March 2022
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Also In This Issue On Top Again
IBEW Journeymen, Apprentices Take Top Honors at Annual Skills Tournament read_more

IBEW Heroes Honored
Oregon Duo's Quick Thinking Saves the Life of Ironworker Brother read_more

North of 49°
Canadian Women
Renew Bonds at Toronto Conference read_more

Au nord du 49° parallèle
Les femmes canadiennes renouvellent les liens à la conférence de Toronto read_more

My IBEW Story Genesis Cornejo read_more

Grounded in History The Brotherhood's Lesser-Known Founders read_more





Change of Address


Cover Photo

Organizing in the Pandemic

In the two-plus years since COVID-19 transformed the lives of billions of people, so much has been lost or taken away. Nearly six million are dead, 900,000 of them in North America. Millions more suffered devastating hospitalizations and slow, often imperfect recoveries.

Jobs, years of in-person schooling, a sense of security and community were lost as well. People celebrated holidays alone, mourned alone. The gathering places — restaurants, movie theaters and union halls — closed.

And it was a profound challenge to organized labor, which has always relied on solidarity, connection and trust to improve the lives of working people.

Along with so much else, for a time, the pandemic took away the most powerful tool the union movement had: face-to-face, person-to-person conversation and connection.

"To an organizer, it was impossible to imagine doing your job with no eye contact, no direct conversation," said Assistant to the International President for Membership Development Ricky Oakland. "The benefits of joining in union can be read on a pamphlet, but reading isn't knowing, let alone trusting."

As COVID sealed off jobsites and sent millions of workers to home offices, kitchen tables or near-empty office buildings, the need for worker protections didn't diminish, especially for those who couldn't work from the comfort of a laptop computer. The clamor for union protections only increased.

Eighth and Ninth District Regional Organizing Coordinator Bob Brock said the pandemic left organizers with a choice: change or watch and wither on the vine.

"Everyone has been forced to zero in on the essentials, the core," he said. "But this has been needed. It has been an opportunity to get back to the basics and reset."

Two years on, even with the pandemic still underway, it is possible to see what organizing will look like going forward: much of it familiar, but with new tools and strategies blazing the path to the future. read_more

  Local Lines and Retirees

Officers Column Stephenson:
Investing in Organizing read_more
A Career for Everyone read_more

TransitionsJames Burgham;
Daniel L. Shirey;
Larry Schell read_more

PoliticsIBEW Member to Head Building Trades Veterans Program;
New Report Showcases the Importance of Unions Working With Environmental Groups in the Clean Economy;
Study: What Women Want — and Need — From the Construction Industry;
BRAVE Act Aims to Get Vets Into Apprenticeships read_more

CircuitsFollowing Deadly Tornados, Kentucky Local Gets Special Help from Ohio, West Virginia Neighbors;
Must-See TV for Union Outdoorsmen Moves to YouTube;
BC Signatory Commits to 'Period Promise';
Tennessee Boy Scouts to Offer Trades Badges at New Skilled Trades Center read_more

LettersYou're Not Alone read_more

In MemoriamJanuary 2022 read_more

Who We AreOmaha Members Lace Up the Boxing Gloves
for Charity read_more