The IBEW officially has a new local: Baltimore Local 410.
|Fourth District International Vice President Kenneth W. Cooper, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, Baltimore Local 410 Business Manager Eric Gomez and Vice President Ben Ferstermann with Local 410’s new charter.
On March 29 at Baltimore Local 24’s hall, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson signed Local 410’s charter, officially welcoming BGE’s 1,418 gas and electric transmission-distribution workers into the Brotherhood.
It was another remarkable day in the decades-long effort to organize BGE. The winning election Jan. 12 followed four failed representation elections. The Electrical Worker had complete coverage of the victory in the March 2017 issue.
Local 410 also announced its temporary officers: Business Manager Eric Gomez, President Ben Ferstermann, Recording Secretary Jordan Roscoe and Treasurer Shane Mosca.
“I’m honored to accept our charter. It is amazing to see what was once a dream become a reality,” Gomez said.
In some dark days for organized labor – Kentucky and Missouri passing right-to-work laws and Republicans in Washington rolling job and worker safety regulations back—the moment was a banner occasion for the IBEW, and the Brotherhood’s international and Baltimore-based leadership came out in force.
Stephenson was joined by Fourth District International Vice President Kenneth W. Cooper, Assistant to the International President for Membership Development Ricky Oakland, Director of Professional and Industrial Membership Development Carmella Thomas and more than a half dozen international representatives who had been involved in the campaign, including the Regional Organizing Coordinator Bert McDermitt.
| Stephenson was joined on stage by members of the BGE volunteer organizing committee as he signed the charter of their new local.
Missing from the celebration was international representative and Lead Organizer Troy Johnson, who worked full time on the campaign for more than a year. “He didn’t want to miss this but he hadn’t had a vacation in so long I told him to go,” Cooper said.
Also missing were the dozens of volunteer organizers who flew in from around the country, knocked on hundreds of doors, manned the phone banks every night and stood outside the gates of BGE service centers, waving signs, handing out leaflets, answering questions and keeping up morale in December and January.
“During the campaign, I called them our crazies. They were the ones out there in the bitter cold, waving signs. I don’t think you guys realize how much we appreciate it,” Gomez said.
City Councilmember John T. Bullock, State Delegate Cory V. McCray, who is also a Local 24 membership development representative and U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes spoke at the ceremony as well.
More than 100 Local 24 apprentices in between classes at the Joint Apprenticeship Training Center joined the cheering when Stephenson, Cooper and Gomez were joined on stage by the volunteer organizing committee to witness the signing of the new charter.
“I’ve been in the IBEW for 41 years now and I have never been as honored as I just was to do that,” Stephenson said. “I have not had the pleasure or opportunity to sign a charter for a new local union. So, this was a big event not only for you but for me.”
After a handful of pictures were taken, the charter was left on the stage and the new members of Local 410, many still in their work uniforms, made their way up the stairs to take their own pictures while the ink was still wet.