(UPDATED) — Non-Union Utility workers “turned away” in New Jersey?!? (…And why THIS story is indicative of a much BIGGER issue)

****UPDATE #3 –  As of  2:45 pm (Eastern) 11/4/12, this story continues to unfold.

Okay, I give up: what’s the difference? If you’re told not to come or if you’re turned away, unless you’re Unionized, …the phrase “distinction without a difference” comes to mind. As with previous updates, none of these developments disproves my overall point, despite the recent media spinnings of the IBEW.****



The Daily Caller reports:

Utility crews from several states East of the Mississippi River hit the road this week to volunteer their time and talents in Northeastern states hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. But crews from Alabama got the shock of their lives when other workers in a coastal New Jersey town told them they couldn’t lend a hand …without a union card.

Derrick Moore, who works for Decatur Utilities in Decatur, Ala., told WAFF-TV in Huntsville that crews in Seaside Heights, N.J. turned him and his crewmates away, saying they couldn’t do any work there because they’re not union employees.

Okay, then.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the “Frankenstorm”, New Jersey is by all evidence an EMERGENCY-DISASTER-HORROR-SHOW of EPIC PROPORTIONS, and they desperately need help ….but only if  you’re one of their “union brothers”.


Yes, seriously.

WAFF’s Mark Thornton reported that Moore and his coworkers “are frustrated being told, in essence, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’”

Another non-union Decatur Utilities crew is idling in Roanoke, Va., waiting for instructions from Seaside Heights. The town asked them days ago for help, but later told the workers to stand down.

Electric repair work for public utilities in New Jersey is dominated by the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, a unit of the politically powerful AFL-CIO

Many parts of coastal New Jersey are projected to be without electric power for at least seven to 10 more days.

Nothing comes between some of these folks and their Union mindset.


New Jersey has citizens desperately in need of electricity, and more crews would make a HUGE assistance, yet they’re told, “….Darn, you’re not Union? Whoopsie! Well, our state doesn’t need the help THAT bad…

I have years of experience dealing with Unions, including my immediate family, many friends, and it was even my major in college. As a result, I have NO doubt whatsoever that non-union teams could be told “we don’t need you; scram”.

Not every Union works this way, and not every Union worker does, either. Many do, however, and it’s the rules that create such a mindset, and the Union leaders create the rules.


RECENT EXAMPLE: in the Convention/EXPO Center where I’ve been this past week, we had a full display with hookups for both electric and air (for a compressor). The display itself was lightweight & designed to be assembled on site, like Lego blocks (no tools). As for the utilities, in order to use them you simply…plugged them in.

Quite literally: that’s it. No wiring, no wrenches, no nuthin’.

However, we were told a Union member would be over to help us “assemble” our display. Also, “an electrician would be over fairly soon to plug-in our items”. We also had to wait for a plumber to come “connect” the air line to our machine.

So, we couldn’t do/build/assemble anything (even though we knew how it went together, since it was ours, after all) until a Union brother came along to do it for/with us.

This obviously slows down the work that needs to be done to a crawl, which means the same amount of work will need more Union people to get it all done. Isn’t that wonderful?? Thus, the Union “wins”, and whomever is paying the bill loses, …BIG-time.


President Obama is fond of comparing the absence of Government involvement as being “on your own”, and portrays it as something to be avoided at all costs. Only the warm and fuzzy Federal Government can “keep you safe”. Unions spin the same story, about non-union labor. “Stay safe with us”, they say. “We’ll protect you”. In the meantime, they both suck dry the finances of those whom are actually footing the bill.

Basically, both theories lack 2 things: Individual Common Sense, & Efficiency.

A truly Capitalist society is much more effective primarily because both of those things (Individual Common Sense, & Efficiencyare rewarded, rather than punished. President Obama is pushing us away from that model towards one that favors the inefficiency of the Union, coupled with government dependency and Cronyism (video explanation HERE, if you’re curious about that last one).

And all the while, we keep slipping further and further into debt.


We have a tough job ahead of us, ALL of us. But our nation can be turned around and heading in a positive direction fairly quickly, IF we choose properly. So the question you need to ask yourself is fairly simple:

Which future looks more promising to you?

….or THIS one??

     …THIS one?

