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  • November News Letter
    Posted On: Nov 30, 2018


    Hello to all 44 Brothers and Sisters and across the West.  It hurts this morning to have to drape the Charter for the loss of good man, a great friend and truly one of the best at his trade.  Ryan Renner passed away in a tragic accident this October while enjoying the Montana Outdoors he loved so much.  Ryan was the professional we strive to be.  He made friends and bettered crews wherever he went.  Never in my tenure has this Hall been flooded with calls and condolences as it has these last few days.  Linehand after linehand, contractor after contractor has stopped by to express grief over this loss.  Ryan came from a family that exuded that professionalism we all admired and that his father Jim instilled in him.  I am sure I speak for the IBEW and the industry when I say “Rest in Peace Brother Ryan, you will be greatly missed.”  Please check our Local’s Website, as soon as we find out where honorarium can be sent in his name, we will have it published.

    October has been a busy month.  We still have calls we can’t fill and projects waiting to get started.  Woody and I have been traveling around to Unit Meetings of course, NorthWestern JATC Meetings, the three-day school and also LAMPAC.  Lawrence, Bob and I attended that conference.  Two teams are off to the Lineman’s Rodeo in KC.  Last of the Energy and Telecommunication Interim committee hearings in Helena along with PSC Meetings and Treasure State Resources Board meetings, not to mention OMS/ Dispatch negotiations here in Butte.  What’s that?  Oh, I know quit whining…. Ok I will.  It is all good as I did get to see a lot of the Montana fall colors.  It is the best time of year.  I have already seen pictures of some nice bulls that members have taken this season.  Remember send those pictures in and I will get them posted on our website.  Rob Buhl’s next report will probably be about hunting as this is the time of year he sets his fishing pole down and he and Kerri pick up the rifles.  Can’t wait for that report!

    The two teams went to the National Linemen’s Rodeo and we should have them reporting in next month as well.  Our RENEW Program is up and getting going, be on the watch for their fund-raising efforts.  I have asked them to be in charge of our “Brotherhood Fund”.  This will be separate from the Local General Fund and allow us to do some good things in our communities.  Help a brother or sister when they are down, or maybe feed a family at Christmas time.  Anyway, let’s support their fund-raising efforts by buying the raffle tickets when they are ready.  Thanks.  I am sending out my personal “Thanks” to all the Brothers and Sisters that chipped into the Bill Kipp fundraising effort.  Woody and I both attended the fundraiser for Bill and were able to make a sizeable donation on your behalf.

    We are still waiting for the decision on the wrongful demotion at Triangle Telephone.  The report and hearings are all done now, and we just need the judge to make his decision.  Our grievance at Northwestern Energy is still on track to be arbitrated on the 11th of December.  In the meantime, we are still meeting with them to try and get the contract provisions for our Mobile Dispatchers and Outage Management System people.  We have tried to accommodate the company’s needs in every way, but they seem stuck in some “parameters” dictated by national surveys which indicate other places they pay these people less.  We disagree, these people are among the poorest paid employees and they are very professional.  We have only asked that they get treated well and paid what like employees in positions in like industries get for doing the same type work.

    I would like to take a moment of personal privilege, I sometimes in dealing with the trial and tribulations of this office get wound up and must be reminded that those ups and downs go with the job.  I apologize to those I sometimes offend.  Civil dialog is the right course to take, and I hope we will all take it.  You are sometimes right, I sometimes get out of line.  I could name those of you who I am speaking to except the list would be long, so to the Local, my Brothers, thanks for the reminder.

    In Brotherhood,



    Thought we would add a little section to help everyone keep track of Wind Projects.  As you know Eagleton High Voltage is currently working on the Gordon Butte Project.  Other projects “In the wind” are:

    • Harlowton - 155MW Jawbone II Windfarm addition.  It is still working through the process so it is rated at 0-70% project probability.
    • Harlowton - Grassroot 80MW Jawbone 1 Windfarm.  Again working its way through the process or 0-70% probability.
    • Raynesford - Grassroot 80MW South Peak Windfarm.  Again working its way through but much further along and holding a 70-80% chance of becoming a reality.
    • Stillwater - Grassroot 80MW Springtime Windfarm 81-99% Probability.
    • Forsyth - 150MW Clearwater energy Phase II, 70-80% probability.
    • Wibaux - Grassroot 100MW Windfarm, 0-69% probability.

