Business Manager’s Message — February 2021

Visiting the Job Sites

Please join me in congratulating Marleen Fonseca as she settles into her new role as the Interim Executive Director of the IBEW 11/Engineers and Architects Association Unit 1894. The EAA represents nearly 6,000 LA City employees and are an important part of the strength of our union. Marleen knows the turf well; she has worked for the city for 19 years and has spent the last eight years as a Senior Labor Representative for EAA assisting with grievances, conducting personnel investigations, ensuring compliance with MOUs and city policies and establishing procedures and directives.

These are tough times for the City of LA, with record deficits leading to threats of layoffs and furloughs. But by negotiating creative solutions, including early retirement and delaying raises, EAA was able to ward off 10% pay cuts and saved 500 jobs. That’s the kind of leadership our EAA members needs right now. I’m looking forward to Marleen’s experience and insight, and I know that the bonds of brotherhood between Local 11 and EAA will continue to strengthen.

Before I became business manager three years ago, I worked out in in the field for many years. The truth is, there’s nothing like the camaraderie you feel working in the field, which is why I’ve visited close to 100 jobs sites since taking office. In the past two months alone, I’ve gotten to talk to hundreds of our members as I have toured SoFi stadium, a new high-rise at 7th & Figueroa, the Valero Refinery, Long Beach Shoreline Gateway and LAX’s new ITF-West. I thoroughly enjoy meeting the members – especially the new apprentices who are so enthusiastic about the benefits the union is bringing to their lives.

It’s also great to run into old friends in the field, particularly the ones I organized into the union like Steve McGarry and Paul Reyes. Steve was working for Berg Electric before I organized him in. That fight still continues. I also organized Paul Reyes in over 15 years ago. Tim Griffin is another good friend who has been a member for almost 50 years who I got to see again. Tim and I worked together when I was steward for Sasco at Dodger Stadium in 2000.

Every morning when I wake up, I am grateful to this trade that has helped me provide for my family and introduced me to so many great and honorable tradespeople.

I’m also very proud of the work that the IBEW has done on the political front in helping elect a labor-friendly president to the White House. Just last week, President Biden invited a group of top labor leaders to the Oval Office. And his appointments like Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary, and California’s own Julie Su as Assistant Labor Secretary, shows that Biden understands the struggles of America’s workers. President Biden has pledged that his administration will be “the most pro-labor administration in American history.” Our new leader understands the value of IBEW members and other union families. He called out IBEW and our International President Lonnie Stephenson specifically in a press conference just last week. You can watch it here. The President speaks very movingly about the dignity of the middle class.

In other union news, I am pleased to invite all our members to the opening of our new South Bay Union Hall on March 5. The start time will be 7:30 AM, with a reception at 4:30 pm. Congratulations to the members in District 2 and District 3 who will be well-served by this new union hall. We’re looking forward to seeing you all at 2150 West 190th Street in Torrance. We also believe we’ve secured a property for our new District 6 office. Stay tuned for more news on that.

In closing, we know times are tough, but with the vaccine roll outs ramping up, we hope that we will see the end of this pandemic soon. Stay strong, stay tough. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. We always want to hear from you. It is truly an honor to serve as your Business Manager.


In Solidarity
Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager


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