Free Food Give Away!

IBEW Local 343 will be helping the Southeast Area Labor Council and Southeast Minnesota Building Trades with a free food give away, this Sat Feb 20th at the Operating Engineers office located at 1765 County Highway 16, Rochester, MN

Thirty-pound boxes of food will be given away to anyone free of charge. While supplies last.

Women in Apprenticeship Day

Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed Nov. 12, 2020, Women in Apprenticeship Day as part of Apprenticeship Week in Minnesota.



State of Minnesota Apprentice of the Day Travis Hawley

Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

Travis Hawley
Travis Hawley

Travis Hawley is an electrical apprentice with the South Central Minnesota Electrical JATC. After serving in the U.S. Air Force he took the advice of his father, also an IBEW Local 343 electrician, to pursue the trade via a registered apprenticeship program. Hawley is a strong advocate of the benefits of registered apprenticeship and encourages others to explore it as a pathway to a fulfilling career. His goals are to become a journeyworker electrician and to pursue a master electrical license and a bachelor’s degree in business administration.


Check out all the apprentices honored by the Department of Labor.


Temporary Book Signing Policy

In an effort to help stop the spread of COVID and help to keep the office staff safe, IBEW Local 343 office will be closed. We will not be allowing book signing and re-sign in person. Book signing will temporarily be done by email. Re-signs will be done on-line, fax or mail, not in person. New book signing directions and forms will be located in the pickup box by the front door. Resign forms can be found there as well. Once filled out, place them in the dropbox. The new book signing rules can be found in the link below. All daily activities will continue as usual.

If you have any questions feel free to call anytime.

Temporary Book Signing Policy

Notice of Vacancies for State Board of Electricity.

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State today released notice of vacancies for various state boards, councils and committees that are accepting applications. Minnesotans are encouraged to apply and serve in demonstration of public service. The newest vacancies are listed below, and the full list of 456 vacancies can be found on their website Open Positions.

Applications may be submitted online, and must be submitted within 21 days of the “Publish Date” listed on their Open Positions page, to be assured of full consideration by the appointing authority. Appointing authorities may choose to review applications received by the Secretary of State after the 21 day application period.

See their new instructions on HOW TO APPLY at the end of the message.


Below is a list of agencies with new vacancies.
Please visit their website for complete descriptions.

Board of Electricity
Vacancies: 1 Seat — Electrical Supplier In Rural Area
Vacancies: 1 Seat — Journeyworker Electrician
Vacancies: 1 Seat — Master Electrician – Contractor
Vacancies: 1 Seat — Power Limited Technician/Tech Sys Contractor
Vacancies: 1 Seat — Registered Consulting Electrical Engineer



Visit the Open Positions page.
Scroll down to find the correct Agency/Board/Council.
Choose the correct seat type, and click button that says APPLY
The system will walk you through creating an application profile.

Page 2 of the application will now allow you to attach the following documents:
• Letter of Interest
• Resume or Biography

Applicants are encouraged to use the online application as the Appointing Authority will have access to your information as soon as it is submitted.

Applications submitted via downloadable application may experience some delay in reaching the Appointing Authority.
Paper applications may be submitted by email to: Open Appointments or by mail or in person to:

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State
180 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155-1299

Minnesota Unemployment update

Minnesota is now approved by the federal government to participate in the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. LWA is a short-term emergency program. It will provide an additional $300 per week to most unemployed UI applicants due to COVID-19. States have the option to provide an additional $100/week benefit from their own Coronavirus Relief Fund. Minnesota has already allocated Coronavirus Relief Funds to critical public health initiatives and other measures to fight the pandemic.

To receive the LWA, you must be eligible for unemployment benefits for that week. Your weekly benefit amount for unemployment benefits must be at least $100, and you must be unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional $300 per week will not show on the “Payment Information” screen of your online unemployment account. The payment will be deposited to the bank account or debit card they have on file. If you use direct deposit, the additional $300 per week will show up as a separate transaction. If you are eligible for multiple weeks of the extra $300 per week, you will receive the amount in a lump sum.

Applicants don’t have to do anything extra to receive LWA payments. Just cotinine applying, they will review all the payment requests made for the week of July 26th going forward and automatically pay applicants eligible for LWA. The additional $300 per week benefit will be available until all federal funds are exhausted or until Congress passes a replacement program. Based on current projections, they expect that LWA payments will end in all states by the middle of September.

If you have any questions about anything, please reach out to me by phone (507)577-1109 or email

Executive Orders

President Trump signed several executive orders on Saturday. Workers earning less than $2,000 pre-tax dollars a week will have Social Security and Medicare taxes suspended. This will amount to 7.65% of your wages and will be in effect from September 1 – December 31, 2020. The president’s order also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to explore different avenues to eliminate the obligation to pay the suspended taxes, if nothing is agreed to the taxes will need to be paid back in full.


Another order may provide as much as $400 in enhanced unemployment benefits. For this to happen, each state must agree to enter a financial arrangement with the federal government for any unemployed person living there to receive additional benefits. The federal government would require states to pay for 25% (or $100) of the $400 each person may be able to receive weekly in additional aid. This benefit may not go into effect right away in Minnesota because an entirely new system to deliver the aid money would need to be established, which could take months.


Trump asked to renew the eviction moratorium what was in the CARES Act, to keep struggling Americans in their homes that initially expired on July 24, 2020, it would be extended until the end of the year. The last executive order relates to student loans held by the Department of Education and calls for the “temporary stop of payments and the waiver of all interest on student loans until December 31, 2020.”


Ultimately, the orders only come into effect once enforced. With democrats and Republicans still in negotiations, things could change quickly. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out by email or phone 507-577-1109.

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Update

With special session approaching and the uncertainty of anything being finalized before the end of the month, here are somethings we do know. The extra $600 on top of UI ends July 25 in Minnesota, even though the federal government has it set July 31. There is also a federal 13-week extension of UI that you can apply for once you have exhausted your original UI. This extension has an expiration date of June 26, 2021.


Many bills are going through the federal government that would add and extend benefits to UI. There is no guarantee anything will get passed this month. Although nothing has been finalized, there is talk that they are planning to take a month break in August, which may extend into September.


I will keep everyone informed of changes when they happen. If anyone has any questions, please reach out to me by email or phone.


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