The Electrical Worker online
January 2013

Organizing Wire
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Beefed-up Staff Boosts Membership Rolls in Ore.

Portland, Ore. — Take a look westward toward the lush downtown skyline, and you'll see how the distant, 11,200-foot Mount Hood dwarfs everything in the foreground. Simply put, you just can't miss it.

In the city's electrical sector, that's the kind of solid, stable presence that Local 48 Business Manager Clif Davis wants for the IBEW. And through innovative organizing initiatives, it's happening.

"There's always something to do in organizing," Davis says in a brand new video produced by the IBEW's award-winning video crew in the Media Department. "There's always opportunity even in a down economy."

Davis and his crew have increased their visibility in the city and souped up the style in which they reach out and welcome formerly nonunion members into the fold. One of the biggest changes was to bring in four new organizers, creating a five-man team — the largest in the local's history. The beefed-up staff is setting benchmarks and getting results, as more than 150 new electricians have come into the local over the last year and a half.

"Now, certain people can focus on certain parts of organizing and we can do a more thorough job," said lead organizer Terry Reigle.

Honoring the axiom that image is everything, the local's dispatch center got a thorough makeover. The giant gray wall that faces the street from the office's entrance is now emblazoned with Local 48's eye-catching logo. And the team built a new organizing kiosk adjacent to the dispatch window inside the building, where a full-time staff member can greet curious newcomers who may be interested in bringing their electrical skills to the IBEW.

"That really was more of a message to our members and to the exterior world that organizing is right up there with dispatching in importance — and we're very proud of it," Davis said.

A dedicated meeting room was also built so that nonunion workers who are looking to join or who want more information can visit with an organizer in a relaxed, no-pressure environment.

"It's real common in the nonunion world for people to think they're not going to be very welcome here, so that just … gives them a sense that they are welcome." Reigle said.

Take a look inside the new-and-improved facility, and watch local leaders comment on their successes at


Forward-thinking tactics are helping Portland, Ore., Local 48 leaders grow the membership, adding 150 new electricians over the last year and a half.