Western update

Monday, October 19, 2020
In the West we had two separate flash incidents. Thank god both members are recovering and will be o.k. Please make sure we all understand the task being performed. The tail board is extremely important. Complex jobs should have a walk through prior to work being performed. Indoor substations may be one of the most dangerous places for us to work. Remember the safety rules are just a minimum of what we have to do. It's up to each member to decide if they want added protection.
It is everyone's job on the crew to peer check each other and make sure the task is being performed safely. Don't go to work on blind faith you are the last line of defense for yourself and your coworker make sure you understand the job. If in question perform a safety stop.
I want to thank the crews on those jobs for reacting professionally by providing first aid, calling 911 and activating code blue.
I would like to talk about our Brotherhood and Sisterhood.
It is not uncommon for departments to have disagreements of some kind. What bothers me is when it goes too far. What we have to remember is that we all need to work together. We are our Brothers & Sisters keeper. It is our duty to watch out for each other for everything at work, that includes safety, physical and mental well being, training and contract rights.
This is for the Foreman and Qualified members. When training people in progression please remember that they are not a qualified employee. It is our job to provide training through OJT. Keep in mind some of our youngest members do not have the skills yet. As members of Local 97 we have to find ways to communicate without personally attacking someone. That is not to say that someone can't express themselves to make a point.
To those in progression take in the knowledge from every qualified person you work with. When you become qualified you will decide what you will take away from everyone you worked with and make it your own. Understand that not everyone is the same and not every qualified employee will be a good trainer or that some just can't explain themselves clearly to you. If a qualified member wants you to do a task a certain way and it can be done safely follow their direction. No Member has to do any task that is unsafe.
I want everyone to remember that supervision is not your friend they are your boss. If you think you can tell a supervisor something and he won't do anything with that information you are wrong. The supervisor is obligated to report it. Once you have either gone to your supervisor or ethics you have rung the bell and there is no going back. Ethics is not transparent. The same people that discipline you (labor) are the people who decide your fate in an ethics investigation. It is not an independent department. The company gave you your job but the Union has fought to give you all the conditions of employment that you enjoy and work by.
Please on member-on-member issues work through the Union. Start with your department steward and work your way up to the Union hall.
Qualified Checklist;
I have tried to work with the company to develop a qualified checklist for outside hires similar to the progression checklist. I believe that the company has hired talented people but it takes time on the property to learn the company's policy and procedures along with the negotiated safety rules. I have not had any success. The company wanted a list more like an AET training check off. I am not looking to change the pay of someone who gets hired but keep them from qualifying a crew until they are Niagara Mohawk ready.
Please work safely,
Jim Murty
IBEW Local 97
Assistant Business Manager West


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