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The History of Labor Day

Posted September 3, 2010 By Ms Sparky

1932 Rockefeller Center Construction: New York City

Another 3-day weekend is upon us and many families are packing and heading to the coast (well maybe not to the East Coast), the mountains and the lakes. BBQ’s are warming up and the beer is chilling! It’s the last big get-a-way of the summer season. There will be shopping extravaganza’s, parades, picnics and celebrations to honor the American worker.

Weekends, paid Holidays, medical insurance and retirement benefits were all fought for by those first American workers.  Keep in mind virtually every safety regulation was written in the blood of an injured or killed American worker. It is the American worker has created so much of our nation’s strength and prosperity and our working conditions and wages are the envy of the world.

Be thankful to those brave men and women who fought and the many who died for the laws and conditions you have today.  Show your appreciation by flying the US Flag. Click HERE if you have forgotten how to do that correctly.

I am proud to say I am a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The IBEW has provided me with an outstanding education, continued training, a marketable skill and a great work ethic. My work has provided my family with insurance and a comfortable life for over 30 years. For that, I thank all those who came before me.

For all the soldiers and civilians serving overseas, thank you for serving and have a great Labor Day holiday. For everyone else…I plan to be out and about with my family so PLEASE don’t drink and drive! ~ Ms Sparky

Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means Read the remainder of this entry »

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rapeI just received this email from a reader. I have not verified the authenticity of the original email (my disclaimer) but it appears to be authentic. (UPDATE-I have received a copy of the original email with the header info and I have updated below.) I have also not been able to verify the date of the rape, but am deducing it occurred on Nov 30, 2009. (UPDATE-The date in fact was Nov 30, 2009 and the time was approx 10-11 am) In an effort to help you understand this email, I have described the acronyms used in parentheses. A Life Support Area (LSA) is a collection of living quarters consisting of buildings, tents, or trailers (CHU’s)Other than that, I have made no changes to the email.

As you read this keep in mind this is not the first brutal rape that has occurred in Iraq.

Subject: Rape of a KBR female at JBB (UNCLASSIFIED)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Some of you may have already heard about a report of a rape occurring 1100 Monday at JBB (Joint Base Balad-Balad, Iraq), in the KBR LSA (Life Support Area).  This is particularly disturbing in that it happened in broad daylight, to an employee sleeping in her CHU (Containerized Housing Unit-trailer) after pulling night shift duty, possibly assailed by a maintenance worker that might have had a key to the CHU.

Some conjecture, but I’m painting a picture for us to be careful towards. The victim is in intensive care, face badly beaten, and arm possibly broken.

Please pass this to all J7 members through your own methods, and to the dangers even in broad daylight, and possibly by those having access to our CHUs.  Though at JBB, VBC (Camp Victory) reportedly has between 8-20 sexual assaults per week…What might not be known is that statistically, 70-80% of these assaults are by an EODT (EOD Technologies) or KBR member, so stats are stats, please be aware of what to look out for.

SGM (Sergeant Major)-  Let’s please talk tomorrow about buddy rules for females and actually all Servicemembers, Government Civilians and contractors.  Thanks…



DSN 485-2058
SVOIP 242-0193
AKO:  jeffrey.s.king@us.army.mil
SIPR:  jeffrey.s.king@iraq.centcom.smil.mil
AKO-S:  jeffrey.s.king@us.army.smil.mil

—–Original Message—–
From: Guy LaBoa [mailto:Guy.LaBoa@kbr.com]
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 3:32 PM
To: (Removed for Privacy of Recipients)
Subject: Rape of a KBR female at approximately 1100hrs 30Nov2009 at JBB


For all:

At approximately 1100hrs, Roger Singleton the acting PM (Project Manager) for JBB called with a report of a Sexual Assault (Rape) of a Female KBR Expat in the KBR LSA at JBB. The employee was in her Chu a sleep.  She works the night shift in the HQ (Headquarters) operations cell. The employee was severely injured; her face was very badly beaten and may have a broken arm. She has worked with KBR 14months. She is currently in the hospital at JBB in intensive care. She has stated she did not know how the individual got into her room but she did not open the door. Apparently, on Thursday, a man knocked on her door and posed as a tradesman inspecting the Chu, she questions why he was there but did not report the incident. This lead is being follow up.

CID (Army Criminal Investigation Command) and Base Military Command have been notified. The appropriate actions for lock down and control of all personnel leaving the base have been taken. A 100% accountability check of our personnel with eyes on each person is complete  The SCW (subcontract workers) subcontractors have been notified and are conducting a 100% accountability check .  The victim has reported that she did scratch and bite the assailant.  Some evidence has been recovered which may help identify the assailant who she has described a light skinned Indian male.

Roger Singleton acting PM is taking actions to ensure that all our female personnel are properly protected as they return to the Chu’s tonight and as them move around the base until this incident is closed and the assailant is caught.



