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The Switch

October 10, 2012 - The Switch – Fall 2012

On April 10th, the new East County (Multnomah) Courthouse in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham was dedicated.

This summer, NECA/IBEW Local 48 began production of a video that will highlight the many electrical charging stations around Portland and the region.

The video will also prominently feature interviews with some of the companies and contractors that installed the stations. The goal is to raise awareness about the many local NECA/IBEW Lo- cal 48 companies and contractors that have experience installing and wiring the charging stations.

The video will show the NECA/IBEW Local 48 Chevy Volt driving to the many charging stations that were installed around the… Read The Switch – Fall 2012

June 5, 2012 - The Switch – Spring 2012

On April 10th, the new East County (Multnomah) Courthouse in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham was dedicated.

The new court house has been in the works for a long time, with construction beginning in January 2011 on the 4.2 acre site located at 185th and Stark Street. The $19.6 million 40,000-square-foot three-floor facility will have three courtrooms,
a district attorney office, a sheriff’s department security office, court business office, a data center in the basement and a drop-in child care facility for visitors. Roughly $15 million was paid for with Recovery Zone Economic Development (stimulus) Bonds.
The remaining portion was funded from the 2008 sale of the South Edgefield property. Read The Switch – Spring 2012.

January 31, 2012 - The Switch – Winter 2011/2012

The IBEW and NECA each have proud histories and traditions that position them as leaders in the electrical industry. The solid foundation of these legacies is always based at the local level, where the men and women work with their hands and apply their skills to make this a better place for all concerned. A great example of this is IBEW Local 970 in Longview. Chartered in 1924, Local 970 has a proud history of serving the citizens and businesses of the greater Longview/Kelso area.

The cornerstone of IBEW Local 970 has been the area’s ports and forest products industries. International trade and demand for forest products have always been and will continue to be cyclic in nature. Fortunately, west coast ports are a key gateway for commerce with our Pacific–rim trading partners, and with their excellent railroad service, the Ports of Longview and Kalama will continue to play an important role in trans-Pacific trade. Read The Switch – Winter 2011/2012.

October 24, 2011 - The Switch – Fall 2011

The Oregon construction industry is determined to reverse the unemployment trend. Sometimes that means developing new business in the “green” sector, or focusing on training in order to ensure the best workers are available to build Oregon’s future. Other times, it means working within the state’s regulatory system to change the system, to grow jobs in the Oregon economy, rather than holding us back from profitable, job-creating projects.

NECA/IBEW 48, along with much of the construction industry in Oregon, had been working for three consecutive sessions to pass a bill that would bring functionality back to the permitting process for linear projects.

Permitting linear projects is an important first step in creating jobs and preserving resources. By streamlining the permitting process and allowing permits to be approved prior to the purchase of land, both money and time will be saved. Read The Switch – Fall 2011.

June 24, 2011 - The Switch – Summer 2011

Oregon’s construction market is facing a difficult economic forecast while at the same time being confronted with demands by consumers and the government for a greener reality. One goal of NECA/IBEW 48, as a leader in the construction industry, is to support green building efforts while being fiscally responsible.

Both producers and consumers are engaged in the difficult balancing act between the costs and the benefits of green construction.

It is safe to say that a green structure will have more upfront costs than traditional construction. The justification of the upfront costs comes by way of the energy saved over time as well as the lifecycle cost, the idea that consumers are willing to pay the extra upfront costs knowing that there will be a return on investment through long term savings and peace of mind. Read The Switch – Summer 2011.

April 5, 2011 - The Switch – Spring 2011

Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is the next phase of sustainable building in our industry. The bar of how sustainable a project can be has been raised to levels previously thought impossible. A truly NZEB is a building that produces the same amount of energy as it uses on an annual basis, and in some cases it can even produce more than it consumes.

In the northwest especially, it is important to keep in mind that achieving the NZEB rating happens throughout an entire year. In Oregon for example, there are months when the sun doesn’t shine as bright and the clouds offer more cover than usual (limiting solar power), or when the wind doesn’t blow as frequently (limiting wind power). By measuring the energy use and production over a year, the unpredictability of the elements do not come into play as heavily as if it were measured monthly. Read The Switch – Spring 2011.

