The Electrical Worker online
June 2020

From the Officers
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Leading the Way

We are living through unprecedented times, sisters and brothers.

Not since the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 has the world dealt with anything on the scale of COVID-19 and its devastating effects on both our health and on the world's economy.

Like you, I don't know what's going to happen next. The coronavirus could be with us for another year or longer, and that means more questions than answers for the foreseeable future.

But, what I can tell you — with 100% certainty — is that I've never been more proud to be a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

From the very start of this crisis, IBEW members have stood at the forefront and led North America's response.

When hospitals and testing centers needed to be built across this continent, IBEW members were there running electricity to lighting and critical medical devices.

When sick patients and vulnerable populations needed care, IBEW members were there too, working in hospitals and nursing homes, tending to the infirmed.

When power plants and distribution networks needed to be safely manned while the chaos of the outside world swirled around them, IBEW members moved in and did the job for weeks at a time.

When 911 emergency calls needed to be answered or law enforcement needed to step in and maintain peace and protect the public, IBEW members were there, too.

As much of North America was confined at home, IBEW members kept the power and the telephones and internet reliable, enabling us to teach our children, stay connected to our families and turn on a movie to escape reality for a few hours.

IBEW members stepped up to convert assembly lines to produce desperately needed ventilators and medical equipment, and manufacturing and rail members worked tirelessly to produce and deliver those goods to the people who needed them.

In cities across North America, IBEW members donned face masks and gloves and went to work as normal, maintaining infrastructure and keeping the machinery of everyday life functioning.

All the while, so many of you stepped up not just at work, but in your communities, donating critical personal protective equipment, feeding the hungry, ensuring our retirees and other vulnerable populations had what they needed to stay home and stay safe.

And all of that is ongoing. Every day I hear of the incredible generosity of our members, and I'm reminded all over again why I'm so proud to call each of you my IBEW sisters and brothers.

You'll read a handful of these simple acts of heroism both on and off the job in this issue of The Electrical Worker; there are far too many to list them all. But rest assured that we see you, your countries and your communities see you, and we're so grateful for the way you've risen to meet this challenge.

Thank you for everything you're doing, and know that we will come back stronger because of our solidarity and commitment to one another and to the communities we live in. In these uncertain times, I'm sure of that.


Also: Cooper: Responding to Crisis Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President