July/August 2004 IBEW Journal
The IBEW is proud to announce, effective June 15, 2004, the appointment of Elizabeth H. Shuler as Executive Assistant to the International President. The appointment makes her one of the highest ranking women in the organization's history.
For the past six years, Sister Shuler has served as International Representative in the IBEW's Political/Legislative Affairs Department, where she has lobbied for the Brotherhood on numerous issues and helped implement the IBEW's political program.
As Executive Assistant to the International President, Shuler will be overseeing nine departments at the International Office: Education and Research, Political/Legislative Affairs, Utility, Manufacturing, Telecommunications, Broadcast, Government, Human Services and Journal and Media.
A graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, Sister Shuler was a Democratic Party activist in college. She worked summer clerical jobs at Portland General Electric, where her father, a Local 125 member, works as a lineman and her mother as an estimator in service and design. Sister Shuler was initiated into IBEW Local 125 in Portland, Oregon, in 1993, where she was the local's political/legislative director until 1998. For several legislative sessions, she led the local's effort at the state capital to prevent the passage of electricity deregulation in Oregon. She built successful coalitions with allied organizations, even against powerful interests such as Enron. During that time, she traveled across the local's multi-state jurisdiction conducting Construction Organizing Membership Education and Training (COMET) and Membership Education and Mobilization for Organizing (MEMO) courses. Sister Shuler also served as Local 125 press secretary and on the safety committee.
She was appointed by the governor to serve on the state Labor-Management Advisory Committee on Workers' Compensation. She was also a delegate to the Northwest Oregon Central Labor Council.
In 1998, Sister Shuler was assigned by then-International President J. J. Barry to coordinate the IBEW's ground mobilization effort to battle the Proposition 226 "paycheck deception" campaign in California.
Later that year, she was appointed International Representative and moved to Washington, D.C. In that job, she used her background and experience as a political organizer with a knack for policy detail and legislative procedure to lobby on issues such as energy and electricity, Davis-Bacon, health care, transportation, apprenticeship and training, unemployment and telecommunications. She credits the strong voice of the IBEW with preventing the passage of the energy bill.
Because the success or failure of a lobbyist depends in large part on the power of the party in control on the Hill, her tenacity has been notable in a Republican-controlled Congress.
She is active with Women in the Trades and is a member of the board of the Women's Campaign Fund, a bipartisan fundraising organization that aims to boost the number of women holding public office. For several years Sister Shuler has volunteered with the International Women's Democracy Center, a mentoring program that encourages women to run for office and seek change in countries overseas.
After a long IBEW career that included directorships of two International Office departments, Brother James L. Dushaw retired on July 1, 2004.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brother Dushaw was initiated into Local 149 as a clerical worker at Dusquesne Power and Light Co. A few years later, he joined Local 148 to begin a career as a lineman. He served in numerous positions with Local Union 148 and with System Council U-10 (now Local 29) from shop steward to local union Executive Committee, vice president and safety committee chairman.
Fatal accidents involving co-workers stirred Dushaw to a lifetime commitment to improving safety conditions for utility workers. He played a leading role in winning legislation in Pennsylvania effectively prohibiting electric utility employers from deploying what was considered in 1975 to be experimental higher voltage work methods. Dushaw says: "Key employers declined to negotiate or cooperate with the union in resolving legitimate safety questions. We united all unions in the state, and unorganized folks too, to lobby for electrical line worker safety legislation."
In 1979, International President Charles H. Pillard appointed Dushaw an International Representative and assigned him to the Utility Department in the International Office. Dushaw was responsible for developing extensive surveys of utility industry labor agreements, working conditions and occupational safety. He conducted numerous workshops on those topics and served on the American National Standards Institute Electric Safety Code Committee and several other national standards bodies. He also contributed to the development of progressive policy as the IBEW's representative to the Americans for Energy Independence and the National Environmental Development Association.
In 1989, International President J.J. Barry appointed Dushaw to the position of Director of the IBEW Safety and Health Department. Dushaw represented the IBEW in deliberations to develop technically substantiated OSHA standards on the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. He states: "The IBEW made a difference by bringing practical expertise and legitimate concerns to the table." During his directorship the IBEW also initiated an investigation by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) into chemical exposure of workers at Westinghouse manufacturing plants.
In 1993, at the outset of the turmoil created by the 1992 Energy Policy Act that launched the deregulation storm, he was appointed Director of the IBEW Utility Department. Dushaw says: "It was a time of perhaps the greatest challenge for IBEW utility members. We looked at the experience of other industries that faced deregulation- trucking, airlines, telecommunications-to set a course for how we would be affected." He is proud that the proactive stance of the IBEW minimized the damage and disruption that deregulation threatened.
Looking forward to "doing whatever I want to do," including traveling and developing his digital imaging and gardening hobbies, Dushaw says that he will maintain a strong interest in current events.
The entire Brotherhood congratulates Brother Dushaw on his well-deserved retirement and wishes him good health and happiness.
The IBEW is pleased to announce the July 1, 2004, appointment of James L. Hunter as Director of the IBEW Utility Department.
Brother Hunter, a native of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, began work at Pepco, a utility company serving the Washington, D.C. area, in 1973 as a member of an independent union.
In 1979 Hunter, a substation relay technician, joined the successful IBEW organizing drive to replace the independent union at Pepco. He became active in newly chartered Local 1900, serving as a steward, then chief steward, e-board member and on several negotiating committees.
In 1994, he was elected to the office of business manager/president/ financial secretary of Local 1900.
Brother Hunter's service to Local 1900 and the IBEW drew national attention in 1996 when he led the union's efforts to derail a proposed merger between Pepco and the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE). The union was deeply concerned that a merger with BGE, a virulently anti-union utility, would be a bad deal for IBEW members, for workers at BGE-where the union had an active organizing drive-and for the rate-payers.
When the Maryland Public Service Commission gave tentative approval to the merger, Local 1900 filed a suit in Baltimore County Circuit Court contending that the merger was not in the public interest, that it would be detrimental to the reliability and safety of the delivery systems and not guarantee savings to consumers. Undeterred by an unfavorable decision by the Circuit Court, the local appealed the decision to a higher court. In 1998 the two utility giants announced that they were dropping merger plans. The IBEW's challenge was an important factor in their decision.
Brother Hunter was appointed by former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening to the Maryland Energy Task Force. Former IBEW President J.J. Barry appointed Hunter to the Electric Restructuring Committee and, in 2002, President Edwin D. Hill named him as an International Representative.
Hunter looks forward to serving the IBEW in his new position. He says: "We need to figure out ways to work together with the companies to get funding for new training and apprentice programs. The utilities must start hiring now. We also need to push forward on the legislative side on reliability and safety issues."