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November 2023

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Give Thanks and Give Back

No month captures the American spirit and all its contradictions quite like November. We go from election battles that are more heated than ever to a season of graciousness, generosity and good will, from Veterans Day to Thanksgiving.

It's no surprise that Thanksgiving tops the list of favorite holidays. With our Canadian brothers and sisters who celebrate Thanksgiving in October, we embrace kindness and community no matter how hard we fight for our beliefs.

The IBEW is steeped in those values. I am so proud to be part of a brotherhood and sisterhood that never stops giving back: building Habitat for Humanity homes; wiring homes for low-income families and women's shelters; running food, blood and coat drives; and so many other good works all year long.

Thanksgiving ushers in the ultimate season of giving, a whirlwind of IBEW turkey and toy drives and holiday meals for families who didn't expect to have anything special to eat, let alone a feast.

But food isn't the only nourishment we need at the holidays. This time of year can be lonely for many people, and that's why I was touched to see Los Angeles Local 11 and Riverside, Calif., Local 440 team up to encourage members to host an IBEW brother or sister for Thanksgiving dinner. A message from the locals says, "Through the Break Bread program, we hope to foster a supportive community where everyone feels valued and cared for."

Let's also remember our fellow union members who've been on the picket lines. As I write this, strikes by the Auto Workers, SAG-AFTRA and health care unions are ongoing, among other walkouts. Keep an eye out for opportunities to help make the holidays a little brighter for them, just like we know they'd do for us.

We have so much to be grateful for as IBEW members, and that list got even longer this year. Thanks to hundreds of billions of dollars pouring into cities and states under Biden administration programs, America's construction and manufacturing sectors are booming. Everywhere you look, projects are underway or soon will be — from new and expanded high-tech factories and assembly lines to roads, bridges, airports, transit systems, clean energy, grid resilience and other massive investments in infrastructure, all of it spurring hundreds of billions more dollars in private spending.

To keep those job-creating dollars flowing, we'll have to elect and reelect pro-worker leaders in 2024. But let's first sit down with one another around the Thanksgiving table and unite in celebrating our many blessings.


Also: Cooper: Welcoming Veterans Read Cooper's Column

Paul A. Noble

Paul A. Noble
International Secretary-Treasurer