Business Manager’s Message — July 2022

Thumbs Up on Two Contracts

I am happy to report to you that on July 16, the membership ratified the Inside Wireman’s Agreement which impacts about 6,600 journeyman and apprentices. The Intelligent Transportation Systems members, covering almost 500 ITS journeyman and apprentices, ratified the same contract the following Monday, July 18. Both contracts call for an immediate $2.15 per hour wage increase and another $2.20 to be allocated January 30, 2023.

This contract adds to the already great wage and benefit package Local 11 members enjoy. Your negotiating committee worked very hard during these challenging post-COVID economic conditions to make significant gains for the membership. We won an 8% wage increase over the next year, which correlates to a 5% increase of the total package. And don’t forget, we get our raises every six months, which gets you your money quicker. You should already be seeing your raise in your last paycheck.

The disheartening news is that such a small percentage of members affected showed up to the Pasadena Convention Center to vote on such an important issue that would have affected all of you and your families for years to come. What that means is that most of our membership chose to allow just 20% of those impacted to decide their future. I won’t lie – I’m very disappointed. Had we not ratified the contract, it could easily have been a repeat of our strike in 1981 when we lost almost 300 union contractors and kept the Executive Board busy for years hearing all the charges of members who didn’t honor the strike. That was a brutal gut punch, and we spent years rebuilding the union contractor list. Members should understand that as private sector union members, we walk a fine line with our contractors. It’s easy for them to go non-union. Just look at Helix and Berg.

So, remember, negotiations are the art of the compromise. We believe we brought the best package to the membership that could have been negotiated. We are exploring various ways to increase member participation in the future for contract votes and other issues which affect your livelihood. Stay tuned.

New Work Opportunities

We’ve been talking to you for many, many months about electric and hybrid cars creating work for IBEW 11 members now and in the future. With rising gas prices, and climate change affecting our planet, more and more consumers and companies are investing in electric cars. Even IBEW 11 has invested in an all-electric fleet for the staff. All those cars need charging stations and electrical infrastructure, and that’s where the work opportunities lie for our members.

Right now, we are looking for 1,000 members to get EVITP certified in the next few months, by taking a class through your ETI. This is a great opportunity for members looking to work in an ever-expanding arena. It’s a 20-hour online course that you can do over several days. You do not have to pay the deposit, merely sign up through the ETI for this online course and do it. The Biden administration has promised all the electrical work to IBEW electricians. We just must prove we have those certified to accomplish this goal.

We already require fifth-year apprentices to get EVITP certified and are producing 100-200 trained electricians every six months. But more are needed. With hundreds of charging stations planned for the I-5 corridor and more long-haulers going electric or hybrid, now is the time to get certified. Our goal here in Local 11 is to have 1,000 EVITP certified electricians by August 15. So contact the ETI now!

Where Politics and Work Meet

We will be talking to you in the coming months about two exciting ballot measures we co-sponsored that have qualified to be on the November ballot. These two ballot measures will create even more work for our members, while helping clean up the environment, and put underserved Angelenos in decent housing.

The first is Prop 30, the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act, a proposal that will raise billions of dollars a year for electric vehicles and charging stations. Funding would come from taxes on very wealthy individuals and corporations. Co-sponsoring it with us are Lyft, the California State Association of Electrical Workers and environmental coalitions for its impact on creating a cleaner California. Proposition 30 is drafted by US to bring more work opportunities to YOU!

The second is United to House LA, an initiative we are co-sponsoring with the LA/OC Building Trades to help reduce homelessness. It’s a small tax on big mega-mansions that will help raise over $800 million a year to protect renters and put a roof over the heads of tens of thousands of LA homeless individuals. This comes with the caveat to have good-paying union workers constructing the buildings.

“Union Yes” at Starbucks

One of the campaigns IBEW Local 11 is taking on is helping the workers organize and become union members at Starbucks. You have probably heard of some stores voting to go union. I know most of you frequent Starbucks for your morning cup of Joe, so I ask you to try something simple to assist these workers and encourage Starbucks to unionize. When the Barista asks for your name to put on the cup when you order your specialty drink, state your name and “Union Yes.” It is as simple as that and will go a long way to support the movement and further labor’s mark on the world. Also, remember to patronize union grocery stores. Don’t go to Walmart which is virulently nonunion. Help support our UFCW brothers and sisters who were at our grocery stores, as we were, during COVID lockdowns to keep the economy moving and further essential work.

And finally, we hope you will turn out for our fun, union family picnic on Aug. 6. We are capping attendance at 4,000 members and their families, so get ahold of a staff member to secure your place. It’s always a fun time with free food and drinks. Come join us!

In unity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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