July 16, 2001
The opportunities to make statewide political gains in New Jersey and Pennsylvania were among the highlights of the IBEW Third District Progress Meeting June 13-15 in Atlantic City.
IBEW political involvement could make a substantial difference in those two vital northeast states, said New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George. The 320 delegates were welcomed to Atlantic City by Third District International Vice President Lawrence Rossa and host Local 2066 Business Manager Michael Scotto.
International President Edwin D. Hilla former Third District Vice Presidentwas greeted with applause appropriate to his first meeting with the group as International President. He stated his commitment to work for the members of the IBEW and emphasized the continuing need for training, skill development and organizing across the board in IBEWs industries.
International Secretary-Treasurer Jerry OConnor said the IBEWs successful organizing efforts last year increased membership 2.19 percent, but also warned of the impact of continuing industrial employment losses. OConnor also reminded the delegation of its mandate to work diligently in every election to protect our interests and the interests of all working men and women.
Politics, organizing and plans to revise the structure of the AFL-CIO were also on the agenda, and Denis Hughes, New York AFL-CIO president, also a member of New York Local 3, spoke on the new grassroots organization of the AFL-CIO, the New Alliance. The Third Districts outlook for organizing opportunities appears promising because of the large number of unaffiliated workers in classifications represented by the IBEW.
The June 13 Womens Caucus paid homage to Diana Kamen, retired business manager of Local 1968, Spring Valley, New York, for founding the Womens Caucus and her general contributions to the labor movement, as a member of the AFL-CIO and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Womens Caucus President Kathleen Treme, Business Manager of Local 1957, East Butler, Pennsylvania, welcomed the 190 delegates. Other speakers at the Womens Caucus included Laurel Brennan, Secretary-Treasurer of the New Jersey AFL-CIO, Joan Farkas, Local 164, Jersey City, New Jersey, Office Manager, and Rebecca Hall, National Labor College of New Jersey.
Third District Progress Meeting
IBEW political involvement could make a substantial difference in those two vital northeast states, according to New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech and Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President William George.