Source: Computer Networking First-Step by Wendell Odom (2004)


Depending on where you work, you might have a lot of different people working on the network. In some companies, one person is responsible for all parts of the network. In other companies, the responsibilities are divided among lots of different people. In some cases, you simply need different skills to perform different tasks. In other cases, one job might reside in a different department for organizational reasons. Union personnel often run the cables.

I assume, but I'm not one hundred percent sure though, that union personnel means employees of a trade union. If that's what it means, here's what I don't understand: why would people from a trade union run your cables for you? It sounds as though union personnel are people from another department within the same company.

  • 1
    Employees who belong to the local labor union?
    – Andrew
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 14:52

3 Answers 3


"Organizational reasons" is probably a euphemism for "restrictive practices imposed by trade unions to ensure continued employment for their members even when circumstances change."

In the OP's quote, the situation may be that the Amalgamated Union of Wire Pullers and Cable Duct Operatives has a historical agreement with company that the only people who can pull wires through cable ducts within the company are their members - and of course they will defend that right until it's finally abolished when they have all died of old age.

I've worked in companies where the IT department techs were not allowed to physically move a desktop PC from one desk to another - they had to get a union member from the building maintenance department to do that for them!


Further on in that book, it goes into slightly more detail about who might be running the cables:

The cabling guy and the network guy actually create the network utility. The cabling guy, typically called an electrician, might also have a narrow view of the world. His job requires that he run the cables from each cubicle back to the wiring closet. His job requires physical dexterity, knowledge of how to conform to the electrical building standards, and a willingness to get a little dirty when running cables under the floor, in the ceiling, or through some other hole in the wall. To him, the network is the cabling.

As many electricians are represented by a labour union (for example, the IBEW), it's likely that this is what the author is referring to - workers who are represented by a union.


It means "people who belong to the/a relevant trade union".

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