Tim Frew reelected at IBEW 280


Members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 280 re-elected Tim Frew as business manager in a June 1 union election. Frew received 180 votes, outpolling challengers Tim Nicol (70) and Bob Sapp (18).

Tim Frew

Headquartered near Albany, Local 280 represents 1,125 electricians in construction and sound and communications in nine counties in Central Oregon and the Southern Willamette Valley. Business manager, a full-time job, is responsible for overseeing the local’s five-person staff.

For his second three-year term, Frew, 54, said he’ll be focused on getting members back to work. Right now, of the local’s 928 journeyman inside wiremen, about 260 on are on the out-of-work list. Many members have traveled to other local jurisdictions to find work, shacking up together in the Portland area, for example, to work at Intel, or fanning across Oregon to work on substation and transmission line upgrades.

Right now, the biggest local job is the Facebook data center going up in Prineville, where up to 110 members are currently employed. Frew is hopeful other data centers will follow. Apple purchased 160 acres across the street from the Facebook site, and is likely to be next. Central Oregon is a prime location for data centers because of cheap land and electricity and because its dry and cool climate cuts down the expense of cooling.

As business manager, Frew touts the benefits of unionization, to workers and contractors. One selling point, he says, is the collaborative relationship Local 280 has developed with NECA, the union electrical contractor employer group. Frew said he emphasizes the partnership role, and helps contractors find work. Plus, access to the union hiring hall lets contractors staff up quickly when they get work on large-scale projects. And many Local 280 members are trained in solar installation, through the local’s NECA-partnered training center. Besides data centers, Frew said the local looks to solar arrays, electric vehicle charging stations, and a proposed hydroelectric dam on the Crooked River as sources of future work.

Frew also serves on the Executive Board of the Oregon AFL-CIO, on the Oregon Electrical and Elevator Board, and on the Construction Industry Energy Board.

Local 280 members also elected officers, all of whom ran unopposed: John Close, president; Jeremy Bate, vice president; Larry Fisher, recording secretary; Timothy Miller, treasurer; and Julie Emmett and Matt Forsberg, Executive Board members at large. The elections of Bate and Forsberg, Frew said, are a success for the local’s efforts to involve younger members: Their election took place 10 days after they became journeymen.

Five candidates vied for seats on the local’s three-member Examining Board, which reviews applicants for membership. The top three vote-getters were Mike Eastland, Travis Johnson, and Jeremy Kroon.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more