Skilled to Work: NECA and IBEW working hand-in-hand in the Quad Cities electrical industry

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- This summer East Moline cut the ribbon at The Bend Event Center, one of several new businesses under development in the district. NECA and IBEW leaders met at the nearby Hyatt Hotel to talk about the electrical industry in the Quad Cities, even as union electricians could still be seen hard at work putting in the last few fixtures at the event center.

"Seeing the finished product is amazing," said Cory Bergfeld, business manager at IBEW, which stands for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

"It's a wonderful feeling when you walk into the lobby and you can see the craftsmanship that goes into it," said Alan Anderson, the executive director of the Quad Cities' NECA, or National Electrical Contractors Association.

Members of the two partner organizations met for a joint labor-management meeting to discuss how to grow their market share, safety on the job and other topics that matter to both union contractors and workers.

NECA represents the contractors; IBEW represents the labor side.

While the new hotel and event center look pristine, they are surrounded by ongoing construction. It's hard work, but Bergfeld said the pay, benefits, and retirement are "phenomenal." The union also provides a five-year apprenticeship, with education both in the classroom and in the field.

"You know we're one of the first crafts in for the dirt work, and then we get to see it from the ground to finish. We're the first in and the last out," said Bergfeld.

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