Vote for Your Future in the March 5 Primary Elections

The March 5 Primary elections are just a week away and the stakes for IBEW Local 11 members, and the broader Los Angeles labor community, could not be higher. Coming off of last year’s “Hot Labor Summer,” where unions won major concessions, this election continues to be a pivotal moment for labor rights, job security, and the future of union work in California.

From the top of the ticket down to local races, every office matters for the continued success of labor unions like IBEW Local 11.

Business Manager Robert Corona said the union has worked diligently to ask tough questions of all the candidates, making sure the Union’s endorsement is committed to looking out for the best interests of IBEW 11 members. (You can find a download those endorsements here.)

“Now, our job is to go out there, in big numbers, and vote for union-backed candidates who will watch out for our pocketbooks and for our work,” Corona said.

This election also marks a significant change in how Los Angeles County conducts its voting, opening Vote Centers across the area on top of traditional neighborhood precincts. This shift allows voters to cast their ballots anywhere in the county, ensuring that every vote counts immediately – a crucial factor in close races that can determine the balance of power in Congress and the fate of labor-friendly legislation.

Antonio Sanchez, IBEW 11’s Politics Director, highlighted the critical importance of the Biden administration’s initiatives. “The past two years have been significant with President Biden keying up funding that will create tens of thousands of hours of work for our members,” Sanchez stated.

Though the presidential race makes the headlines, Sanchez emphasized the importance of local congressional races, and the urgency of getting a Democratic majority back in control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We need to focus our energies on flipping local congressional seats,” Sanchez said, singling out the race in the Antelope Valley as a critical battleground. Democrat George Whitesides, running to oust Mike Garcia in that region, can help secure a future where labor is valued, and IBEW members have a steady stream of work, Sanchez said. It can also, he said, be the difference in pushing through pro-worker nominations like labor ally Julie Su for Secretary of Labor.

In California, there is a tight race for U.S. Senate that will determine who will take over the seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Dianne Feinstein last year. Of the three main Democratic candidates running, Local 11 is supporting Rep. Adam Schiff because of IBEW 11’s long-standing relationship with him, Sanchez noted.

“He answers when I call his cell phone. He cares about what we think,” Sanchez said. “Even though he’s been a busy guy serving in Congress, he always wants to know how we feel about key issues.”

IBEW 11 does not endorse based only on party affiliation. Sanchez highlighted the Union’s support for Kathryn Barger, a Republican candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors who has shown a strong commitment to labor causes under tough questioning.

Kelly Oliver, IBEW 11’s new Apprenticeship Coordinator said that, no matter the party, members should side with politicians who understand labor. “I’m a third-generation Marine. I’m very pro-American; I love my flag. I love my country,” Oliver said. “When you say these things nowadays, people automatically assume that I’m for one side. But you have got to understand, there’s a bigger picture.”

With the wrong elected officials in office, there is always a risk of losing the types of Project Labor Agreements that fuel the union’s success in good times and provide a safety net during economic downturns, Kelly said. “You don’t just sign up to go to construction sites and work when you join a union,” Oliver said. “You also sign up to be an activist and protect the work.”

Organizing Director Alton Wilkerson’s first ever job with IBEW 11 was on a project at Southwest College, working on a solar carport under a Project Labor Agreement. “My future brothers and sisters went to these meetings, years before I got into the IBEW, and fought for that job that got my career started,” Wilkerson said.

Now, as Organizing Director, Wilkerson said his ability to do his job, expand union membership and raise wages relies on working with elected officials who are willing and able to expand those opportunities. “It’s vital who we elect because it affects our members’ livelihoods.”

Similar Posts