Business Manager’s Message — October 2022

Vote Union Strong on November 8

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

With less than two weeks until the all-important November 8 election, I can’t stress enough how important it is for our membership to vote and make your voices heard. Your union leadership has spent hours interviewing candidates, grilling them about their stances on PLA’s, union construction work, and having an open door to our needs. We have given our endorsements to the most qualified and we encourage you to vote your wallet this November 8. Consult the list of our endorsed candidates on our website when you go to the ballot box. As we always say, getting labor-friendly candidates elected to office is one of our highest priorities because it affects everything else we do. One stroke of the pen by a state legislature or city council can undo years of labor progress on things like safety, overtime protections, your ability to join a union, pension and benefit protections and more.

We are currently running a One Union, One Voice campaign because we are #StrongerTogether, especially when we vote together. We have three important local ballot measures, and a YES vote for these will ensure thousands of hours of work for our members for years to come. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of work hours that President Biden has helped create for our members with the Infrastructure Bills and the Inflation Reduction Act he passed this year. The three local initiatives are:

  • Proposition 30 – a proposition which expands EV and ZEV charging and refueling stations around the country, while helping consumers afford clean vehicles
  • Measure ULA – a measure which raises millions of dollars for affordable housing and will create 4,400 new constructions jobs each year
  • Measure LA – a $5.3 billion construction bond measure for LA community colleges to modernize aging campuses, including electrical infrastructure

Vote YES on these three propositions.

Visit from our IBEW International President

October has been an incredibly busy month, with dignitaries coming to Los Angeles and calling on IBEW 11 to participate. We were extremely proud to host our IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson for three days this month, during which time we showed off some of our most high-profile construction projects and asked him to address the membership. We took President Stephenson on a tour of the Intuit Dome, where he spoke to members and saw the progress of the future home of the L.A. Clippers (see story on pg 1). Then it was on to SoFi stadium where President Stephenson saw our incredible handiwork on the Oculus and more. He then toured the Electrical Training Institute (ETI) where he talked to several of our apprentices, and finally attended our General Membership Meeting. On the previous day, President Stephenson attended the ETI’s annual Apprentice Industry Night, where he spoke to nearly 1,800 apprentices at the Pasadena Convention Center. During breakfast with our staff on Friday morning, he told us how impressed he was with Local 11 and with all the progress we have made not only in getting additional work for our members, but also in ensuring safety on the job site, while keeping an eye on your all-important pensions and benefits plans.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that everything went off perfectly during President Stephenson’s visit. We have the largest apprenticeship program in the country, but instead of bragging about the work and character of our apprentices as I usually do, I was extremely disappointed at the behavior of some of our apprentices at the Apprentice Industry Night. At this event, a small but vocal group of apprentices booed and made noise whenever one of our distinguished guests spoke. If you were one of these apprentices, you should be ashamed of yourselves. This group embarrassed our local, and put a stain on the visit of our International President which happens once in a lifetime. We will not tolerate this type of behavior in the future, and we are working on plans to prevent anything like this from happening again. The union and our NECA partners do far too much for our apprentices for them to show this kind of disrespect for the union and its officers. You will be hearing more from me on this subject.

More Dignitaries in LA in October

In the good news department, IBEW 11 was also on hand when President Biden came to Los Angeles earlier this month to tour the extension of the Purple Metro Line. Local 11 was specifically summoned to attend the press conference, showing off the ambitious Metro project. I was pleased to be invited personally by the White House to attend this meeting along with other local dignitaries and elected officials including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Congressional members. We can truly say IBEW 11 is building LA!

Hate Speech Has No Place in Our Union

Finally, I would be remiss in not mentioning an event that left an ugly mark on our city and on labor earlier this month when high-ranking city and labor officials were heard engaging in hate speech during a meeting at the LA County Federation of Labor. My fellow executive board members at the LA Fed and I are searching for a replacement for the former President, who resigned his position in the wake of the scandal. The kind of speech heard on that tape can undo decades of our hard work and accomplishments on inter-racial organizing which helps us make our job sites a reflection of LA’s diverse community.

To be clear and as I said in my video message earlier this month, IBEW Local 11 has zero tolerance for hate speech.

We are stronger together.

In solidarity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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