The Electrical Worker online
October 2020

My IBEW Story
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Tony Brand, Retired Journeyman Lineman
Vancouver, B.C., Local 258

"In 1976, I was 17 and working the graveyard shift at McDonalds earning minimum wage. On advice from my dad, I got a commercial driver's license and took a temporary 3-day job for our provincial utility. It lasted more than three months, so I was able to apply for membership to Local 258, and I was accepted. It was the best decision I could have made.

As a permanent employee, my wages jumped 300%. I got a pension and other benefits. My family never had to worry about the costs of prescriptions, dental, medical and more. Over 40 years, we were able to save and buy a house. My children were able to get a higher education. I've been retired five years, and when I look back, the IBEW was the reason we enjoyed a great life and continue to do so.

I went on to serve as vice president and president of my local union, offices I never could have dreamed of at 17. If I learned anything, it's that every IBEW member is an organizer. Wear the logo proudly, talk to nonunion workers or call the local and make sure a staff organizer knows where to find them. Live up to the high standards of the Code of Excellence. Who knows? You could change someone's life just by telling them how good things could be with a union."