20 responses to “(UPDATED) — Non-Union Utility workers “turned away” in New Jersey?!? (…And why THIS story is indicative of a much BIGGER issue)

  1. For LIBERALS the POLITICS of people are more important than the PEOPLE themselves.

    No worries, though. Help will surely come when New Yorkers start eating the marathoners. Maybe the UN can send a representative from N. Korea to criticize our Human Rights just as Alexander Lukashenko, “President” of Belarus for 18 years (after becoming Pres he eliminated term limits) is criticizing our election process. I’d love to see him show up in Texas and question some cowboy’s eligibility.

  2. I reckon the IBEW came out after the Alabama boys were already on their way home and said they didn’t turn away any help, union or not. They should have thought about that Thursday when those crews arrived and were turned away.

  3. I quit my first job in California, because they were going to make me join a union…an after school job for crying out loud. Paid 2 bucks an hour.

    • I successfully ducked the unions a couple of times growing up.
      Of course, having a father whose job was to argue AGAINST them for years probably helped shape my views, as well.

  4. I understand the argument, I am a IBEW journeyman lineman. I agree that turning away people that want to help out is wrong, BUT seeing how storm work goes in hurricanes I also understand why. First most of these people not all, I repeat not ALL are seriously UNDER QUALIFIED. Some of these people have no experience working on energized or if they do they it’s not much. It is hard to let people that are a danger to others the privilege to work in these environments. I have been working on lines which luckily have been grounded when unqualified people have energized the circuit. I don’t know these guys they may have been qualified and just looking to help.

    • To reply to my own comment:
      I never agree with the liberal adgenda I would never vote for Obama. I don’t recognize the save views on politics that the union supports. I am a IBEW lineman for the freedom of work I can work as much or as little as I can afford, for me it’s about telling a company that I can come and go as I please that’s a great freedom. You can disagree and be job scared being at the same job year after year, or find your freedom where ever it may be!

      • Hey, Lando!
        1st of all, glad you commented here. And as I mentioned in my post above, I have friends, neighbors, etc.,. on both sides of this.

        The Unions have created a great deal of power for themselves, it’s true. The benefits and working conditions for Union Members is not at issue here. My problem is that the “power” the Unions have created is often at the expense of the folks who own the companies and (in the example above) the customers themselves.

        This situation fails the “Reasonable Person” test, which is why I think we’ve seen such outrage over this.

        For ANY group or union, in a time of need and for selfish reasons, to turn away professionals who are there to HELP, is clearly wrong. I’d agree that you can’t have Joe Sixpack show up with his toolbox; however, these guys were pro’s.
        They just happened to be NON-UNION pro’s.

        Again, thanks so much for your comment. We always try to be fair here; hope we’ll see you back soon.

    • The folks in the south deal with storms like this all the time. So take ur union card and stick it. Tell your Obama loving mayors get off their butt and turn the power back on.

      If you don’t want us so-called rednecks to help you then freeze ur butt off and keep ur yankee a** up north.

      Clean up the south; send a NEW JERSEY YANKEE BACK HOME WITH THEIR UNION CARD………

    • You are right, it should be done right, first and foremost.

      But I don’t see a problem with putting six men without a union card under you to pull wire or what ever needs doing, with you at the switch to energize after you have checked and gave it a pass.
      People came to help and that should have been allowed. I understand that some work is done energized and for that I understand that you would only want your own people. You can’t tell me you have never heard of “LOCK OUT TAG OUT”

      • Lock out tag out is a procedure. We do hang them at switches and as another safety precaution we also put up grounds for OUR safety.
        When you have thousands of lineman out some a****** pulls your tag and close cutouts; some may be disgruntled employees or just someone that doesn’t care.

        I have worked in building where lock out tag out is way more relevant. That’s why if you really knew anything about what you act like you know. Keep the cutout fuse!! How often do you see a place for a lock and tag on that power pole next to your house. I’m one of those guys you never care about till your lights go out regardless if I’ve already been working 40-60 hrs straight.

        Show some respect or sack your tools up and show us how it’s done. Leave the job to the professionals that trained for it

        • Lando,
          The worst thing that can happen here is for anyone to personalize this into a fight between individuals. It’s not.

