False Reports Could Hurt Storm Recovery

Monday, November 12, 2012

In an Nov. 5, opinion piece on the chattanoogan.com, Roy Exum wrote:

"… I would be livid over the reports that some emergency utility trucks – eager to help – were turned away at a staging area in Virginia because the crews were non-union workers. …"

I would also be livid, if the reports were true, but they are not.

I grew up in Jersey City, NJ, and all the places effected by the recent storm are well known to me. As a young boy I often visited my grandmother's house in Seaside Heights, where the trucks in question were bound, according to a Decatur Utilities press release.

It troubles me to see false reports circulated that only serve to detract from the recovery effort and score bogus political points.

"[A] spokesman for Jersey Central power and Light, which serves Seaside Heights, said non-union crews are helping restore power, …"

"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the Alabama crew got 'bad information' and non-union crews are welcomed in the recovery effort."

"The documents that supposedly required Decatur Utilities workers to agree to union affiliation actually came from Electric Cities of Alabama [a coalition of Alabama's municipally owned electric utilities], not the IBEW."

"Representatives from two other Alabama utility companies that were reportedly turned way from New Jersey said such reports were not true."

"New Jersey utility companies said they were accepting all offers of help, regardless of union status."

Information is provided on snopes.com to fully support each of the statements quoted above. I wish Roy Exum had been a little skeptical of these reports, as I was. It would have only taken a few minutes to do a simple search on snopes.com and learn the truth.

I have no connections with the IBEW or any other labor union.

Joseph J. Blass

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