The Electrical Worker online
February 2023

My IBEW Story
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Courtney Estacio, Waltham, Mass., Local 1505
Waltham, Mass., Local 1505

"I attended a vocational high school and started working in electrical manufacturing at 17 when I landed an internship for a government contractor. That led to a position with a nonunion manufacturing company that offered a tuition reimbursement program for college. I thought I was set.

That changed when I was diagnosed with a rare form of head and neck cancer when I was 21. Despite those health issues, my employer told me it could not change my shift for treatments, even though I had been an excellent worker. I left the company and relied on help from family and working numerous part-time jobs.

One of those jobs paid off. I was a bartender at a hotel that hosted several events sponsored by Raytheon. An employee of the company told me about his history there, that workers had IBEW representation and that he thought I would be a good fit. I also was familiar with the IBEW. My mother was a Verizon employee for 22 years and a member of Boston Local 2222.

I attended a job fair and, less than two months later, started work at a Raytheon facility in Andover, Mass. I was soon able to pay off my medical debt and receive follow-up treatment without worrying about the cost. Having good medical care that my union bargained for gave me peace of mind.

I keep in touch with my high school teachers and return every year to tell students the importance of union representation on the job. I served as a Local 1505 steward, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have received a promotion to a higher-paying job on the assembly floor.

I've heard and read that the only risk for the IBEW is not growing fast enough. I truly believe that. I will tell my story to every person I meet as long as I have my voice. I am proud to be a member of Local 1505 because of the solidarity with my brothers and sisters and our leadership that represents us so well."