The Electrical Worker online
October 2020

From the Officers
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Make a Plan to Vote Today

By the time you read this, sisters and brothers, we'll be less than one month away from the most critical election of our lifetimes.

We know you've heard us say it before, but it's no exaggeration. Four more years of the current White House and a single day more with Mitch McConnell running the U.S. Senate could deal a fatal blow to the labor movement as we know it.

We remember the promises Donald Trump made to workers in 2016. We wanted to believe him, too. But the results are in: Working people are worse off since he took office.

Five million jobs have disappeared since Jan. 20, 2017, and, yes, the pandemic is largely to blame. But as we write this, the president and Senate Republicans are still blocking extended unemployment benefits and new stimulus payments that would be a lifeline for millions of desperate Americans. They're also refusing emergency funds for state and local governments, forcing them to make drastic budget cuts that have cost nearly 2 million jobs already. The impact on tens of thousands of IBEW public sector jobs is still up in the air.

Over the past four years, the president's power to appoint the National Labor Relations Board, choose who runs the Labor Department and OSHA, and fill hundreds of federal judgeships has had devastating effects for workers and their families. Not even the pandemic has swayed their anti-worker agenda. In fact, the NLRB decided this summer that the deadliest virus in 100 years wasn't reason enough to allow unions to reopen contracts and bargain safety and health standards specific to COVID-19.

The president pledged repeatedly to revive manufacturing and the coal industry and to spend billions on infrastructure, projects that would employ our members and hundreds of thousands of others in the building trades.

It's been all talk and no action, and the president has given us no reason to believe that anything will change in a second term.

By contrast, Joe Biden has concrete plans to stop the pandemic and build back an American economy that actually works for working people. We know because we've been a key part of the process for months. The former vice president brought the IBEW in and listened to what we have to say, and his policies reflect that.

In the Senate, McConnell is one of the most loyal and powerful allies that anti-union corporations ever had. He's shot down every piece of pro-worker legislation passed by the House, installed hundreds of federal judges openly hostile to workers' rights and refused to fill Democratic vacancies on the NLRB.

As long as he's allowed to stand in the way, working Americans will never get a fair shot at a better life.

Senate races in Colorado, Arizona, Maine, Iowa and North Carolina will determine whether he remains in power. Even Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina are in play. If we vote, we win.

That goes for statehouses, too, where lawmakers will be redrawing legislative boundaries next year, and where Republicans have used laser-like precision to rig the system and stay in power.

After the last census, Republicans in Wisconsin gerrymandered the state so badly that they hold 63% of the Legislature despite the overwhelming majority of votes going to Democrats in 2018. If you think that's democracy, we've got a bridge to sell you.

So, here's how we fight back: We vote.

We vote early. We vote by mail. We vote in person. We make sure our friends and families vote. We make sure our union sisters and brothers vote.

It's critical to do our research now and leave nothing to chance. Are you registered to vote? Are you still on the voter rolls? Has your polling place changed? Do you know how to get a mail ballot?

Even if you've voted in every election since you were 18 years old, you've got to be sure you haven't been dropped. That's one way that Republican lawmakers in some states are making it as hard as possible for people to vote.

In 2018, Brian Kemp was the secretary of state in Georgia, responsible for the integrity of elections. He was also the Republican nominee for governor. Before the election, he purged 313,234 voters from the rolls. Nearly 200,000 turned out to be registered, legitimate voters, but it was too late. Kemp won his rigged race by just 55,000 votes.

The same thing may be happening in your state, so it's urgent to check your status. It's quick and easy at, where you can also register if needed and request a mail ballot. On the back page of this issue, there's also a graphic to help guide you to your state's voter resources.

Now is the time to cast our ballots and stop the attacks on workers' rights, jobs, and financial security.

We're counting on you. Our future is riding on what we all do between now and Nov. 3.

Edwin D. Hill

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President

Kenneth W. Cooper

Kenneth W. Cooper
International Secretary-Treasurer