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Activists Bring Concerns and Experience to Convention Proceedings

September 20, 2011

An IBEW convention is no ordinary gathering. Trade union activists arrive from small rural towns and huge urban settings bringing a wealth of experience in organizing, collective bargaining, day-to-day representation, training and grassroots political action. As delegates arrived at the Vancouver Convention Center on Sunday, we asked them about their concerns and what they hoped to achieve in Vancouver.

Clifford Seniuk & Dennis Kuzyk


Dennis Kuzyk, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Local 2034 a business rep. said:

It’s fantastic that this convention is in Canada.

Kuzyk and Clifford Seniuk, the local’s vice president, are working hard to ensure that Manitoba Hydro, a Crown corporation ceases to contract out work traditionally performed by union members. Local 2034’s recent intervention with the company’s CEO and the government postponed a contract and returned work to the bargaining unit.

Richard Deering, business manager of Portland, Maine, Local 567, wants to engage in discussions with other delegates about how to ease the burden on members who want to travel for work but have trouble making the trip to sign books.

David Lawson



David Lawson, vice president of Atlanta Local 613, has seen great benefits from his local’s significant investment in marketing. He would like to see the IBEW undertake more marketing on a national scale.

Kevin Desmond, assistant business manager, Cranston, R.I., Local 2323, represents workers at Verizon. Desmond, who is attending his fourth IBEW Convention, says:

We’re still in pursuit of a contract. We’ve been grateful for the support we have received. I will be speaking with delegates about getting more support in the future.

Rick Thompson



Rick Thompson, business manager, Memphis, Tenn. Local 1288, attending his third IBEW Convention says:

The best part of a convention is that you are part of the process of making the rules and direction of the union.

Thompson, Paul Lundy, the local’s president and delegate Philip Glason are concerned that the recent moves to attack the benefits and contractual protections of public workers will hurt their members at Memphis Gas, Light and Power. Says Lundy:

The country was built on unions.  We need to get more united and get people involved in voting for candidates who support us.

Marsha Ericson & Virginia Smoot



Virginia Smoot, the secretary and office manager of Topeka, Kan., Local 304, has served several administrations of local officers over her 27 years. She and fellow delegate Marsha Ericson, a 37 year dispatcher at Westar Energy and Local 304 treasurer are deeply concerned about the state of the national economy and job prospects for members in Kansas.




Paul Lundy & Philip Glason





Kevin Desmond



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