I was hired by Penelec in the summer of 1978 into the newly created Mobile Maintenance group as an assistant electrician. At the time I was employed by a small non-Union electrical contractor. The
only thing I knew about Union electricians was their hourly rate was more than twice what I was being paid.
My first work assignment was installing new light fixtures at the Keystone power plant. A new contract had been ratified a month before and the new contract books hadn’t been distributed yet. I remember the first or second week on the job I was asked to work a double shift to make emergency repairs to the generator. The first night of the double shifts one of the other crew members walked up to me
with a clip board and ask me “what do you want for your dinner?” I started to reach for my wallet not knowing how much cash I had with me and the crew member started to laugh and said “what are you doing,
don’t you know the company provides for your meals when you work overtime?” As time went on and I received my contract book and soon I realized I had many other benefits I could only have dreamed of before I became a Union member.
That was over forty years ago and since then I’ve been involved in two
strikes. I now know none of these benefits were handed to me by a generous employer. Paid vacations, sick leave, pensions and 401k’s all came through bargaining by our past and present Union leaders.
As my time with Penelec is ending I realize how blessed my family has been because I am a member of a labor Union. I can enjoy my retirement with security and dignity. I hope I have contributed in some
small way to the success our local Union.