Jan 7, 2012

Controversy Brewing Between Troutdale, IBEW Local 48

My "Google Alert" for Troutdale brought this to my attention today. It's a letter posted on the IBEW Local 48 website urging its members to come to this Tuesday's Troutdale City Council meeting to protest the city's selection of Prairie Electric instead of an IBEW Local 48 represented firm for the electrical work to be done at Troutdale's new police station now under construction.  

 Here's the text from the IBEW Web site.
Dear Troutdale Member,
I am writing to you personally and urgently requesting your assistance on Tuesday, January 10, 2012. 
You are a taxpayer that pays taxes to the City of Troutdale.  As a taxpayer, you were asked to pass a bond levy in order to build a new City Police Station.  Your Union, IBEW Local 48, supported this measure and it was passed. As a result your property taxes and/or rents are supporting construction of the project.  What you may not have heard is that the Electrical portion of the bid went to Prairie Electric, a non-union company based in Vancouver, Washington.   Their employees primarily live in the Vancouver area.  This action is what has prompted my request for help from members.
In addition to the support of the tax bond, your Local also donated funds that paid entirely for the installation of electrical services, outlets and modifications of the street lamps that are along the Historic Columbia River Highway (Halsey Street) in downtown Troutdale.  I am sure you have enjoyed the Christmas Lights that have adorned these poles during the last two Holiday Seasons.  Again, this electrical installation was made possible due to the courtesy of IBEW Local 48. This was at zero cost to the City of Troutdale.  The City requested this of us and we willingly donated it to them.
Further, the BALMCC of IBEW Local 48 and NECA have provided funds for the installation of sports scoreboards for four East County high schools with a fifth scoreboard being designed now.  The average cost of these installations is $30,000.00 each.  They have been provided with BALMCC covering all costs in an effort to support our schools and community.   In fact, the first scoreboard was installed in 2006 at the Reynolds High School baseball field, located in Troutdale.
During the last three years our members have suffered tremendously with unemployment.  I find it inexcusable that the Troutdale City Council did nothing to insure local citizens were provided with an opportunity to work within their own community.   In other words, you as a citizen are paying taxes to your city to provide jobs to out of state workers while you remain either unemployed or forced to seek work elsewhere, possibly Intel which is an hour drive in the morning and up to two hours in the evening.
I am also personally offended on behalf of our members.   Our Local members have given to this community.   Yet the project was still awarded to a company with absolutely no community ties to Troutdale and no history of donating to the city.   They will be profiting from a project paid for in part by our members due to the fact that the Construction Manager chose to exclude the Union bid for reasons still not clear to me.  In fact, it has been reported to me that the Union bid was lower than Prairie Electric’s bid yet they still chose to go with them.
Brothers and Sisters, this should outrage you.  I am asking you to express your outrage in a peaceful and legal manner by supporting myself and other Local Union members at the next Troutdale City Council meeting.  It is scheduled for Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.  It will be held at City Hall located at 104 SE Kibling Street in Troutdale.
You will be contacted by a Representative of Local 48 to solicit your support.  We are in dire need of members who live in the area that are willing to speak to the Council.  We will provide the script and give you coaching in an effort to ease any anxiety you may have.
Now is the time to stand up and show your displeasure to your elected City Council members!
Your Local needs you and more importantly the City needs to understand what Local jobs mean to our members.  
I look forward to your participation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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