Tasting the rainbow at Wrigley

Skittles expansion in Yorkville

The Skittles expansion in Yorkville put members in the building trades to work for more than a year. The $50 million investment adds a new Skittles line and 75 jobs to Wrigley factory in Yorkville. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

Wrigley expansion advances growth for Mars in the US. $50 million investment adds new Skittles line and 75 jobs to Wrigley factory in Yorkville

YORKVILLE — It was sensory overload for guests who were given a tour June 14 through Wrigley’s $50 million Skittles factory expansion.

The overwhelming smells of spearmint and peppermint gave adults a child-like wonder while walking through a guided tour with Wrigley associates.
With precision, machines cut, wrapped, and packaged Wintergreen Extra gum, while other conveyors carried mounds of Doublemint gum dough to its final point of processing.

Natural light and bright colors of wall paint gave no doubt that Skittles were bring manufactured at the facility.

Today, Wrigley is running its Skittle production 24/7, because, well, people need more Skittles. “We need to accommodate the growth of the No. 1 non-chocolate confection in the U.S. market,” said Wrigley Americas President Casey Keller.

Skittles expansion in Yorkville

Wrigley Americas President Casey Keller was pleased to announce production of Skittles is running 24/7 at its Yorkville factory. Wrigley welcomed tours through the Skittles factory after a ribbon cutting event June 14. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer.

Along with creating 75 new jobs, the Skittle expansion project allowed local building trades to put its members to work for more than 1 1/2 years.

Factory Director Brian Pardo said when union members come to work, they came with the core value of safety on their mind. “It makes my job a lot easier,” Pardo explained. “We talk with our associates everyday about safety, and it was mirrored by union members when we went into the construction process.”

Skittles expansion in Yorkville

Packaged Skittles come down an assembly line to await shipment. Keller said Skittles have become the top-selling non-chocolate candy in the U.S. With its annual production, Wrigley could give four pieces of Skittles to everyone in Illinois EVERY day. Photo courtesy of Wrigley

On the electrical end, IBEW Local 461’s workforce reached 30,000 hours without a lost time incident while working on two construction projects at Wrigley — including the Skittles expansion factory. The projects also were completed on time and on budget.

For Continental Electrical Construction Company (CECCo), having members work 30,000 hours without an incident was amazing, said CECCo’s Director of Field Operations Brian Swiatek. CECCo has been performing electrical work at Wrigley for more than seven years — as long as Pardo has been with Wrigley.

Advertisement

Advertisement

“I can tell you, I didn’t have to worry about people not wearing safety glasses or being harnessed off if they needed to be. Everyone followed everything safely,” Pardo explained.

The 145,000 square-foot expansion is an example to how Mars is investing in the U.S. Over the last five years, Mars has invested $1 billion and created 1,000 jobs in new U.S. facilities.

Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Sean McCarthy said Wrigley has called Illinois home since 1891.

“The state of Illinois is proud to be a partner in your continued growth in the land of Lincoln,” McCarthy said.

United for a Cure

Operating Engineers Local 150 United for a Cure

Organized Labor rose to the calling and helped raise $152,000 to support early detection and pancreatic cancer research during the July 21 United for a Cure fundraiser held at Operating Engineers Local 150. Joe Borrelli and Michael Goldberg, both fighting pancreatic cancer, were the honored guests. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

View videos from the United for a Cure event by going to the Fox Valley Labor News YouTube channel
_______
To learn more about Goldberg Weisman Cairo, go to Goldberg Weisman Cairo’s website
To learn more about the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, go to the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation’s website
_______

COUNTRYSIDE — Joe Borrelli and Michael Goldberg, supporters and fighters of organized labor, received an outpouring of support and love July 21 when they were guests of honor for the United for a Cure fundraiser — benefiting the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation.

Borrelli and Goldberg found themselves diagnosed, only months apart from each other, with pancreatic cancer in the fall of 2015.

Borrelli is Sr. Vice President at Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, while Goldberg is the founding partner of the injury law firm Goldberg Weisman Cairo (GWC).