    Will keep you Posted.


    The past few weeks I have been able to meet a lot of the outside construction membership either at the docks, yards or show up sites.  I do appreciate everyone’s time and patience with me showing up to get Authorization Cards signed.  I have met some really good people out there, learned some new things and had a front row seat to some Montana style UFC, don’t sit in my spot!  If I have not been able to get out and see you and if you still have one that I mailed out, you can still send them into the office.

    I have also been able to go to the apprenticeship classes and introduce myself to the new first-year class, Congratulations and Welcome to the IBEW.  You are becoming a part of some very proud, rich traditions and the best Union!  I have met the second-year class as well and will also introduce myself to the third-year class soon.  After meeting the first-year class and seeing the walls bulging out because of the size of the first year class, the new training building will be a welcome addition as well as having some elbow room!

    The RENEW Update.

    The RENEW Officers are planning on participating in the LIFE (Learn Interact Formulate Educate) event in Great Falls (all of the Cascade county area High School and Middle schools attend), at the Trades Building at the Fairgrounds.  If anyone knows of any job fairs or would like someone to go to a school and talk about the apprenticeship program, you can email me at dwight@ibew44.org or call 406-459-3548.  I will work with the JATC and RENEW to make sure that it happens!

    RENEW Officers have talked about several different ideas for fund raisers, there may be a T-shirt coming out, they’re talking about in conjunction with the Great Falls Christmas party maybe having a poker tournament, look for an update in the next Communicator.

    If anyone is interested in being a part of RENEW contact either Shane Bykonen at sbykonenrenew@ibew44.org or any of the RENEW Officers.  Their emails are on the web page at ibew44.org.  Please register for the website, after membership is verified you will have full access to the website.  IBEW 44 has social media accounts. Visit the web page to access the social media accounts and PLEASE feel free to add content, appropriate content please!


    Dwight Rose                                        





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

    Tyler Florez – Journeyman Lineman             Kyle Granholm – Journeyman Lineman

    Great job and best wishes for a great career!


    Local 44 would like to congratulate the following members who have retired from the trade:

    Terry Kim Cowart – Journeyman Lineman

    Darrell Doane – Lineman Sub-Foreman

    Vern Langille – Journeyman Lineman

    James Lee - Journeyman Lineman

    Calvin Long - Journeyman Lineman

    Steve Maciag - Journeyman Lineman

    Karen Robertson – Administrative Specialist 3

    Tom Simons – Lineman

    Kenneth Stamp – Technician Relay Sr

    Best wishes for a long and happy retirement!


    Local 44 mourns the tragic loss of Brother Ryan Renner who passed away on October 13, 2018.  Brother Renner was initiated into the IBEW in June 1998 as an Apprentice Lineman.  He became a Journeyman Lineman in February 2002.  At the time of his death he was employed by Mountain Power Construction.  Our sincere condolences and sympathy go out to Ryan’s family and friends.  He will be missed by many including everyone at Local 44.


    The Delegates of the 39th IBEW International Convention, which was held in 2016, approved amendments to Article IX of the IBEW Constitution.  Accordingly, there will be a Basic dues increase of $1.00 for “A” members only starting after you have paid through December 2018.  The new Basic “A” rate will be $43.00 monthly.  The Basic “BA” rate will stay the same at $24.00 monthly.  Remember if you are on dues deduct with your employer, they will not start to deduct the extra $1.00 until January no matter when it is due for you.  So please pay attention to the receipt that is mailed to you and pay any differences that you may owe.  Printed at the top middle of the receipt will be a negative balance if you owe money, and it will print a positive balance if you have credit. 


    Great Falls                   Nov. 05, 2018             7:00 PM          Great Falls Labor Temple

    Havre                          Nov. 06, 2018             6:00 PM          Elks Lodge     

              Lewistown                    Nov. 07, 2018             5:30 PM          NWE Service Center

    Billings                        Nov. 08, 2018             5:30 PM          NWE Service Center

    Helena                        Nov. 19, 2018             5:00 PM          Helena Labor Temple

    Bozeman                     Nov. 20, 2018             5:00 PM          Bozeman Labor Temple

    Missoula                      Nov. 21, 2018             6:00 PM          Missoula Labor Temple

    Butte                          Nov. 29, 2018             5:30 PM          Local 44 Office

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