Date Posted

To the Supervision, Journeymen, Journeywomen, Apprentices, MIJs and M-helpers of Zwicker Electric Co.:
I write this letter of thanks for the experiences I gained this summer as a summer helper employed by Zwicker Electrical Co-Inc. My employment has been a very educational and eye-opening experience for me into the world of the construction trades and adulthood. I am appreciative of my co-workers and å_supervisors (especially my foreman Abdul) for welcoming me into their company, for treating me with respect and for ensuring my safety while on the jobsite. Never before having held a construction job, I was unfamiliar with what occurred on a construction site. I had never realized how complex, expensive and chaotic construction projects in New York City are. My co-workers showed me how to navigate the project, ride the enthralling outside hoist over the streets of Manhattan and introduced me to the coordination efforts (or lack of coordination) of all the different shops, trades and labor unions that make a project the size of Hudson Yards possible. They taught me some of the basics of electrical work such as the difference between EMT and galvanized pipe, the necessity of ground tails in the installation of receptacles, how to use a cyclone bender and how to distinguish between high voltage and low voltage wiring. Having minimal understanding of what to even expect and no prior training, I received strictly hands on instruction on a few of many different tasks that union electricians are asked to perform on a regular basis. Journeymen were happy and eager to teach me bits and pieces about their jobs and share with me their knowledge of the trade, of the union and their life stories. I witnessed much camaraderie and brotherhood among the union members. Whether it be having a friendly conversation with a partner while they were up on a ladder, witnessing a journeyman buy tools for a young apprentice, partaking in a collection for an injured union brother, or sitting next to a forman at lunch. It was apparent that all the union members look after each other and strive to ensure that the union remains strong. There certainly is a very social and personal side to this business. Not only did I learn the names of almost all the mechanics from Zwicker, I became familiar with men of almost all the trades and acquired a better understanding of the jobs that they do.
After being on a large scale project and especially after spending long overtime hours helping to complete a deck, I have a new found respect for my uncle and my father, two IBEW journeymen and their line of work. I saw how physically strenuous and tiring the job may be and how dramatic it may get at times. I can admit that getting up every morning at 4 o’clock after a long day was a struggle. Sometimes I was so tired from working the day before that I wished I could just stay home. My father and uncle’s world became my world and I learned how difficult their profession is. I greatly value that I was able to see and experience what has been their routine for over thirty years. One mechanic that I worked alongside with on several wire pulls had even been a partner of my father’s several years ago. I respect my father and uncle a lot more after seeing and facing some of the challenges that they face every day.
I had plenty of fun joking around with the members of my crew, learning about their personal lives and memorizing exactly how each person likes their coffee. The foremen working (sitting around) in Sean’s shanty would always brighten my day with their humor and frivolous bickering and it was always a relief to go up there to grab necessary materials for the electricians to complete their tasks. I worked alongside union men and women of various backgrounds, races, creeds, interests and ages and the diversity in conversations that I had helped me to better see the world from the perspectives of others. I could go from working alongside someone old enough to be my grandfather and hearing them tell me about their plans for retirement to working with someone just starting an apprenticeship and hearing them tell me about their aspirations for their career in a matter of minutes. The union is genuinely an organization that united many different people to promote a general welfare. Working for Local 3 has taught me how integral unions are in ensuring the rights, benefits and fair treatment of employees. There is much to be said as to how the moral and caliber of unionized workers compares against non-union rats.
I am most greatful that I was able to spend a large chunk of my summer working at å_Hudson Yards. Even though I only played a small role in its construction, I can always look at the building and know that I played a role in its development. I’m proud to have been the third generation in my family to work for the IBEW and I look forward to seeing the building completed in a couple months now that I know all about what lies behind the scenes. This summer has truly been a memorable one and a large stepping-stone for me as I cross the threshold into adulthood. The skills and responsibility that I developed in my time as a Zwicker employee will remain with me my entire life and I will always be thankful to the men and women of Local 3 for giving me this experience.
Charles M. Matheson Fischer