“I’ve never known anyone in my life with this diagnosis, and now, I have two close friends of mine with the same diagnosis,” explained GWC partner Louis Cairo to a room of 800 guests at Operating Engineers Local 150.

Friends of both Borrelli and Goldberg wanted to help — but what do you do? “We decided to rock the house for [these] two, great men,” Cairo said.

Operating Engineers Local 150 United for a Cure

Goldberg Weisman Cairo partner Louis Cairo was a driving force in organizing the United for a Cure July 21 fundraising event, which was hosted by the Illinois AFL-CIO, Chicago Federation of Labor, Chicago & Cook County Building Trades and GWC Law Firm. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“We decided to have an evening to celebrate the wonderful lives and accomplishments, and the love and respect that Joe Borrelli and Michael Goldberg have from the people in this room. That’s why we’re here.”

The other reason was to raise money to benefit the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation in order to find ways of early detection and a cure. Right now, there are no test for early detection.

Operating Engineers Local 150 United for a Cure

Joe Borrelli, left, and Michael Goldberg were honored during a fundraising event July 21 for the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. Both men were diagnosed in the fall of 2015. With no test for early detection, money raised will go towards research for early detection and finding a cure. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“With no test available, the only way pancreatic cancer is discovered is by luck,” Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation Executive Director Lynda Robbins explained. The event raised a whopping $152,000 for the cause.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Borrelli addressed the crowd from a wheelchair, a precautionary measure, insisted upon by his doctor. “When I heard the word ‘cancer,’ from my doctor, I don’t think I heard anything after that. It’s a journey you have to take.”

Along his journey, Borrelli reached out to Goldberg for knowledge and insight on his personal journey with pancreatic cancer.

In his capacity at Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, Borrelli is a relationship manager for several unions, allowing him to be extensively involved with organized labor. During his chemotherapy, he said he was amazed at the amount of help, support and respect he has received from unions.

“The unions do so much charitable work that nobody ever finds out about, or knows about — nobody ever seems to care about,” he said.

That night, Borrelli cared. As did Goldberg, who acknowledged the many charitable causes that organized labor helps fund.

Advertisement

Advertisement

“Collectively, unions are the most charitable groups of people on the planet. Union leaders are just hard working, men and women dedicated to making people’s lives better,” he explained.

Describing himself as a half-glass full kind of guy, Goldberg stressed laughter can help make you better. Stay positive, and never give up.

‘Remembering where we came from’

IBEW Local 134 Farewell Block Party

Chicago IBEW Local 134 members said good-bye July 16 to its home for the past 62 years – 600 West Washington Street, with a Farewell Block Party. The union bought the former Drake Elementary School in the Bronzeville neighborhood, and will be moving in November 2017. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

CHICAGO — It will be more than a year until the property at 2722 S. Martin Luther King Blvd., in Chicago is ready to move into, but IBEW Local 134 said its good-byes to its 62 years in the Washington Street building July 16 with a good, old fashioned party.

Dubbed the Farewell to 600 West Block Party, more than a 1,000 members, their family and friends came to listen to music, eat, drink and have a good time.

Business Agent Kevin Connolly said the union recently closed on the former Drake Elementary School property, located in the Bronzeville neighborhood. “We’re going to do a lot of work on it, so we’re in the process of securing demolition permits and zoning permits,” he explained.

Even though the building won’t be move-in ready until November 2017, the farewell party was already planned for July 16. “When we closed on the new space, we were unsure if we would have to be out and find a temporary space until the official transition. This was planned prior to us knowing we were going to be able to stay here,” Connelly said.

IBEW Local 134 Farewell Block Party

Local 134 ReNew President Dawn Sparr sells Farwell T-shirts to IBEW Local 134 member Mike Marchitto. Proceeds of T-shirt sales go to fund future Local 134 ReNew ventures, or is donated to social causes. Recently, ReNew sold buttons for Autism, hosted its first-ever retiree’s pancake breakfast, and sold St. Patrick Day’s T-shirts. ReNew recently donated more than $7,000 to the Henry Miller museum in St. Louis, where work is underway to restore the original boarding house where the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was born in 1891. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Local 134’s two story, 116-year-old union hall houses some great memories, but as Connolly put it, the union hall has been getting “pushed out” by surrounding development. “We’re an island,” he said.

