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November 2018

From the Officers
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Coming Together

By the time you read this column, one of most historic midterm elections of our lifetime will be upon us.

First off, I want to thank every member who volunteered their precious and limited time to make phone calls, to knock on doors, to talk to their co-workers about the importance of getting out the vote.

I also want to thank every IBEW member who was willing to go one step beyond and run for higher office themselves. Some of you are celebrating your victory right now and some of you fell short this time around, but win or lose, you have a made vital contribution to democracy and the IBEW.

Of course, not everyone in the IBEW agrees with me about politics. Whenever I start talking elections, there is always a member or two who raises the same question: "Why don't we mind our own business and keep our political opinions to ourselves?"

Or as one brother posted to our Facebook page: "I'm in the union for the benefits, not so you can tell me how to think and vote."

We are a diverse union and I do not expect everyone to agree with me on every issue.

But every member does have a responsibility, as both a good trade unionist and citizen, to do their homework and make their own decision. Your vote on Nov. 6 is your choice.

And that is exactly what President Stephenson and I do every election cycle. We do the research, look at where each candidate stands on the issues that matter to us as IBEW members and then talk to you about what we have found.

And as much as we would like to stay out of the messy world of politics, abstaining is not an option. When someone like Scott Walker passes a right-to-work law, or Donald Trump appoints individuals opposed to basic workers' rights to the National Labor Relations Board, it hurts our ability as a union to fight and win things like good benefits that our members and their families can count on.

As someone once said, you can ignore politics, but politics will not ignore you. It would be a dereliction of my duty to let politicians committed to eradication of the labor movement and every good thing we have won in the 20th century waltz into the halls of power without us putting up a fight.

Whatever your personal philosophy or party registration, the IBEW is an important part of your life. We all want to see more politicians committed to working with us — not against us. And regardless who wins on Election Day, we will continue to hold every lawmaker — Republican and Democrat alike — accountable to the promises they make.


Also: Stephenson: Strength Through Organizing Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer