Business Manager’s Message — February 2022

A Year in Politics

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

With two elections this year — a primary in June and a general election in November — 2022 is going to be an important political year for IBEW 11 members. Why are elections important for our members? Because one vote from an unfriendly legislator or committee can wipe out 50 years of progress on issues like overtime, pension benefits, safety regulations and more.

Although the elections are still months away, the process starts now, with labor’s endorsements and vetting of candidates for every level of office. We want to make sure we elect representatives who understand IBEW issues and will have an open door when we go to Sacramento or City Hall or even Washington, DC with our concerns. Locally, we just completed our COPE endorsements with the LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. It is a very comprehensive process. Candidates must fill out an extensive questionnaire and be interviewed by a large group of representatives from a variety of labor unions about a range of issues important to workers. That list will be announced soon.

Now we move on to the California Democratic Convention, which is coming up next month. I’m pleased to report I have been appointed to the Central Democratic Committee by California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Local 11 Political Director Antonio Sanchez was appointed by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo. At the convention, Democrats from around the state will gather to make our collective endorsements at the state and federal levels.

Complicating the entire process this year is a new election map due to redistricting, which happens every 10 years as the result of the census and population shifts. This year, as a result of redistricting, early retirements, and vacancies, LA County will get eight new Assemblymembers, three new State Senators, and three new Congressmembers in Washington, D.C. That means new blood, fresh faces and the ability to elect candidates with good labor credentials who will listen to us and engage on our issues. It’s a new political landscape, one where we will make sure workers have a greater voice in our political future.

One of those new faces in Sacramento is our very own Mike Fong, an EAA and IBEW 11 member who was just sworn in earlier this week as our newest Assemblymember following a special election last week. The seat became vacant when Assemblymember Ed Chau was appointed as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge. Mike came and spoke to us at our general membership meeting last week. Mike has worked for the City of LA for the past 20 years, and served on the LA Community College District Board of Trustees for the past eight years. Thank you to all who worked and contributed to his campaign. Mike will be a good steward for IBEW 11 issues, and he gives us one more friendly face in our state capitol. Congratulations, Brother Fong.

I also wanted to welcome all the new obligants who were sworn in by President Roten at our most recent meeting. There were some 150 new members who are all ready to begin their new journey as IBEW 11 brothers and sisters. It’s a decision that will positivelyimpact you and your family for years to come.

I also want to encourage everyone to attend the next general membership meeting on Thursday, March 17, that will take place at District 4’s hall in San Fernando. We will be awarding President Emeritus Dean Todd with his 50-year pin.

In other news, the ETI is set to reopen soon following the most recent COVID shutdowns. The ETI is subject to the same guidelines as the LA Community College District, which is still doing a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. Stay tuned for news on when our apprentices will return to in-class learning. In the meantime, our apprentices continue to learn on the job at their worksites.

And finally, a note to our travelers and new members: I’m pleased to announce that we have updated our Electronic Reciprocal Transfer System (ERTS), which keeps your benefits up-to-date when you’re working out of jurisdiction. Make sure your ERTS paperwork is up-to-date so your benefits when working out of jurisdiction will follow you and accrue to your account.

I am honored to be working on behalf of the membership each and every day.

In Solidarity, 

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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