It’s easy to agree with his observation. What used to be a parking lot behind the union hall to the north, is now a multi-story, work in progress, building. Parking to the east on property owned by the union is limited to business agents and staff. “There’s no where for members to park,” Connolly explained.

The new property will solve that, with sights set on 400 parking spots.

IBEW Local 134 Farewell Block Party

Grandfathered in, the iconic IBEW Local 134 digital marquee, above, will be staying with the building and not moving to the new property in Bronzeville. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

The new union hall also plans to partner with Dunbar Vocational High School, which is located across the street, and will be home to a comprehensive, citywide construction trades program.

IBEW Local 134 Farewell Block Party

With the White Sox battling it out in Los Angeles, Southpaw made a special visit to IBEW Local 134’s Farewell Block Party to mingle with members and take pictures. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

In a recent IBEW press release, Local 134 Business Manager Don Finn says someone from the local will likely teach at Dunbar. “That was just a happy coincidence,” Finn said of the hall’s location.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The program is expected to begin in the 2016-17 school year and will serve up to 120 students. Students in their junior and senior years will learn skills in fields including general construction, carpentry, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, welding, and electricity.

Upon graduation, students can then enter a pre-apprenticeship program as well as post-secondary education or a certification program.

Celebrating Obama’s legacy

Obama Legacy Initiative

Obama Legacy Initiative Co-Founder Fred Greenwood, left, listens to Congressman Bill Foster, right, discuss President Barack Obama’s legacy during a kickoff campaign event in Naperville June 2. Photo courtesy of Bill Grommel

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

NAPERVILLE — For Democrats, it’s difficult traveling on the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway and flying into the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.

As a frequent visitor to Washington, D.C., Congressman Bill Foster would like to see the airport be named after someone else — perhaps Barack Obama?

Well, it might be able to happen. A grassroots movement has brought together several like-minded individuals for the not-for-profit Obama Legacy Initiative (OLI), formed to name community landmarks after President Obama.

The group held a fundraiser June 2 in Naperville that was well attended by both dignitaries and the public.

Looking to OLI Co-Founder Fred Greenwood, Foster said if Greenwood could at least get the Washington, D.C. airport back to its original name, “[You would] be doing the country a service,” he said to laughter.

Foster would like Obama remembered and honored for bringing the country out from an economic disaster, which was teetering on the onset of a Depression.

Obama Legacy Initiative

From left, Columbia College Chicago history professor Lindsay Huge, Obama Legacy Initiative Co-Founder Sean Tenner, Congressman Bill Foster and Co-Founder Fred Greenwood brought guest together for a kick-off campaign fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Bill Grommel

“I’m very proud to see that President Obama is spending part of his time now, reminding people just how bad it was when he came into office,” Foster explained. “The economic climate between then and now is something our country should be grateful of.”

Greenwood, along with co-founder Sean Tenner, want to commemorate the significance of Obama’s election and presidency in the overall context of American history. They are looking for suggestions to name community landmarks, such as parks, roads and community centers, after Obama.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Columbia College Chicago history professor Lindsay Huge would like to see satellite libraries sprinkled around the SouthSide of Chicago, where the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be located.

Huge joked that something is already named after Obama — Obamacare, penned by the Republicans as a criticism towards the president.

“Perhaps he will not need bridges, or airports named after him, since his opponents did him the favor of naming the Affordable Care Act after Obama,” Huge said.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Unlike the Reagan Legacy Project, which was started by longtime Washington, D.C.-based arch-conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist of American for Tax Reform, OLI was proud to be launched by grassroots volunteers in Obama’s home state.

“We are the exact opposite of the people who put together the Reagan Legacy Project,” Tenner explained. “It’s just folks who think Obama’s presidency needs to be commemorated and serve as an example that anybody in America can grow up to be president.”

