Letters to the Editor

Valley Electric board, management and staff get a big “job well done” for the electric service provided during the past heat wave.

Our valley had no outages or brown-outs with all our air conditioners running at full power for a long period of time.

You folks were ready for the big demand and met the challenge. Thank you for being prepared and for us keeping our cool.

Jim Groneemann

It’s not so much the money as the principle of the thing

As a 22-year resident of Pahrump and a journeyman lineman member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 396, I read with great interest the article in the July 3 edition of the PVT titled “Vote to organize …” I have some knowledge of the events surrounding the organizing effort, the election and some of the people involved.

The first thing to remember is that the linemen at Valley Electric Association approached for IBEW for representation — not the other way around. The linemen are paid comparably to union linemen in Southern Nevada. Why would such well-paid craftsmen need or want the help of a trade union? They are not lazy or greedy. My guess is they are the same as me (and you).

We all deserve a safe workplace and a voice in safety policy. Line work is always one of the most dangerous occupations. We want and deserve to be treated fairly. We need a grievance procedure that allows our complaints and concerns to be voiced without retribution. If a worker is wrong, okay, but treat him fairly and hear his side.

You may think this is trivial, but men and women have risked a job they love for this principle.

Next, the assertion that VEA has not taken action to discourage union organizing activities is blatantly false.

Legal settlements aside, every lineman I have spoken with has discussed threats and harrassments leading up to the vote. Clearly some worked.

Less people voted for union recognition than orginally signed cards requesting it. A common strategy to influence an election is to add people to the roster who see themselves more as management. If dispatchers and clerical workers do not want to be union, I fully respect that, but the portion of the labor force who want representation should get it.

I have interviewed employees discharged from VEA. I have spoken with IBEW linemen who worked with VEA linemen. I have seen employees at work. The linemen at Valley Electric have earned the respect of the members of Local 396 and the many union members of all crafts in our valley. We offer our support and hope that all VEA employees have a safe, fair and harassment-free workplace.

Robert Gang

IBEW #396

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