The Electrical Worker online
February 2017

From the Officers
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Excellence off the Job

On the job, we demand excellence from each and every one of our members. It's what makes the IBEW the best at what we do. But we need to work just as hard to be exemplary members of society. When we give back to our communities, it's an important part of reminding our neighbors what our Brotherhood is all about.

The labor movement has been the greatest tool for eradicating poverty in the history of the world, but in these uncertain times, it's even more important that we're out there, visible, working to lift people up.

That's why, every month, you read articles in these pages and on about brothers and sisters all over the U.S. and Canada giving back to their communities. It's no accident.

We highlight these stories because they represent the values we share and exemplify the kind of society we aspire to be.

In this month's issue, you'll read about the young members of Local 1820 in Neptune, N.J., providing Thanksgiving meals to needy families. Brother Alexander Wilkins, who leads the RENEW/NextGen chapter there, said something that stuck with me. "We're lucky," he said. "We're in a union and we have all we need."

Now that may not be true for every one of us. We've all gone through tough times, but we're certainly better off than a lot of people who are struggling. And that means we can work even harder to give back to folks in need.

In Detroit, Local 58 volunteers partner with labor allies to feed the poor twice a month on Sundays, when soup kitchens are often closed. They've been doing it for four years, rain or shine (or three feet of snow). That kind of thing may not get talked about, but it matters to the people showing up for a hot meal. It matters to community leaders who notice which organizations they can count on. It builds the power of the IBEW while making a real difference.

Our RENEW/NextGen chapters are great examples of this giving spirit, but many of you have been volunteering for years — building Habitat for Humanity houses, raising money for United Way or March of Dimes or racing for a cure for cancer. Keep it up, and find new ways to give back too. The Brotherhood is stronger for it, and our communities are stronger for it. That's excellence on and off the job.


Also: Chilia: Raising the Stakes Read Chilia's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President