For more information to get involved, or to make suggestions, visit obamalegacyinitiative.org

Don’t be afraid of vacant office space

PowerFoward DuPage

Economic leaders want you to look at vacant office space as future work, not lost revenue. Bringing antiquated buildings up to code and retrofitting with state-of-the art amenities can help attract millennials to the ‘burbs. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

SCHAUMBURG — Instead of looking toward new construction, area electrical contractors were encouraged to look towards remodeling and retrofitting vacant buildings in a targeted campaign to attract and retain millennials in the suburbs.

As part of a State of the Region address offered by PowerFoward DuPage, electrical signatory contractors got an overview of how vacant and outdated office space is in DuPage and surrounding counties can be used to entice millennials, which will comprise the largest generation in the workforce.

This rapidly emerging workforce is looking for modern dining options, outdoor spaces and state-of-the-art building amenities. But as PowerFoward DuPage Executive Director Karyn Charvat pointed out, many office buildings are antiquated to attract a younger workforce.

PowerFoward DuPage

As president of the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, Pam Cumpata is focused on helping McHenry County companies develop their bench strength and retain business. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“Some buildings, quite frankly, need to be torn down and rebuilt to really meet the needs of this emerging workforce. For our industry, it gives our contractors the opportunity to bring buildings up to code and to redesign them so they are appealing and attractive to tenants,” Charvat explained.

Representatives from McHenry and Lake Counties discussed how their focus and partnerships brings together municipalities and economic development leaders so everyone is on the same page when it comes to business expansion and meeting those needs with electrical labor.

Lake County Partners (LCP) facilitates public/private collaboration to improve business climate in its region.

PowerFoward DuPage

Lake County Partners President and CEO Mike Stevens emphasized an asset to attract businesses is to offer some type of work/life balance for its new millennial workforce. With a “decent inventory” of office space available in Lake County, contractors need to keep on-going relationships with building owner and property manager open, so when the time arises, buildings can be remodeled and retro-fitted. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

LCP President and CEO Mike Stevens said Lake County has 11 Fortune 500 headquarters. With a “decent inventory” of existing office space, he’d like to attract additional regional or corporate headquarters.

“We can provide opportunities [to contractors] because the vacant space is nice, but it needs to have some improvements done,” Stevens said.

Target industries include biopharma; medical instruments, precision tooling; health care; professional and technology services and arts, culture and entertainment.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The McHenry County Economic Development Corporation is the connection to resources to meet the needs of business. Its president, Pam Cumpata, said 25 percent of McHenry County’s economic wealth is derived from manufacturing. In the past 15 to 20 years, high school students have pursued college rather than a trade school, resulting in a gap of skilled workforce and talent.

“We’re also aging. McHenry County’s average age is 37.6. But in the manufacturing setting, the average age is about 55,” Cumpata explained.

Power Up Now President Kelly Waters added that understanding needs of specific manufactures is key. “There are challenges as well as opportunities to be had.”

The future of the IBEW

IBEW Local 461 graduation

IBEW Local 461 President and Instructor Mark Seppelfrick, center, stands with his graduates, which include, from left, Joseph St. Germain, Trent Wolf, Ryan Blake and Jason Harvey. Not pictured is Mark Bryant II. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — Five years ago, a group of young men were accepted into the IBEW apprenticeship training during a time when the industry was struggling and unpredictable.

Unaware what the future had in store for them, they continued, knowing the training they received would launch them into a career — not just a job working paycheck-to-paycheck.

Five years later, with the economy on the upswing, these five apprentices attended their graduation ceremony June 3 at Aurora’s Two Brothers Roundhouse and transitioned to journeymen.

“You’ll be successful, and you’ll be able to supply everything you need for your families, if you . . . work hard, learn, listen, and try to improve yourself every day,” said IBEW Local 461 Business Manager Joel Pyle. “All of you are going to have great careers ahead of you. You all are top-notch guys.”

IBEW Local 461 graduation

IBEW Local 461 Business Manager Joel Pyle stressed the new graduates are the future of the IBEW. “Our future is as bright as you guys want to make it,” Pyle added. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Advertisement

Advertisement

Graduates include reclassification graduate Jason Harvey as journeyman wireman; and apprentice graduates Ryan Blake, Mark Bryant II, Joseph St. Germain and Trent Wolf as journeyman wireman-electricians.