Guy LaBoa
Principal Program Manager
Victory #43382
APO, AE 09344
Office: 281-669-5600
DSN:  485-3697

When I hear about a rape in Iraq I think of Jamie Leigh Jones, LaVena Johnsen or Tina Priest. But there are so many more.

If you have any information regarding this crime please come forward. I would also like the original of this email forwarded to me with date stamps and names.

Ms Sparky

IBEW Loses Sister Katharina (Kat) Engnell

Posted November 28, 2008 By Ms Sparky

The IBEW loses Sister Katharina (Kat) Engnell, a licensed journeyman electrician from Local 46 in Seattle, Washington. Engell was electrocuted and died on the job on November 20, 2008 at the Saint Gobain glass plant.

Kat Engnell was an amazing woman. Originally from the South, Kat moved to Seattle after receiving her Masters Degree in Fine Arts. She bought a beautiful home in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood and then decided to become an electrician. She started attending the PSEJATC Apprenticeship program in 2000.

Kat was a most humble, hard working, serious electrician. Diversity and full inclusion in the electrical industry were passions of hers. The fact that a scholarship for those seeking to become Union Trades people is being funded in her name testifies to that. If you would like to donate, please make checks or money orders payable to the Katharina Engnell Memorial Schollarship Fund, Account 471001014441 at Key Bank.

Her interests included kayaking, raising hens, collecting antiques, creating and teaching art, politics, unionism, and rocking out to hippy music. If there was a party, Kat was there having a good time. She was a fantastic mechanic, intellectual, and a bohemian all in one. All who knew her can say that her kindness and generosity were boundless. She will be missed but will live on in the memories and stories of her, and in the kindness and care we show to each other in this truly dangerous field.

There is a memorial at the job site and a memorial service will be held at the IBEW Local 46 Hall in Kent, Washington on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.

For me, the loss of any worker on the job is tragic. But the loss of an electrician is personal.

My personal condolences to Kat’s friends and family. My thanks to Nicole Grant for this information.

Ms Sparky
IBEW Local 48
Portland, Oregon

Update: The following info was taken from IBEW Local 46 website.
This item was posted on the IBEW Local 46 web site
http://www.ibew46.com/kat.html :

IBEW Local 46 Electrician, Kat Engnell, was killed at work, Thursday,
November 20, 2008, during the day shift at the Saint Gobain glass plant. Kat
was up on a metal platform, like a catwalk, doing lighting maintenance. It
is normal to work on equipment up there while it is still ‘hot’,
unfortunately, while Kat was changing out a 500W 120V fixture, after making
sure that the ground and neutrals had both been made up, she was
electrocuted and died. She was found by a Local 46 Brother working on sight
who stayed with her body until the fire crew got her down and took her away.

The following comment was left via email by a Safety professional:

I suspect that she was not wearing rubber insulating gloves, considered by
most electricians as unnecessary and too cumbersome for this type of low
voltage work.

According to 1910 subpart S
1910.333(a)(1) “Live parts to which an employee may be exposed shall be
deenergized before the employee works on or near them….” (does not apply to
circuits of 50 volts or less)
1910.333(a)(2) “If the exposed live parts are not deenergized (i.e., for
reasons of increased or additional hazards or infeasability) other
safety-related work practices shall be employed …”
1910.335(a)(1)(i) Employees working in areas where there are potential
electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical
protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body
to be protected and for the work to be performed.

NFPA 70E 2009 – Table 130.7(C)(9)
Panelboards or other equipment rated 240 volts and below
Work on energized electrical conductors or circuit parts, including voltage
testing requires the use of Rubber Insulating gloves and Insulated or
Insulating Tools.

Iraq Electrical Wiring Method Quiz #2

Posted September 5, 2008 By Ms Sparky

Read the remainder of this entry »

IBEW Member And Mother of Soldiers Shares Concerns

Posted August 28, 2008 By Ms Sparky

The “Electrical Worker” a monthly publication of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) recently published an article spotlighting IBEW member Marijane Green, mother if two active duty Marines. This mother is seriously concerned about the safety of her sons. You can read this article entitled “Troops Endangered By Shoddy Electrical Work” by clicking HERE page 2.

Another noteworthy article in this publication is the one entitled “A National Disgrace” by IBEW International Secretary-Treasurer Lindell K. Lee. Click HERE to read it page 14.

Although the unions do not have jurisdiction outside the US and Canada we have a moral and ethical obligation to put a stop to the unsafe work practices that are putting our American Soldiers and workers at risk. To put a stop to the harassment, the threats, the intimidation tactics. Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but ANY project funded by US tax dollars.

I have said it before and I will say it until it’s a law….”US Citizens working on US Government funded projects overseas should be afforded the same protections (OSHA and labor laws) as their co-workers in the US.” For example..New Embassy projects, new Consulates and military facilities…just to name a few. If it’s important enough to employ an American and in many cases an American with a clearance, then it’s important enough to give them OHSA and labor law protection.

Ms Sparky