Absentee Voting


Let’s address all this talk about absentee voting. We have been hearing conflicting information about the legitimacy of mail-in voting. Is it safe? Will your vote get counted? Is it fraught with fraud? Well, consider this – in the state of Minnesota absentee voting is a well-established process that we have had in place for years with no significant problems. Additionally, for many years absentee voting has allowed our veterans overseas to vote in elections in their home states. It has also been available and utilized by people having to be away from home, working or vacationing, in another state at the time of an election, and finally some jurisdictions in Minnesota hold elections by mail only instead of voting at polling places for some time now. Bottom line, it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s what you’d call a “tried and true” method of voting. If you fill out the request form online or by mail, you’ll receive an absentee ballot. Follow the directions on the ballot and then mail it in. Simple. Do that, and your vote will count.

There are many benefits to doing absentee voting. One of the significant advantages is that it removes you from most DFL or GOP ‘door knock’ and phone lists. It also means you won’t have to worry about where you will be working the day of the election. It can be a hassle having to drive back to your local polling place to vote, with mail-in voting you won’t have that worry. With COVID-19 concerns still prevalent, it is also potentially safer to vote by mail, than to stand in line at a polling place.

Interestingly, absentee voting also allows you to change your mind before October 23rd. If you’ve voted by mail before that date, you can request your ballot be destroyed and you can still go vote in person on the day of the election. If you’re still undecided before then, you can also hold on to the ballot until November 2nd

During a time of much uncertainty and enhanced safety concerns, it is good to know you have options to make your vote count. If you have any questions or need help with anything, please reach out to me by email – justinp@ibewlocal343.org or call 507-577-1109.

Temporary Book Signing Policy

With the Stay at Home order taking effect tonight and lasting until April 10th, local 343 will be closing the lobby starting Monday, March 30. and remaining closed until the stay home order is lifted by the Governor. In doing so, 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

Absentee Ballots

With the state primary coming up on August 11, it is not too late to apply for an absentee ballot by mail. It’s a straightforward online form that you can fill out to have one sent to you https://mnvotes.sos.state.mn.us/ABRegistration/ABRegistrationStep1.aspx when you receive the ballot it must be completed and postmarked no later than August 11 to valid. At the same time, you can also request the general election ballot where the same rules apply, which will come later. If you need any help filling out the form or have any question, please reach out to me by email justinp@ibewlocal343.org or by calling me at (507)577-1109


The IBEW International office is wanting to know if any of our members are Delegates to the Democratic National Convention coming up August 17 through August 20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you are, please reach out to me by email Justinp@ibewlocal343.org or call (507)577-1109, and I can relay the info to the International.

Political Signs

For anyone interested in a Dan Feehan yard signs small 18 “x24” and medium 2’x4′ please fill out this form dan4mn.us/lawnsigns they will coordinate the drop-off to you. If you’re interested in a larger sign, you can reach out to me, and I can put you on the list for an order. Also, we have received more Joe Biden IBEW signs at the hall, and you can call the hall and request a sign to be picked up. If you’re looking for any other signs, please reach out to me, and I can get you more info. (507)577-1109

Riverland Construction Electrician Lab Assistant

Riverland Community College is looking to hire a part-time seasonal position for a Laboratory Assistant for the Electrician Construction program in Albert Lea. All the information can be found on the link below.

Riverland Electrical Vacancy Posting July 6, 2020

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.



Protected: Wage Rates

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Wage Allocation Results

The results for the wage allocation were finalized today by John Swanson, as Head Teller, and the Executive Board as Tellers. A big thank you to everyone that returned your ballot. This was a considerable turn out for a wage allocation vote. Thank you again.

482 ballots returned
1 ballot was in the arrears
1 spoiled ballot
480 total ballots counted

Votes for option #1   126 
Votes for option #2    69 
Votes for option #3  285  

The new wage rates have been calculated and are in the process of being verified that all calculations are correct. Once verified, the new wage rates will be sent out to all members and contractors.

If you have any questions contact your union rep for more information.

Chad Katzung
Business Manager