The Electrical Worker online
August 2022

From the Officers
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to
Seizing the Moment

Later this month, IBEW activists and leaders from across North America will come to San Antonio for what, outside of our convention, will be the most crucial IBEW gathering of the year.

The Membership Development conference isn't just any meeting. It is the frontlines of the fight to rebuild organized labor and the middle class.

This year's conference comes at a historic moment for the labor movement because the IBEW has not seen this many opportunities to grow in decades.

First off, full employment means workers now have some power to demand higher wages, better jobs and more opportunities.

Workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers because they are fed up with skimpy paychecks and nonexistent benefits and are demanding a better way.

Secondly, we have the White House on our side. President Biden has made it clear again and again that he supports labor and is backing up his words with deeds, from appointing an actual union leader, Marty Walsh, as Labor Secretary to using executive power to require project labor agreements and good construction wages.

In Canada, the IBEW also has a powerful ally in higher office, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But most of all, this moment is an opportunity for the IBEW because public opinion is on our side.

More than 60% of Americans approve of unions, the highest since 1965.

We are seeing workers coming together in unions at some of the biggest, hardest to organize companies across North America, from Amazon warehouse workers to Starbucks baristas.

In the past year, we have added more than 13,000 new members across nearly every branch.

Any good organizer knows that when you see an opportunity, you'd better seize it fast.

And there is no more significant opportunity to build IBEW power than now.

We'll meet in Texas to plot a path to growing a bigger and stronger IBEW that reflects the full diversity of our two nations, but we won't stop there. We'll take what we've learned back to every local across North America and keep right on working.

President Stephenson challenged delegates at the Convention to top 700,000 active IBEW members before the year was through.

We are well on the way to meeting that goal, and we won't stop there.

Organizing must be every IBEW's member's top priority.

Our founding fathers were organizers first. Everything Henry Miller and his compatriots did was about expanding the ranks of this union.

That's how they turned a small handful of line workers and wiremen into the biggest electrical union in North America. And it is how we will reverse years of union decline and put the IBEW back on offense for the first time in a generation.

I'll see you in Texas.


Also: Stephenson: Our Sister, Our Leader Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer