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May 2024

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Bringing Jobs Back Home

I'm sure you know all too well that this is an election year here in the U.S. For a lot of you, that means it's time to tune out, to change the channel to baseball or to walk out the door and head for the nearest fishing spot. And I can't blame you for wanting to do that.

Politics can be ugly and cynical, and sometimes it seems like it's worse now than it's ever been. Believe me, I get it.

But here's the thing: The work of our government — who's in charge and what type of people they put first — is too important to the things that matter most for us and our families to tune it out and walk away.

I know each of you decides who to vote for based on a lot of things, but as a leader in the IBEW, I'm here to talk to you about how you put food on the table and come home safely to your families at the end of the day.

I recently went home to Mansfield, Ohio. When I was coming up there as a child and later as a journeyman wireman and young business manager, Mansfield was a manufacturing powerhouse.

Early in my career, I worked in factories so big you could put a coffee shop inside one of the elevators. Today those factories are in ruins, and the good, middle-class jobs they brought to my hometown left decades ago.

There's blame for that on both sides of the political aisle. It started during the Reagan era and it kept right on going through Democratic and Republican administrations until there was almost nothing left.

But that's about to change, and the IBEW is poised to be a huge part of rebuilding an America that makes things again. See the video at the QR code for how we are reviving these places.

Of course, our manufacturing members have been doing this all along, but they've done so knowing that their numbers were shrinking and they were only one hedge fund takeover away from being next on the chopping block.

Because of legislation like the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, and the strong Buy American and labor provisions included in them, manufacturing in the United States is ready to take off.

Manufacturing construction spending has nearly doubled since the CHIPS Act was signed by President Biden more than a year and a half ago. Our construction members are building these new plants, and we'll be adding new manufacturing members to work in them once they open.

One of the biggest is just down the road from Mansfield, outside Columbus. Intel has already committed $20 billion, which could rise to $100 billion, on one of the world's most advanced semiconductor plants. Thousands of IBEW members will work on just this one job.

Trillions of dollars are pouring into our economy because of bills championed by President Biden, and they all have enforceable labor standards attached to them that make this union work. IBEW members will spend entire careers working on jobs funded by these three bills, and that's no exaggeration.

So, we have a choice this November. We can listen to the divisive, nasty rhetoric being put out there by folks who don't give a damn about working people, or we can back the team that brought jobs to our members and put food on our tables.

If you tune out the noise, this is an easy decision. I hope you'll watch the video linked here and think long and hard about what's best for the IBEW and for your paycheck.


Also: Noble: Partnerships That Work Read Noble's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International President

Watch the Video