Pyle encouraged the graduates to continue their education, come to union meetings and get involved in IBEW programs like RENEW, which focuses on issues important to younger workers.

Ronda Kliman, area representative with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship said attending graduation ceremonies are the best part of her job.

“You’ve dedicated yourself to be our next skilled and trained workforce, and we thank you,” Kliman said.

ibew_names

“We have a contract!”

SMART Local 73 strike

SMART Local 73 membership votes to approve a tentative agreement June 7 with SMACNA Greater Chicago. Membership voted down a previous contract May 31, prompting a strike. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

HILLSIDE — SMART Local 73 President Rocco Terranova was happy to announce, “We have a contract!”

The news came shortly after ballots were counted June 7 at the Union Hall in Hillside for the third contract proposal between the union and Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) of Greater Chicago.

There where 1,166 votes cast, with five spoiled ballots. Final tally: 1,060 accepted the proposed contract; 101 rejected the proposed contract. The contract is effective from June 1, 2016 through May 31, 2019.

After the second and final contract was voted down May 31 by the union membership, the union issued a strike notice effective June 1, affecting about 2,500 of its roughly 4,500 members and about 200 of its signatory contractors. On the union’s Facebook page, a post indicated members working at jobs with Project Labor Agreements were allowed to work, per their agreements.

SMART Local 73 strike

SMART Local 73 members hold the strike line June 2 in Franklin Park for the second day. Members went on strike May 31 against SMACNA Greater Chicago after voting down its second and final offer May 31. A third agreement was voted on and approved June 7. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

On the second day of the strike, Terranova stressed to contractors and members calling his office that both sides were committed to meeting. “I told [SMACNA] I’m available 24/7. Our door is open,” he said.

Both sides soon got together — at 10 a.m. on the third day of the strike to re-open discussions. By late afternoon, both sides reached a tentative contract proposal and Terranova authorized all pickets to be taken down and instructed members to return to work.

SMART Local 73 strike

Union painters from Painters District Council 14 are proud to stand in solidarity with their fellow SMW Brothers and Sisters by honoring SMART Local 73’s picket. Photo courtesy of Painters District Council 14

The union was prepared to return to the strike line June 8 if the proposal was rejected.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Terranova has been through a strike, in the 1980s, and knows a strike isn’t good for the industry. “No body ever wins with a strike — but our members spoke, and as union reps, we have to represent them the best we can,” he said.

Preliminary meetings started in January and Terranova said both sides were in constant contact for the last two months. He was pleased that other Sheet Metal locals were standing in solidarity with them.

During the strike, Terranova believed other building trades were honoring the strike. “To the best of our knowledge, unions are honoring the strike.”

Donations, money pledged for area vets

Disabled Veterans National Foundation

John Paruch, with the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, was in Aurora May 25 at the Pipe Fitters’ Training Center Local 597 to donate several pallets of clothing, shoes and hygiene items to area veteran organizations. Social media brought together Paruch and the Aurora Veterans Advisory Council. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, June 2, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — Area veteran organizations got a surprise May 25 during Aurora’s first ever Vets Week when several pallets of blankets, shoes and personal hygiene items were donated for distribution to worthy veterans.

“We’re providing these pallets for veterans who are down on their luck and not as fortunate as we are,” John Paruch explained to a small crowd of guests at Pipe Fitters’ Training Center Local 597.

As part of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF), Paruch knows our country can never do enough to help the great men and women who protected this country for safety and freedom.

“Whether it be shoes, the comfort kit, or basic hygiene items, we’re trying to make their lives a little bit more bearable when they’re down on their luck,” Paruch explained.

Aurora Veterans Advisory Council

Area veteran organizations sort through the pallets for distribution to their respective organization. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

As the director of corporate and foundation relations for DVNF, he understands how difficult and stressful it is putting together an event like Aurora’s Vet Week. The more than weeklong event was sponsored by the Aurora Veterans Advisory Council, chaired by Vietnam veteran Joe Toma.

