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Electricians Digest
IBEW . . . . . . Creating Opportunities for Washington State Electrical Workers
December 04, 2021
Texas Recprocity De-values Washington State Electrical License
Posted On: Sep 10, 2008

Your State Journeyman’s License is not worth the ink that is smeared in your wallet

Your State Journeyman’s License Is Not Worth The Ink That Is Smeared In Your Wallet!


Recently, Ron Fuller, Chief Electrical Inspector for the State of Washington, acting on his own authority, gutted the integrity of the Journeyman Electrician license that many of you have worked so hard to earn.


Some of you might be thinking, “That’s a pretty strong statement, Greg; how do you back that up?”


What if I were to tell you that a trainee could legally work without ever being supervised by any journeyman, for 8000 hours for a residential electrical contractor, take a test, and become a licensed Washington State 01, Commercial Journeyman Electrician!?


You would probably say, “No way! That can’t be true! The Washington State legislature clearly wanted electricians to be trained by other journeymen. That’s why they put things like ‘one-to-one journeyman to trainee ratio’ and ‘limits on the amount of specialty work’ that trainee can apply to his commercial journeyman’s license in the RCW. The legislature wanted to protect the worker, the customer, and the public from untrained charlatans claiming to be electricians from installing shoddy electrical work.”


You might even say, “Greg, you’re a liar! Just last week a trainee I know was written up and had to pay a fine because he was working on a job by himself without supervision of Journeyman!”


And what I would say to you is: “It is still illegal for a Washington State resident to work unsupervised in the state of Washington. And, you still cannot get a Commercial 01 license without having at least 4,000 hours of experience doing commercial work, with a maximum of 4,000 hours in a specialty, if your work experience comes from the State of Washington.


However, if you come from the State of Texas and have never worked under the supervision of a journeyman and have never had any experience working on a commercial project, but you still want a Washington State license -- no problem!” 


It is now easier to get a Washington State journeyman electrician’s license if you live in Texas than it is if you’re a tax-paying resident of Washington!


This outrageous undermining of the will of our State’s legislature is the absurd actions of one guy, Ron Fuller, our State’s Chief Electrical Inspector. For some reason beyond all logic, our ‘chief’ has decided that it benefits the citizens of the State of Washington to have a reciprocity licensing agreement with the State of Texas! 


And, he is completely against signing a conditional licensing agreement with our two bordering States of Idaho and Oregon, whose standards are actually equal or greater to ours and where a reciprocity agreement would actually benefit electricians who are citizens of the State of Washington.


Instead, he has chosen to undermine the will of the Washington State legislature and sign a reciprocity agreement with the State of Texas, a state which requires almost nothing from workers to demonstrate that they are safe, competent electricians.


So, what is my advice to trainees in the State of Washington who are threatened with a fine for working unsupervised by an inspector?  Simply reply that if a Texan doesn’t need supervision to learn the electrical trade well enough to get a Washington State license, why should a tax-paying citizen of this state? Take you ticket to the electrical board and fight it since they recently voted to uphold Ron Fuller’s circumvention of our law.

IBEW NW Organizers
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