December 17, 2010 - The Switch – Winter 2010/2011

Electric vehicles used to be a fantasy, a mode of transportation that only came to fruition in science fiction movies and daydreams of the future. It may seem like a fantasy but the electric vehicle is now leaving tracks in the here and now. In fact, researchers estimate there to be up to 9 million electric vehicles on our roads by 2020. When numbers like these are discussed, it sounds like the electric vehicle has been embraced by the masses. While it is exciting to think of this green alternative taking hold worldwide, there are issues, concerns and consequences associated with electric cars.

Many agree that the electric vehicle is a great and promising development. It has numerous positive attributes, the most attractive quality being its small carbon footprint. But, challenges do exist; these challenges include the sticker cost of the vehicle, the cost to charge it, the current infrastructure in place to support these vehicles when they hit the road and park in residential garages, and the vehicles mileage per charge limitations that exist with most models. There are hesitations in the marketplace because of these challenges. Read more…

August 30, 2010 - The Switch – Summer 2010

Oregon has strived and succeeded to be a national leader in the renewable energy arena. One would be hard pressed to travel the state without seeing evidence of Oregon’s dedication to renewable energy by way of wind turbines and solar paneling dotting the landscape. In addition to these more visible renewable energy tools, wave energy is an up and coming renewable energy possibility for Oregon to harvest.

Experts place Oregon as a leader in ocean renewable energy within the United States due to the wave resources and the coastal infrastructure we have to offer. In fact, construction is underway near Reedsport, on what will be the nation’s first wave energy plant. This project is expected to initially generate a total of 2 megawatts, approximately 2.5 miles off the coast. The exciting possibility of harnessing enough wave energy for commercial use is not in our immediate future, but it is on the horizon and Oregon is at the forefront of utilizing this groundbreaking resource. Read more…

April 15, 2010 - The Switch – Spring 2010

A very wise businessman once said about a deep economic recession, “It is only going up from here!” That perspective and attitude is where contractors and electricians need to focus their efforts. Things cannot get much worse and there are several indicators that our national economy has bottomed out. In fact, consumer spending is creeping up, with unemployment numbers leveling off and improving. Plus, spring is here. For those in the trades, construction activity historically picks up starting in the spring.

Recently at a NECA Chapter meeting, well-respectedregional economist Bill Conerly gave his presentation titled: “Financial Storm, Economic Rainbow: How Recovery WillCome to America and the Northwest.” Conerly lamented thattoday’s business decision makers don’t necessarily haveexperience with real recessions. “Back in December 1982, abusiness manager with 25 years of experience had workedthrough five recessions. Now fast forward to December2007. The next generation of business leaders, those againwith 25 years of experience, had only managed through tworecessions….” Read more…

December 17, 2009 - The Switch – Winter 2010

This coming January, Portland’s IBEW Local 48 will host the 20th Annual Meeting of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC), which will be held at the Benson Hotel. The EWMC’s history dates back to 1974 when African American and Hispanic delegates to the 30th IBEW International Convention in Kansas City, Missouri met and formed the Caucus. Its charge—to address the lack of minority representation and other inequalities within the IBEW.

Since 1974, the EWMC has prospered and grown due to its strong vision and belief in the abilities of people of color. The Caucus is a strong advocate for equal rights, opportunities and greater minority representation in the IBEW. It is well respected in the labor movement because of its strong commitment and vigorous pursuit of social and economic justice for minority workers. Read more…

September 1, 2009 - The Switch – Summer 2009

The down time of the construction business cycle is a good opportunity to think about what we can do as union electricians to assure our future. Craft unionism is built on working together for our common benefit and also feeling pride for the quality of our work. While we have inherited the achievements of the union electricians who went before us, it is also our responsibility to prepare the way for those who follow.

