Assault on Electrical Industry

There will be 3 bills heard in the Senate Jobs Committee on Wednesday March 21 at 1 PM in Room 1150 of the Minnesota Senate Building that will directly affect the electrical industry in a bad way.

The IBEW opposes these bills.

These bills are detrimental to the electrical industry and are an attack on our license, the employer/employee relationship, the proper supervision of electrical work, the training of Apprentices for a career in the industry and an assault on our jobs, way of life and the means to provide for our families.

SF 2044/ hf 2320 would allow the use of temporary agencies to provide employees and allow the borrowing/loaning of employees among electrical contractors, illegal under current law.

This bill changes the relationship between the Contractor, Journeywireperson and Apprentice. This affects the hierarchy of supervision and is detrimental to the proper training of apprentices in the electrical industry. This bill may be represented as helping the electrical worker. Make no mistake this is a proposal to help the Electrical Contractor at the expense of any benefit to the worker.

This proposal would also put the consumer in a bad situation by undermining a clear connection of liability by allowing someone to perform electrical work that is not employed by the contractor pulling the permit for the project. In the event of an accident or hazardous installation, the consumer may be left with a unclear path towards recovery of correction or restitution of loss.

SF 1927/ hf 2310 would add an unnecessary exception to the MNDOLI registration requirement of unlicensed electrical workers.

This bill is the result of a one off situation in which an individual working for a contractor as an Apprentice did not register as an unlicensed electrical worker with MNDOLI. This legislation allows for an exception for an individual to take the journeyperson test if his hours have been worked with one contractor his entire unlicensed career.

This legislation, if passed could have a detrimental effect on anyone else working in the industry who may find themselves unemployed after being told they wouldn’t need to register because they’ll be with that employer for the full duration.

Registration is designed to provide accountability within the industry and to protect the Apprentice who is interested in furthering a career in the electrical industry thus making their hours of supervision towards licensure remain documented.

This legislation is unnecessary. Registration of an unlicensed person is an easy thing to do. It has been an industry standard for many years. This proposal is an attempt to fix one situation that would create very bad situation for the rest of those working in the industry accumulating hours towards the licensure test.

SF 3483/hf 3904 would change Apprenticeship ratios on solar projects from 2:1 to 5:1.

This bill would be detrimental to the proper supervision and training of individuals working to have a career in the electrical industry.

The result of improper supervision is an unsafe, potentially risk filled electrical installation. Dangerous voltages exists with the installation of solar arrays. Assembled improperly or connected to the grid improperly could result in serious risk to the installer or the line worker working on an adjacent power line and create a fire and/or electrical hazard to the general public.

MNDOLI has made an interpretation in 2009 that in accordance with the National Electrical Code solar installations are considered electrical work and therefore follow the Minnesota Electrical Act and the supervision ratios spelled out within. We support that interpretation. The IBEW supports a 2:1 ratio because it provides for the proper supervision and training of individuals in the electrical industry and better assures a safe and hazard free installation.

With the incentives and mandates provided for the benefit of the solar industry in Minnesota, the residents of Minnesota should be assured that these incentives will be used not only to promote an emphasis on renewable energy but also a strong economy by creating good jobs and promoting careers in a high skilled licensed trade. This legislation promotes just the opposite, it seeks to create a wage cheap workforce of individuals with no regard to a career in the electrical industry beyond racking solar panels.

These bills, if they were to become law, would be bad for electrical workers and those who aspire to work in the electrical industry. These proposals would also create unfair competition between safe contractors and bad actors in the industry. Finally, these proposals would put the consumer at risk by diminishing the proper supervision, the proper training and the clear liability afforded in the law today.

Please OPPOSE this assault on the electrical industry and consumer protections please oppose these bills:

SF 2044/ hf 2320

SF 1927/ hf 2310

SF 3483/ hf 3904

If you would like to discuss these bills further, please contact IBEW MN State Council Legislative Director Andy Snope. 612-810-2781 or andy@andysnope.com