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  • October News letter
    Posted On: Oct 01, 2018


    Hunting season, fishing is great, local high school sports and NFL football, is there a better time of year? And I bet you thought I would say something about politics, nope some times we need to clear our thoughts.  It is that time of year when the temperature is perfect and my thoughts have turned to enjoying the season.  As I look at the 10 open calls on the board, I wonder where the troops are.  How many of the guys are taking time off to try and kill an elk?  How many are headed to Cali or chasing a storm in the Gulf region?  Fall has a strange effect on all of us, whatever it is that haunts your thoughts, keep your head in the game at work and then go enjoy your favorite past time.  I will get to take my grandkids out hunting in the next couple weeks, and it doesn’t get any better than that.


    Save this spot for Brother Rob Buhl’s Fishing and Hunting report.  (After further investigation it was discovered that he was skunked last time out so he was reluctant to post.) 


    I want to ask all of you a question.  What would you think about a Local Brotherhood Fund?  They have them in many Locals.  It would be something where each one of us can check a box or sign a card to allow a small amount of dollars to go into a fund that is separate from dues.  We could use this account to help families like Billy Kipp’s.  If you haven’t heard, Brother Bill, was trail riding over Labor Day Weekend and was in a severe accident.  His neck and back were broken, and he is currently in Seattle at Harborview Medical Center.  Bill’s wife, Misty and their two kids will obviously need some help to pay bills and help with the stay in Seattle.  Woody and I will be passing the hat, as we always do, but it is a slow process as it takes a month to get around the state, and even then we only see a few.  If we had a Brotherhood Fund we could get dollars to members when they most need help.  The fund could also be used as a strike fund, to pay for a plaque for our fallen members or other things that we can do for our sisters and brothers in need.  Many issues come up that we can’t spend your dues dollars on.  I will be talking about this idea at this month’s meetings so bring your suggestions.  In the meantime, let’s help the Kipp Family.

    Here at the Hall we still have some ongoing negotiations to get through and more upcoming.  With all the Unit Meetings starting back up I hope to get around to seeing everyone before long.

    I also just got a note from International VP Bella that he received an award for the 8th District being one of the fastest growing Districts in the IBEW!  Well over 4% this last year!  We must be doing something right.

    Ok, end of letter, now for the politics.  Who we elect determines how strong our voice can be!  Your future and your family’s future are at stake.  Get registered and vote!

    Thanks for keeping the lights on, Bill


    Big Changes are happening all the time in the utility world, that’s a fact.  Modernization, alternative energy sources, new OSHA regulations, new equipment, maintaining an aging infrastructure all are part of what you and I (employees in the industry) have to deal with.  What comes along with all these changes is uncertainty of where our jobs will end up or where we will be getting our next paycheck from.  Right now we have a fairly balanced system where the utilities rely on their “in-house work force” to cover outages and the day to day hook ups, while contractors are called in to do the majority of the new construction.  But with ever shrinking energy consumption due to energy efficiencies, and consumer education, this could all change.  IOU’s in this State will be before the Public Service Commission in the coming months and everybody will be looking at how to fairly address the issue of return on investment. The rising cost of maintenance and customer demands for specialized service are changing how the utilities must bill for services.  Nobody likes to see their rates go up, so let’s pay special attention to who we vote for this November.  We need the person who we can trust to look at all sides and do what’s best for consumers and Montana.  I believe Doug Kaercher is that person in the District One race.  He was endorsed by both the Chamber of Commerce and the MT AFL/CIO.  He is a farmer that served as a Hill County Commissioner.  Tell your neighbors and family, Vote for Doug, PSC District One.


    At this year’s Membership Development Department Conference, the IBEW has seen its best year in growing its membership.  As a whole the IBEW meets its 4% growth rate!  The 8th District was 5th for growth at 4.7%!  Not bad at all, this does not include any groups like Mobile Dispatch/OMS which is still trying to settle its first contract. 

