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September 2020

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A Seat at the Table

In this month's cover story, you'll read about the New Jersey Wind Port, a multimillion-dollar project that seeks to position the Garden State as a leader in offshore wind power while supporting thousands of good manufacturing and construction jobs in the rapidly growing clean energy industry.

Because of our partnership with Gov. Phil Murphy — a strong supporter of organized labor and a friend of the IBEW — these jobs promise to be good, union jobs, the kind that build and sustain the middle class.

Climate change represents a genuine threat to the future of our planet, and transitioning to a carbon-free economy is no longer a question of if, but when.

This has meant a lot of pain for some of our members, particularly those who've had to go through difficult coal plant closures. We've worked hard to make those transitions as gentle as possible, and we will continue to do that.

But we must also be leaders in this energy revolution, positioning ourselves to capture the opportunities from emerging green industries like solar, wind and carbon-capture. If we don't, we risk missing out on this opportunity to grow the IBEW and we could be left behind while others claim our jobs.

In New Jersey, because of our partnership with Gov. Murphy, we're leading the revolution, and that means jobs for our members and all working people.

It's a model that can be replicated on the federal level if we elect Joe Biden the next president of the United States.

This summer, Vice President Biden laid out a bold plan to transition the U.S. off of carbon-emitting power over the long term. But it's not just a clean-energy blueprint, it's a massive investment in union jobs.

Under a Biden administration, investments in green power will support American jobs and American businesses. And he'll make sure they are good jobs by strictly enforcing pro-worker protections like prevailing wage and supporting the right of every clean power worker to organize and collectively bargain.

Some politicians like to talk about supporting unions but then don't bother listening to us when it comes to developing actual policy. Joe Biden couldn't be more different. That's why his clean energy plan is so pro-union and pro-jobs.

Joe Biden invited labor leaders, myself included, to serve on his energy task force. He listened to our concerns and he put jobs front and center.

President Trump talked a big game about helping workers and saving industries, but at every turn he's shut us out, caving to anti-union politicians and corporate special interests.

There is an old saying in the labor movement: "Either you're at the table, or you're on the menu."

The IBEW and the labor movement will have a seat at the table in a Biden administration, and that's why we're working harder than ever to make him the 46th president of the United States.


Also: Cooper: Organize Every Day Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President