The Electrical Worker online
August 2020

From the Officers
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A More Perfect Union

In this month's Electrical Worker, I hope you'll all take the time to read about an initiative very near and dear to me and an effort critically important to every member and future member of the IBEW.

I'm talking about IBEW Strong, our plan to continue building an IBEW that is more diverse, more inclusive and better prepared to face the challenges of the future.

Since the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Labor has stood with those seeking equity and justice, but too often we've not taken the concrete steps to ensure those basic rights within our own unions.

With IBEW Strong, we will strive not just to educate, reach out and diversify our ranks, but to learn from one another, to empower a new generation of leaders and continue to grow and thrive collectively in a 21st-century economy.

This idea isn't new. All across North America, local unions have been recruiting from their entire communities for decades. You'll read about just a few examples in the accompanying article. Whether it's reaching into communities of color or working to make the trades more welcoming to our sisters or people with preferences or beliefs different from our own, the IBEW is stronger when it reflects the diversity of the communities we live and work in.

Four years ago, at the 2016 International Convention in St. Louis, we celebrated this brotherhood's 125th birthday, and the delegates to that convention unanimously called on us to make diversity and inclusion a priority.

I want to thank the officers and the members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee we assembled after the convention for their tireless work in getting us to this stage. A great deal of thought and care has gone into setting IBEW Strong up to be successful.

Now, it's our turn. I want to ask each and every one of you to consider how you can help make the IBEW a more equitable and inclusive place that reflects the broader diversity of the nations we serve. We'll have materials and resources for you available through your local unions, but it's up to each of us to do our part.

As I've said many times before, joining the IBEW changed everything for me, just as I know it did for so many of you. This is our chance to make sure many more people from all walks of life enjoy the same opportunities we did.


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

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President