We have all heard the line about learning everything we need to know in kindergarten. In a similar way, the future of our trade and our union relies on the rules we learn in the apprenticeship program. In particular, I like the guidance spelled out in the “teaching job skills” pocket card from NJATC. It is simple, direct, and practical. Read more…

May 5, 2009 - The Switch – Spring 2009

Over the last few decades, health care reform has been a part of just about every presidential, congressional and even some gubernatorial races. Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, an emergency room doctor from Roseburg, was a champion of health care and he dramatically revamped the state’s system during his tenure. President Obama, Congress, Governor Kulongoski and the State Legislature have all made health care reform a priority. The challenges are great and the competing interests are significant. A recent nation-wide
survey by the Department of Health and Human Services found that the public’s concerns fell into the following categories:
• Cost of Health Insurance (31%)
• Cost of Health Care Services (24%)
Read more…

February 4, 2009 - The Switch – Winter 2009

On January 8, this was the theme of then Presidentelect’s Barack Obama speech that unveiled his “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” With our unemployment numbers climbing and economic forecasts dismal, the new administration and the 111th Congress has their work cut out for them. The President’s bold plan recognizes that “the very fact that this crisis is largely of our own making means that it is not beyond our ability to solve. Our problems are rooted in past mistakes, not our capacity for future greatness.” His plan is aimed at saving or creating at lease 3 million jobs over the next few years through public investments in priorities to keep America strong and competitive in the 21st century like:

Energy, Education, Health Care, New Infrastructure Read more…

October 15, 2008 - The Switch – Fall 2008

This time of year, it is pretty easy to get voter apathy, with the airways jammed full of political ads, speeches and news coverage. In some cases, the goal of a campaign is to discourage certain voters from exercising their constitutional right. The good news is that in the United States, voting is a privilege and a right. All we have to do is register and then take the time to mark our ballot.

Every four years, we have a presidential election and this year’s is turning out to be quite a showdown. All the candidates, whether for the White House or local government positions, have staked out an Energy position. Next year, a new Administration, the new Congress and our State Legislatures will all be wrestling with the question of how to make our country more energy efficient, environmentally responsible and self sufficient. Read more…

July 10, 2008 - The Switch – Summer 2008

Every year, businesses, unions and legislative leaders support the local community through their charitable contributions and unmatched dedication to some of Oregon’s most deserving organizations. The B.U.L.L. Session is one catalyst for their generosity. The two-day fundraiser, attended by many of the area’s most prestigious leaders, begins with a dinner and auction and continues on day two with a large golf tournament. Since its inception in 1990, the B.U.L.L. Session has raised over $3 million.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since NECA and IBEW joined forces with other construction industry power-houses to initiate this community outreach. Alongside founding members Tim Gauthier of NECA and Jerry Bruce of IBEW, was SMACNA’s Bob Blake and McMorgan & Company’s Jim Moss among other community leaders. Read more…

April 14, 2008 - The Switch – Spring 2008

The combination of rising energy prices, tax credits and other government incentives has shown businesses that going green can be profitable and has helped move renewable energy from the margins into the mainstream. Long before “sustainability” became a popular buzz word, leaders in green building have quietly and successfully implemented change. NECA/IBEW Local 48 has worked collectively with other interested parties to enact legislation and implement best practices for ensuring equipment efficiency and overall safety. The result is apparent in the passage of laws and the promotion of safety codes, as well as in the collaborative process that has emerged between builders, contractors and their electricians, designers and owners.

The rapid adoption of LEED certification is a case in point. Together, design build teams are taking the challenge to new heights, often striving for the highest “Platinum” ranking possible. Read more…

January 11, 2008 - The Switch – Winter 2008

Over the last decade, small and large businesses of all kinds have invested millions of dollars into implementing safety initiatives and programs to protect employees, as well as to avoid violations and fines. An individual company’s safety rating significantly influences not only its ability to compete for new business, but also the morale and productivity of its employees. A business that places a high value on safety obviously places a high value on its people. A safe, well-trained workforce is a productive and efficient one.

More businesses could benefit from better safety records if they took their initiatives beyond the typical three ring safety manual. Many NECA contractors do just that. Dynalectric’s dynamic Zero Accident Program (ZAP) drives results through providing creative employee incentives—most recently a new 2008 Chevy Silverado truck. A major investment for the company, but the pay-off is significant. Read more…

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