The Electrical Worker online
January 2019

From the Officers
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Resolutions for a New Year

This month, we welcome a New Year, and with it, the chance to chart a new course for the IBEW. So, while many of you are resolving to spend more time with your families or drop a few inches from your waistlines, we want you to take a few moments this January to think about how together we can improve this great Brotherhood for ourselves and for the next generation.

In 2018, we made a lot of progress. Membership is up. In many parts of the U.S. and Canada, there's work to be done and open calls to fill. The Code of Excellence continues to set IBEW sisters and brothers apart from our nonunion competition, and a slew of union-friendly officeholders are ready to listen and legislate on behalf of working families.

We should celebrate, but not for long. The truth is, there's a lot of work still to do. And we need every one of you to help get it done.

First is organizing. When this union was formed 127 years ago, our founders pledged to organize every worker in the electrical industry. That work is still ongoing. We all know people who could benefit from the solidarity and representation that a union brings, and we owe it to them and to each other to reach out and welcome them as sisters and brothers.

So, get involved in your local's organizing efforts. Point out nonunion workplaces or jobsites where we could make inroads. Talk to young people in your life about the opportunities the IBEW has to offer. If every one of us makes a real effort to recruit just one new member in 2019, imagine how much our union and our industry could benefit.

Next, the Code of Excellence continues to be an incredible tool in selling employers and developers on the value they get when they hire IBEW tradesmen and tradeswomen. We're so proud that you have embraced its core values of safety, professionalism, accountability, relationships and quality. But we can always do more to live up to our commitments.

Part of the accountability portion of the Code means holding one another to the highest standards. When we're looking out for one another on the job and speaking up when something isn't being done correctly, we're protecting the reputation of the working men and women of the IBEW. It's easy to say something to a co-worker, but it's a lot harder to rebuild the trust our employers show in us every day.

It's also no secret that working people are having to fight for every scrap we can get these days. Politicians in Washington and several Canadian provinces are gutting safety and job protections at every turn. They're building tax systems that benefit the very richest among us at the expense of working people and making it harder for workers to join together in union.

Just last month, the IBEW led a massive lobbying campaign to beat back a potentially disastrous attack from Congress on our healthy pension system, which you can read more about on or in next month's Electrical Worker. We won this round, but the fight's not over, and it underlines the need for each of us to be vigilant, to talk to our representatives and to let them know we're watching.

Part of that includes getting active in politics. Dozens — maybe hundreds — of IBEW members ran for office last year, and we'd love to see that number increase. We elected a majority in the U.S. House that should be more open to labor and working people's issues, but we still need to hold those members accountable to make sure they deliver on their promises.

There's power in numbers — each of you knows that; you're a union member after all — but that power is only good if we speak up and put in the effort to make ourselves heard. Over the next year, we'll be asking you to call your representatives on issues important to the IBEW. Attacks on wages, safety and retirement security inevitably will come up, and we'll be counting on your help.

Finally, we wanted to say something about International President Emeritus Ed Hill, who sadly left us last month.

Ed's life was proof that when we become members of the IBEW, we all have an opportunity to do something great. Through hard work and an unrelenting commitment to each and every one of you, his IBEW sisters and brothers, Ed made the advancement of working families his life's work.

No matter which branch you come from, the IBEW is your ticket to something bigger than yourself. As we look back on 2018 and forward to this year, let's follow the example of our brother, Ed Hill, and commit ourselves to the cause of this union and North America's working people. It's the way he'd want each of us to honor his memory.

Edwin D. Hill

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer