By Kelly Hartog
Members of IBEW Local 11 were among the hundreds of LA County union workers who attended a rally and press conference to support the No on Recall campaign against California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Held at the parking lot of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, in downtown Los Angeles, the rally prompted L.A. Fed President Ron Herrera to declare “Now we’re taking on a new fight, a fight that directly attacks workers and union members that can severely hurt us in the future.”
With more than 800,000 union members across over 300 affiliates, Herrera pledged that the L.A. Fed would play a significant role in defeating the recall. “We will preserve democracy in the greatest state of our nation. Los Angeles will be the anchor of this campaign. Los Angeles will be the reason that this recall gets shut down,” he said.
Local 11 plans to be a key part of that shut down. Business Manager Joel Barton noted that by signing AB 841, Newsom has worked with IBEW to fund and promote an unprecedented expansion of the state’s electrical vehicle charging infrastructure. He also praised Newsom for making California a leader in fighting climate change “and ensuring that the green economy creates thousands of good paying blue collar union jobs.”
By declaring construction workers essential workers during the COVID pandemic, Barton said Newsom ensured “we were allowed to work through this pandemic, and keep earning a living for our families. He passed legislation to protect us while we’re on the job. If he is recalled, we will lose everything.”
Other Local 11 officers were equally vocal in their praise of the governor.
“He has seen the diversity of our state, and he is absolutely a proponent of giving every human being an opportunity to better themselves to become successful and a valuable person of the community,” said President Rusty Roten. “Our union is very thankful for that.”
Recording Secretary Christine Austria-Lozoya said that keeping Newsom in office is an investment in the present as well as in the future.
“He is all about pushing for a green environment, and I’m not going to be here forever,” said Austria-Lozoya. “So my kids, my grandkids and my great-grandkids are all going to be a part of that when they grow up. If we recall him, I don’t know who’s going to be taking that seat or what their agenda is. I can’t take that chance.”
“Thanks to Governor Newsom, I’ve been able to continue to feed my family,” added Business Rep Shomari Davis. “I have two boys in college. I’ve got to make sure that my kids are able to do the things that fulfill the American dream that we all talk about, that it’s getting harder and harder to achieve.”
Saturday’s rally also included remarks by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, L.A. City Council 9th District Member Curren Price, L.A. County Democratic Party Chair Mark Gonzales, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.