Business Manager’s Message — April 2021

100 Jobsite Visits

We have a lot of good news to announce this month.

First, please join me in welcoming four exciting additions to our staff — our new Apprenticeship Coordinator, Alton Wilkerson, our new Safety Director, Mike Costigan, our new CE/CW/Apprentice Agent Jackie Waltman, and our new District 6 Organizer Thomas Zielomski. All bring a wealth of experience to their respective positions.

We’ve already had tremendous feedback from our apprentices on the new Coordinator at the ETI and we’re looking forward to building out a terrific program in 2021 and beyond. Dozens of members have already reached out to congratulate Alton on his new appointment. “Just what we needed.” “Someone who will listen to the next generation of brothers and sisters.” “They picked the best man for the job.” “Congrats Big Dawg.” “Well deserved!” “A perfect fit.”

Alton will bring a breath of fresh air to a program that has been suffering through the pandemic. More on that in a moment.

I’m also delighted to welcome Mike Costigan as our new Safety Director. Mike has been busy developing a Safety Program for the local and has already started a safety section on our website that he will continue to update with the best and latest information on safety. Check it out here.

You can read an interview with Mike on what he plans to do his first year as Safety Director. He’s written his first safety blog on silica dust – look for a new topic each month. Mike takes his new responsibility very seriously and is looking forward to working with each and every one of you. His goal is to keep safety at the forefront of every members mind every day, so we all get to go home to our families every night. We look forward to working with Mike.


We have very good news for our apprentices who have had challenges keeping up with their remote learning due to the pandemic this past year. Particularly those who have had withholds and suspensions due to absences. I am happy to announce that your delinquent dues will now be excused, as well as suspension and withholds due to absences and other categories. You should have received an email detailing what will be excused. I would like to thank Management for their cooperation on this.

As I mentioned last month, one of our biggest challenges has been keeping the ETI operating at the same pre-pandemic level. Remote learning has been particularly hard for many of our apprentices.

We heard you — about your Wi-Fi challenges, problems logging in, issues about sitting in front of a computer for many hours at a time and more. We believe these are the best solutions to the issues you have faced this past year. We will adapt as restrictions are lifted as we come out of this pandemic.

New Union Dispatch Halls

We’re also hearing great things from our District 2 and 3 members who are very excited about their new South Bay union hall in Torrance. It’s been many years since these members had a dispatch hall close to home. But that is all about to change on April 19 when dispatch will be fully operational at our South Bay union hall. In addition to having a home away from home, members will no longer be required to make the long drive to Commerce looking for work.

And for our District 6 members, construction is ongoing at your new union hall in Diamond Bar. We are targeting the end of May for a soft opening there. We look forward to seeing you at our Grand Opening soon.

100 Job Site Visits

The pandemic has been very hard on all of us, which is why I take my job of visiting members on the job site so seriously. I’m proud that I’ve visited over 100 construction sites, talking to members during these uncertain times.

As a leader, I believe it is critical to lead by example – to show members that your officers and staff are out there in the field every day, working on your behalf. I wanted our members to know I was right there beside you, listening to your concerns, handing out masks, offering advice on vaccines, and answering your questions about safety, your medical and pensions plans and more. These one-on-one conversations with you on the job site are an invaluable part of my ability to lead this great union.

It is an honor and gives me great pride to serve as your business manager. I am grateful for the trust you have placed in me.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay union strong!

In Solidarity,
Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager


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