FROM THE BUSINESS MANAGER
The Ides of March are upon us. Throughout history the Ides (middle) of March has been a time to settle the score. The 15th of March, I believe, is when Julius Caesar was assassinated. Maybe today it pertains more to “March Madness” as in college hoops. The month does have special meaning, the end of winter (at least old man winter can’t hurt us too bad) and more importantly the biggest Holiday of the year, Saint Patrick’s Day! I suggest everyone make it up to the Sacred City and enjoy the festivities! Stop by my house for an Irish Coffee before the parade that kicks off at noon. The Office will be closed that day out of respect for the Irish! (And the fact that it is Sunday.)
The contractors are excited about the construction season coming, and if they are then I expect it will be a good one. Currently we have a lot of members working out of the area with calls coming in from contractors looking for more men, but the work is in California. Hopefully the guys can make bank and be back for the construction season here at home.
We successfully completed negotiations with Marias River Elect Co-op. Negotiations got heated up a couple of times, but the negotiating committee did a great job and got a good contract. A four-year agreement with a 6%, 3%, 3%, 3% wage increase and a bump in their health care cap. Thanks go out to Jennifer, Ben, and Justin for a job well done. Thanks team!
We are still awaiting the arbitrator’s decision at Hill County and we are still working through a grievance procedure with Northwestern Energy. HOLD THE PRESSES!!!! Just got an afterhours call from our attorney, the IBEW GUYS at Hill County/Triangle Telephone WON BIG in a yearlong Labor Dispute! The arbitration judge agreed that the contract was violated and he orders reinstatement of employees to job classification and back pay from Feb.1, 2018 to present. GOOD WORK Men! Special thanks to our Stewards at Hill County and all the guys for hanging tuff. I am proud of ya!
At NWE OMS/Mobile Dispatch negotiations continue to unfold. It has been quite the process, but we are close and finally have enough information from the company to know what we need to negotiate on.
Other on-going issues, as the State legislative process is unfolding we haven’t been hit too bad and some of the ugly stuff we know will die a certain death if it gets to the Gov. The PSC is of course tackling a lot of issues. If different parties don’t like the answer they hear then they tend to want to legislate their ideas. Trust me, we don’t want that. I’ve been there and the 90 day education they get is hardly enough to make sound energy policy. I guess it is scary either way but balance is always best.
ROB’S OUTDOORS CORNER
The recent mid February cold blast put ice on every lake in the State, so it is definitely time to go after those slimy Northerners and every other species that swims. Holter, Canyon Ferry, local ponds and Fort Peck are all fishing well. A Pearl Dickey is my favorite jig and tip with a maggot seems to work everywhere for both trout and perch. (Don’t get confused like I did the first time, I thought they said use your Purple Dicky and I almost made a big mistake!) Enough of that, so you know I’m going back to fishing, the Skijoring was too scary, if any of you checked out the web site you saw me in action. I was using my daughter’s ski’s, wearing my wife’s long underwear and was disqualified for screaming! I scared the horse so bad it kept on running straight out of the county! Anyway, as they say, stick to what you know, we finally got winter so go out, stay safe and enjoy the snow!
Your Outdoor Editor, Rob Buhl.
GOOD OF THE UNION
Cody Inabnit is looking for Instructors for Pole Yards. If you are interested please contact him at (406) 262-3455.
Go to our local web site and check out the… SAFETY WALLET…. It is recognized by the NECA, Western Line Contractors, the IBEW and JATC’s. It has all your updated information and certifications in one place!
MEMBERSHIP & EMPLOYER DEVELOPMENT
Bargaining class only had 4 people signed up for the class so the training was cancelled. The next contracts to negotiate will be Hill County Electric, Missoula Electric and NorthWestern Energy. Currently we are working with the I.O. education department to reschedule the bargaining training class in July for the week of the 22nd to catch those aforementioned contracts. If you have sat on the negotiations committee in the past or if you would like to, please contact me at 406-459-3548, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office 406-723-3203. Please also let us know if you need a hotel room. Donuts, refreshments and lunch will be provided. Bargaining training class is a 3-day class.
This is the time of the year for tradeshows, career days (fairs) at local schools. IBEW 44 is looking for help at these functions. Powell County FCCLA Chapter is planning their 3rd Annual Career Fair on February 27th from 9am to 12pm. If you are interested in helping out at this career fair contact Shane Bykonen at 406-750-0511, the Office at 406-723-3203 or me 406-459-3549.
As always, please register for the website (www.ibew44.org), 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!
Raffle tickets to benefit the 44 Brotherhood Fund. Raffle prizes are a Henry .357, Smith and Wesson .357 and a Bonehead creation! To purchase tickets, contact any RENEW Officer or the Hall; tickets are in the Hall as well. The drawing will be held on March 4th after the Great Falls meeting.
RENEW needs you! Sad to report Tanner Jossi, Vice Chair for RENEW, is moving to Portland, OR. Our loss is their gain! Please wish Tanner and his family a safe journey as they start the next chapter in their lives! Thank you, Tanner!
Still need representatives out of Line Construction and Great Falls area as well as Vice Chair. The next RENEW meeting will be March 2nd at the Great Falls Labor Temple at 11:00 AM. If you are interested in getting involved, or have questions feel free to contact Shane Bykonen at 406-750-0511.
LOCAL 44 MERCHANDISE
The Hall has Local 44 merchandise in stock. Short sleeve T-shirts are in black with or without a pocket. Sizes come in Medium – XXX-Large, with a price of $20.00. St. Patrick’s Day short sleeve T-shirts are in green. Sizes come in Large – XXX-Large, with a price of $20.00. Hooded Sweatshirts are black with the Elk Logo. Sizes come in Medium – XX-Large, with a price of $40.00. We also have black hats for $20.00. Please contact the Office if you would like to purchase any of this merchandise. We will ship it to you with an invoice if necessary, or you can charge it to a card.
T-SHIRT ST. PATRICK SWEATSHIRT HAT
Local 44 would like to congratulate Colin Andrews for achieving Journeyman status. Great job and best wishes for a great career!
Local 44 would like to congratulate the following members who have retired from the trade:
Richard Bonnes – Journeyman Operator Maintenance Hydro
Keith Hruska – Journeyman Gasman
David Romsa – Journeyman Lineman
Best wishes for a long and happy retirement!
MARCH UNIT MEETINGS
Great Falls Mar. 04, 2019 7:00 PM Great Falls Labor Temple
Havre Mar. 05, 2019 6:00 PM Elks Lodge
Malta Mar. 06, 2019 5:30 PM Stretch’s Pizza Restaurant
Billings Mar. 07, 2019 4:30 PM NWE Service Center
Helena Mar. 18, 2019 5:30 PM Helena Labor Temple
Bozeman Mar. 19, 2019 5:00 PM Bozeman Labor Temple
Missoula Mar. 20, 2019 6:00 PM Missoula Labor Temple
Line Construction Mar. 23, 2019 12:00 PM Helena Labor Temple
Butte Mar. 28, 2019 5:30 PM Local 44 Office