          As I stated earlier, I don’t think that anyone is disparaging the work that Utility professionals do daily. Rather, it was the naked selfishness of the Union (the IBEW, in this case) dismissing help from other pro’s whose only sin was that they weren’t Unionized.

          Personally, I have great respect for anyone who does their profession at a high level: plumber, dentist, electrician, etc.,..
          Additionally, when there’s a storm, anyone with a brain knows that the crews are working round-the-clock to get the system back online, and those efforts are sincerely appreciated.

          It’s because of that appreciation that the actions of the IBEW are so galling. New Jersey needs help, and the crews can’t be everywhere at once. It stands to reason that other professionals offering their assistance would/should be greeted with open arms.

          The IBEW itself (separate from its membership) had a chance to be seen as reasonable and focused on the public good. It could have been a huge PR ‘win’ for them.
          Unfortunately, they punted that opportunity.

        • i am sorry that you have to deal with a******s that would cut your locks and pull your tags. if that happened to me there would be a fight. i meant no disrespect to you and yours.

          all i was saying is that it sounds like you could have used some help out there and its a shame to have turned PEOPLE WANTING TO HELP away. you’re working long shifts and i’m sure that labor would have help you. i wish all of you well out there.

          as for me i will stay here in AZ. UNION AND NON UNION WORKING TOGETHER.

    • For you to imply that only union people are qualified is a joke. Workers in the south have worked on more of these type storms than you can count.
      We’ve seen how the union thinks, throwing their vote for o-bama. You reap what you sow.

  5. livinrightinpgh

    Remember THIS beauty of a story from 2009?…..

    “At last week’s City Council meeting in Allentown, Pa., a top official of the local Service Employees International Union chapter ranted about 17-year-old Scout Kevin Anderson’s park-cleanup work. To earn an Eagle Scout badge, Anderson devoted some 200 hours to picking up trash and helping clear a 1,000-foot walking path with fellow members of Boy Scouts Troop 301 of Center Valley. But SEIU’s Nick Balzano gave them hell instead of thanks. He asserted that “there is [sic] to be no volunteers” since his union members were laid off. He then issued a witch-hunt threat: “We’ll also be looking into the Cub Scout or Boy Scout who did the trails. We may file another grievance on that.” Citing union rules, he gave the City Council, the Scouts and all potential volunteers an iron ultimatum: “None of them can pick up a hoe. They can’t pick up a shovel. They can’t plant a flower. They can’t clear a bicycle path. They can’t do anything. Our people do that.”

    CLEARLY, ONLY a “Union trained worker” is qualified to pick up trash, or do any sort of beautification efforts in a public park……

    BTW: the Union attempted to sue for the “lost wages” that its members would have earned from doing the same clean-up work…..

    Forgive me if I don’t buy into the “these guys from Alabama aren’t qualified to help”. I grew up in the south, where unions didn’t have a stranglehold. While anecdotal, I can tell you that MANY of the folks I knew who worked in what would have been unionized positions in the North/Northeast were individuals who left the unions and moved south to ESCAPE the union BS they dealt with on a daily basis.

  6. This show of cronyism,elitism and union mindset is the worst I have ever seen..On one hand you have people complaining wheres the goverment on the other side only union need apply..Only in the Northeast can stupidity like this exist!!!!

    • Sadly, stupidity exists everywhere.

      However, having been raised in the Northeast, I’ll agree that Liberal ideology DOES seem to take precedence over common sense more in the Northeast (and in California) than almost anywhere else.

      Thanks for the comment, Joe!

  7. Amen brother! As an engineer who has worked in manufacturing for over 20 years, I have seen the roadblocks that Union labor presents to business and progress. They are outdated and need to be busted.

    There is a reason companies are moving to Right To Work states, like mine in South Carolina, and eventually the rest of America will understand this. Scott Walker started a movement in Wisconsin that is spreading.

  8. This is a situation that’s gotten unions in trouble and on the decline before. They do not reason with common sense, it’s all about me, me, me. If you don’t see it the union way get ready for the fight.

    And by the way, I’ve had every type of work done, plumbing, electrical, construction, by private companies and always done by state and federal codes. If there were IBEW people caught in the storm, too bad, you don’t need help, do it yourself and make sure you get all of your breaks and take your lunch break.

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