    Outside organizing is finally being taken seriously as the Outside now has Ed Mings as the Director for Outside Construction.  This is also the first MDD Conference that has had its own Outside breakout.  During the workshop, the breakouts I attended classes on Social Media and how to make a top down call.  While both classes are refreshers for me, they are always updated with relevant content and usually new ways to look at what we are trying to do as a Local.  The Wednesday work shops I attended Manpower Recruitment Plans and a work shop about member to member outreach.  As always there is networking, I was able to meet with another membership development person from IBEW 2085, Jeff Skinner.  He uses a lot of you tube videos, with some very good ideas that I will use with the RENEW officers to make videos.

    The RENEW Update:  September 8, 2018 the elected officers had their first meeting and they adopted the name IBEW 44 RENEW.  The focus for IBEW 44 RENEW will be on education, networking, capacity building, and union solidarity.  They are trying to come up with new and creative ways to reach out to young members and get them interested and active in our IBEW 44 Union.  IBEW 44 RENEW still needs at least one at Large member and welcomes those members under 35.  Watch the newsletters and the website for updates and the next meeting date.

    To you Outside Line Construction Members, I have been trying to get out and get authorization cards signed.  For those that I have been able to meet with and get signed cards and for those that have sent in cards, I thank you!  If you received one in the mail, please fill out the authorization card and mail it back in the self-addressed stamped envelope.  This is an in-house record update so please get those authorization cards back to the Local as soon as you can.

    Please register for the website, after membership is verified you will have full access to the website.  We have social media accounts and all have been activated.  PLEASE feel free to add appropriate content!


    Dwight Rose D988003  (406) 459-3548  dwight@ibew44.org


    The Kipp family has been through more in 3 months than most go through in a lifetime.  Their son, Cash, has been recovering from a severe brain injury he sustained in May.  He was in a coma for 3 days, ICU for 5 days, inpatient rehab for 21 days.  He spent his summer going back and forth to outpatient therapy.  Dad, Bill Kipp, is currently in Seattle ICU with a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury, with his wife, Misty, by his side.  Medical science states that he may never walk again, but we believe if anyone can prove them wrong, it is definitely Bill!

    This family will need our help as the financial burden is unbearable with the only income earner unable to work for quite some time, possibly permanently.  They really need our support to maintain their current home, bills and hope for the future.  Cash and his amazing sister, Bryton, are being cared for by amazing friends & family while Misty cares for Bill.  They all have been through so much.  Let’s work together to keep them whole, while they heal.  The love this family shares is priceless. 

    The family benefit will include kids bounce house, painting, games, music, karaoke, full cash bar, silent and live auction, spaghetti feed and much more!!!!

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2018

    Performance Authority Building

    1145 Hahn Road

    Helena, MT

    11:00am – Close

    Lunch – 11:00am – 1:00pm and Dinner - 5:00pm


    Local 44 would like to congratulate the following members for achieving Journeyman status:

    Ryan Carmody – Operator Transmission 3    Nicolaus Hemenway – Journeyman Lineman

    Jared Hockaday – Journeyman Lineman       Luke Lane – Journeyman Lineman

    Levi Reiff – Journeyman Lineman                Zachary Smith – Gas Tech Operator

    Great job and best wishes for a great career!


    Local 44 mourns the loss of the following retired members:

    Vincent Koefelda – Journeyman Lineman – passed away 4/28/18

    James Novak – Journeyman Lineman – passed away 8/28/18

    Rodney Stevens – Journeyman Lineman – passed away 9/11/18

    Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of these Brothers.


    Great Falls                    Oct. 01, 2018              7:00 PM          Great Falls Labor Temple

    Havre                           Oct. 02, 2018              6:00 PM          Elks Lodge     

                Malta                          Oct. 03, 2018              5:30 PM          Stretch’s Pizza Restaurant

    Billings                         Oct. 04, 2018              5:30 PM          NWE Service Center

    Line Construction          Oct. 13, 2018              1:00 PM          Helena Labor Temple

    Helena                         Oct. 15, 2018              5:30 PM          Helena Labor Temple

    Bozeman                      Oct. 16, 2018              5:00 PM          Bozeman Labor Temple

    Missoula                       Oct. 17, 2018              6:00 PM          Missoula Labor Temple

    Butte                            Oct. 25, 2018              5:30 PM          Local 44 Office

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