International Union of Elevator Constructors Local One training director calls Richard Loeb calls apprentice Dean Cribbin “an all-around rock star.”
That’s not just a metaphor: Before Cribbin joined Local One, he played guitar in the New Jersey hardcore band Back and Forth.
Cribbin, 27, grew up in Middletown on the Jersey Shore, the son of a longtime elevator constructor. “Getting into Local One has changed my life,” he says. “I am able to provide for myself, and it’s a second family. Everyone I’ve met has treated me like family from the start. I have some great brothers and sisters that I would kill for because of Local One. I am learning a great trade and gaining great skills and knowledge.”
He’s finishing the second year of the four-year apprenticeship, working in the union’s modernization department. “We rip out and replace old equipment with new equipment,” he says. “I have also worked in new construction where the whole thing is built from nothing.”
The program emphasizes safety and its importance in all courses, he continues. Apprentices learn about the different types of elevators, such as traction, hydraulic, car lifts, moving walks, freight, dumbwaiters, and LULA (Limited Use/Limited Application) elevators, which are a cross between a commercial elevator and a wheelchair lift. They also learn about the mechanical equipment involved, such as the hoist motor, sheaves, counterweights, and guide rails; and elevators’ electrical aspects, including how the power gets from the controller to the elevator, running pipe and the wiring, switches, and relays, along with electrical theory and troubleshooting.
There are also certification classes for things such as hoisting and rigging, CPR, federal safety certifications, scaffold use, and forklift operation.
“You learn the textbook stuff in school, then you do it physically on the job,” he says. “It’s a good mix.”
Loeb lauds both Cribbin’s work ethic and his commitment to the union. On top of his regular workload, he says, Cribbin also took a rigorous 40-week night class in welding—a program usually for journeymen, where it’s tough for apprentices to prove they’re ready for it. He was also one of the first dozen people on the twice-weekly “Count Me In” picket lines protesting the Related Companies’ insistence on using nonunion labor at Hudson Yards.
“He’s doing extra in school, he’s doing extra on the picket line,” Loeb says. “He’s one of our success stories.”