After four failed organizing drives and two years of negotiation, the 1,400 members of Baltimore Local 410 ratified a first contract on Sunday with Baltimore Gas and Electric.
“Congratulations to the Local Union 410 bargaining team, and welcome to the IBEW,” said Fourth District International Vice President Brian Malloy in announcing the conclusion of a 20-year campaign for the protection of a negotiated and democratically approved collective bargaining agreement.
The members of Local 410 now officially become members of the IBEW, the largest single-day growth of the Brotherhood in more than a generation, said Director of Professional and Industrial Membership Development Jammi Juarez.
“It took about a year and half longer than I thought it would, but this deal is pretty close to what we originally offered,” said Local 410 Business Manager Eric Gomez. “But however long it took, this changes things.”
The gas and line workers of BGE voted for IBEW representation Jan. 2017 after a nearly two-year organizing drive. It was one of the largest successful election campaigns in organized labor in years. Two months later, International President Lonnie R. Stephenson chartered Local 410 – chosen because it is the area code served by BGE – his first new charter as the head of the Brotherhood.
“I am extremely proud of the work of the negotiating committee,” Stephenson said congratulating Gomez, Marvin Austin, Andrew Aziz, Mark Dill, and Ben Ferstermann.
Stephenson and Malloy also thanked Fourth District International Representatives Gina Cooper and Chuck Tippie.
“Chuck and Gina have dedicated themselves to this effort for over two years,” Stephenson said. “Their professionalism and tireless work on this agreement over the last two years has made me proud. I can’t thank you enough for the job you do every day.”
“It’s an unbelievable feat to accomplish this. Granted, it took two years, but there were numerous gains throughout every section of the contract,” Cooper said.
Gomez said the overwhelming approval was validation of the long struggle and testament to the solidarity of the new members. Now, focus could return to what they always wanted, since 2015: to provide the best service for their customers, a voice on the job ensuring good work is fairly rewarded and a relationship with management that puts BGE in a position to thrive.
“Now we’ve got nothing left to do but work for a living,” Gomez said.