With the help of social media, several phone calls and people paying it forward, the pallets and Paruch found their way to Aurora.

“As we lead up to Memorial Day, we all know how important it is that we don’t forget those who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed so much for us,” Paruch said.

United Association General President William Hite

After United Association General President William Hite, left, pledged $5,000 to the cause of helping area veterans, he gets a thank you from Aurora Veterans Advisory Council, chaired by Vietnam veteran Joe Toma. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

William Hite, who serves as general president of the United Association — Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders & Service Techs, helped the cause by donating $5,000, because, as he said: “It’s a great thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

“We partner with the military, we recruit heavily out of the military and they are our best people,” Hite added.

In 2008, Hite started the UA’s Veterans in Piping (VIP) program, offering high-quality skilled training and jobs in the pipe trades to active duty military personnel preparing to leave the service. Currently, the UA VIP program is on 10 military bases.

“This is training — not for a job, but a career with good benefits, health care, pension and good wages,” Hite stressed.

Because of DVNF’s generous donation, Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans co-founder and veteran Dirk Enger was humbled by the gesture. “To see those who have served,in foreign lands, to come back and sleep upon the very frozen grounds of freedom, is a disgrace,” Enger said.

“I just cannot express our gratitude to you, John, and to all that were involved, that these goods will be going to good use. Instead of thinking of the negative things that are going on in our country, let’s think of the good things that are going on in our country,” he added.

United for a Cure: In honor of Michael B. Goldberg and Joseph Borrelli

United for a Cure: In honor of Michael B. Goldberg and Joseph Borrelli. Hosted by Illinois AFL-CIO, Chicago Federation of Labor, and Chicago Cook County Building Trades Council

Starts at 6 p.m., July 21, at Operating Engineers Local 150, Countryside, IL

This charity event “United for a Cure” benefiting the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, in honor of Joseph Borrelli and Michael B. Goldberg. The event will include dinner, raffle prizes, entertainment and much more. Sponsorships are available. For more information call Georgia Gray at 312-464-1230.

 United for a Cure: In honor of Michael B. Goldberg and Joseph Borrelli


New 1 RPCF 2016

New 1 RPCF 2016

30,000 hours worked with no lost time

Continental Electrical Construction Company

Continental Electrical Construction Company and members of IBEW Local 461 completed two projects at the Yorkville Wrigley plant. It took more than 14 months and 30,000 hours to complete — all without a lost time incident. Photo courtesy of IBEW Local 461

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

YORKVILLE — When Continental Electrical Construction Company (CECCo) Director of Field Operations found out members of IBEW’s Local 461 would be working with them on two project at the Wrigley Manufacturing Company in Yorkville, Brian Swiatek was a little apprehensive — 85 percent of his workforce had never worked with CECCo prior to starting the job.

“We didn’t have a presence with Local 461,” Swiatek said. “Because of this, you wonder, ‘how are things going to work?’”

Fourteen months later, now that the $8 million projects are completed, Swiatek couldn’t be happier.

On the electrical end, Local 461’s workforce reached 30,000 hours without a lost time incident. The projects also were completed on time and on budget.

“This project could not have been completed without the 30 plus Local 461 Journeymen and Apprentices who dedicated their skill and excellence to ensure the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers stood tall at the end,” Swiatek wrote in a letter of appreciation to Local 461’s President Joel Pyle.

Advertisement

Advertisement

For the electrical company, having members work 30,000 hours without an incident was amazing.

“Not having a first aid incident or have to go the hospital or clinic is a mess of an undertaking. It all went off without a hitch and that’s what we’re most proud of,” he explained.

With any project taking more than 5,000 hours, CECCo dedicates a site specific safety supervisor. That individual interacts with a safety supervisor and creates on-site safety audits and conducts bi-weekly safety meetings.

“Sometimes, it’s a hard sell for workers to understand safety comes first, but from the inception of the project, Local 461 members came to the job ready to work safely,” Swiatek said.

“Before they even pick up a tool, they figured out the best and safest way to do their work for the day.”