The Electrical Worker online
September 2020

From the Officers
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Organize Every Day

If my 35 years in the IBEW have taught me anything, it's that every single member of this union can be an organizer.

Every time we tell a young person about the opportunities available in the IBEW, we're organizing. Every time we share a positive story about how the IBEW has taken care of us or our families with quality health care and a secure retirement, every time we see a working person struggling and let them know there's a better way, that's working to grow this union.

In this month's issue, you'll read about a group of security guards at the Tennessee Valley Authority who saw a story in this very newspaper and reached out to the members at Manchester, N.H., Local 2320 who do similar work at the Seabrook Nuclear Plant.

Today, they've got a new local union, Chattanooga, Tenn., Local 911, and a more powerful voice on the job.

They have their new IBEW sisters and brothers partly to thank. The TVA didn't interfere with the campaign because of the example set by the thousands of other IBEW members who work at and for TVA under a groundbreaking Code of Excellence agreement.

That's another way you organize every day, even if you don't think about it. Show up and give 100% effort, live by the principles of the Code of Excellence. Believe me, employers take notice, and, like TVA, they might not be as resistant when the union comes knocking.

In Maine, it was our Family Medical Care Plan that recently brought in a nonunion screen printer's owners, who were seeking to provide quality health care and expand their business opportunities in New England. Today, their employees are members of Augusta, Maine, Local 2327.

At the beginning of this month we held our annual Membership Development Conference, although being virtual it looked a little different this year than it has in the past. But just as every other year, I'm constantly amazed by the creativity and passion of the professional and volunteer organizers across this brotherhood.

This pandemic has required a lot of rethinking how we do things, but it's also revealed just how many workers across North America need a union. Countless studies show how much better union workers have fared during these extremely challenging times.

Today, it's up to each of us to go out and be organizers every day and to work hard to extend the protection, solidarity and opportunity that the IBEW can provide to even more working families.


Also: Stephenson: A Seat at the Table Read Stephenson's Column

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer