On January 30, 2019 I attended my first Retiree Luncheon. I was surprised to see 14 lively Brothers seated at a long table at Casa Garcia’s. I recognized maybe three of the Brothers and maybe one recognized me. I made my way around the table introducing myself and receiving the firm handshake of men who spent their lives in labor. As I took my seat the story telling commenced. Immediately I could see that these men had worked together on countless jobsites over a lifetime. They were proud of their work and even more proud of their membership in the IBEW Local 520.
They could not believe how so many of the current members could go without paying their death benefit payments. It seemed to be a point of honor and pride that they could assist they families of Brothers and Sisters we have lost. Too many of their friends’ families have been recipients of this benefit that we have all agreed to contribute to each other, but many have ignored.
Pride in their work, pride in their membership, a lesson to be learned.
Ask yourselves Brothers and Sisters, are you proud of the work you have done lately? Are you proud of your membership in this century old Union of electrical workers? For far too many of us the answer is less than yes. The question is how do we get back to that sense of pride and accomplishment? How do we build a bond with each other that will last a lifetime? The strength of a Union is solidarity with each other and a commitment to the cause of labor. These men have inspired me to a greater commitment to serve my Local and to treat every Sister and Brother as if they are truly my sisters and brothers. Make a commitment to be the best craftsman or woman that you can be. Commit to stand beside your Brothers and Sisters through the good and the bad times.
Be the Union you would like to be part of, don’t join a Union, BE a Union!
I would like to thank Brothers: Terrance Barnard, 74, Billy Bukowsky 70, Ray Cleveland 84, Delwood Kruse 72, Nelson Garret 75, Max Ladusch 85, Jack Lyle 84, Thomas Kirk 70, John Polvado 77, Walter Timberlake 88, Bobby Parker 76, Hilbert L. Schuenemann 81, and Sherwin E. Wissen 72.
The youngest member of this group is 70 years old, and the oldest is 88 years old, with a combined service to this Local of 668 years.
In 1960 Ray Cleveland was the oldest man to join Local 520, at the age of 26. The youngest men to join were only 20 years old.
Max Ladusch and Walter Timberlake both have been members since 1953, 65 years and counting.
Thank you, Brothers, for showing us how it is done.