The Electrical Worker online
March 2021

From the Officers
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A Year of Adversity

One year ago this month, the coronavirus became real for most of us. For a couple of months before, we'd heard about its spread in China and Italy, and a few cases had made their way to our shores.

It was scary sounding, but it wasn't a part of our lives yet. That all changed in March.

A year later, we've lost more than 450,000 Americans and 20,000 Canadians to this terrible virus, including many of our sisters and brothers and their loved ones, all members of the extended IBEW family.

That level of pain, suffering and loss was unimaginable to me 12 months ago, as I'm sure it was for many of you.

But even when the virus was at its worst — and in no way is this thing over — the women and men of the IBEW stepped up and answered the calls of our communities, our employers, our customers, our families and our union.

Lonnie and I couldn't be prouder of the way you all have risen to the most significant challenge of our time and done your jobs and done them well.

You've kept power flowing to your communities and built hospitals and research labs and vaccine production lines. You've helped to ensure that personal protective equipment and medical devices made it into the hands of the people who needed it most.

You've maintained phone and network connectivity to allow members of your communities to do their jobs from anywhere and keep in touch with loved ones, and you've made possible the news, sports and entertainment broadcasts that have kept us all informed and sane.

For many of you, contributing to the fight against the pandemic has simply meant showing up every day and keeping the economies of our two great nations afloat, and that's no small thing.

Things look a little different these days with masks and social distancing, temperature checks and more. Maybe it takes a little longer to get to the jobsite or to your workstation. We all know masks can sometimes be irritating. But all of this is for the good of your IBEW sisters and brothers, your families and your communities.

You'll read just a few stories in this issue of how members in different branches of the IBEW have coped with the virus over the last year.

Thanks to the amazing work of scientists and tradesmen and women who've worked to make these vaccines a reality, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It won't be this month or next month, but it will be soon.

Until then, keep following protocols, wear a mask and take care of one another. You're making your union proud.

We're going to come out of this stronger than ever.


Also: Stephenson: One of Our Own Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer