The Electrical Worker online
April 2023

My IBEW Story
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Michael Rollerson, heavy equipment operator
Denver Local 111

"The IBEW saved my life, literally. Before I became a member, I was incarcerated. I wasn't living my best life. I couldn't find employment that paid me enough to support my family. My son was hired at Pizza Hut before I could even get anything.

Then one day I was arguing with my parole officer. He said I needed a job. I told him I was looking but I couldn't find anything. Fortunately, a lady at Denver Works happened to be there, and she understood what I was saying. She handed me a paper, and the first name on the list was Local 111. I went in and said I wasn't looking for a job, I was looking for a career. The woman there said, 'You've come to the right place.'

I needed to get some things in order first, like paying fines and getting my driver's license. So, I went to Second Chance career center, and they helped me get my flagger certification so I could make enough money to pay the fines and get a license. I haven't looked back since.

First and foremost, being an IBEW member gave me a sense of pride. I was able to show my younger son that this is what I do. I became a true citizen. And I got involved in the union. I'm involved in committees with the Denver Area Labor Federation and the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus. I'm learning ways to better myself and my community and actually build structures. And I'm able to be a positive role model for my sons and financially support my family and have health insurance and benefits. I've learned that there's a better way for us to be a part of something that's really big and important.

Being an IBEW member gives you the chance to change your life and to give support to those who might not have any. It means brotherhood and sisterhood, and having someone who makes sure you have the right representation. I plan to be an impactful part of the future of Local 111. I feel like I have the responsibility of educating people who don't know about unions and the trades, people who don't know we're the ones who come out in the snowstorms."