Hauge – Journeyman Lineman / SubForeman
Kent Rudolph – Combination COE SubForeman
Best wishes for a long and happy retirement!
Local 44 would like to congratulate Stanley Votava for achieving Journeyman status. Great job and best wishes for a great career!
MEMBERSHIP & EMPLOYER DEVELOPMENT
RENEW selection of officers (there will be approximately 7 officers that will be selected), will be July 20th (Friday before the Lineman’s Rodeo in Butte), at 3pm depending on turnout that meeting will be at the Hall, 1901 S Montana St Butte, MT 59701. On the Local’s web site, I have uploaded information about RENEW, this can be found on initial sign in or under the Member Resources Box, Member Home Tab. Shane Bykonen and I have been reaching out to the apprenticeship classes about the RENEW program during family days, the last one will be June 23rd. If you are interested in being an officer for RENEW and cannot make the July 20th meeting, you can submit a letter to the Hall with your name and that you would accept an officer position in RENEW.
We have been doing tidbits on members in the Local, if there is someone you think that the rest of the membership should get to know right away let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online dues pay is finally available on the web site as well, but if you are behind 3 months or more please contact the Office before paying online. Office number is (406) 723-3203. Classified ads have also been added to the web page; if you are looking to sell anything feel free to post an ad.
We have social media accounts and all have been activated as ibew44. Please visit Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat; add to your favorites and feel free to add content, appropriate content please!
Finally, IBEW Hour Power is looking for stories to put on the IBEW Hour Power. Stories such as:
- Large jobs that positively impact the city
- Military veterans who found the IBEW
- Community service projects
- Special programs within the local
- Unique stories about individual members
Please contact me if there is a story that you would like to have shared with the Brotherhood.
Dwight Rose (D988003)
FROM THE MONTANA LINEMAN’S RODEO
This year is Montana’s 26th annual rodeo. We will be bringing back the fish fry on Friday night July 20 starting at 5pm. Then the “Honor the Fallen Lineworker” lantern ceremony will be at 7pm followed by music and dancing. Judges meeting at 8pm. We hope to award the ten year trophy this year to a Local team. We have heard some interest in new NWE and Rural Electric teams. We have several tree trimmers coming to compete. Should be a great backhoe event. Come compete or judge. Saturday July 21, Opening Ceremony at 7:45am, Judges meeting at 8am, and Competition starts at 8:30am. IBEW Service awards will be at 4:00 followed by the awards banquet, auction and a live country and rock band called “The Night Life”. Come help make this the best year. We will be needing help on Wednesday up to Friday evening. Thank you to all of you who help make this 26 years strong. See you there.
JULY GENERAL MEETING
Great Falls July 17, 2018 6:00 PM Ryan Dam Club House