At its June election, IBEW Local 11 welcomed a new seven-member executive board. The electees are a blend of new faces and familiar names who share a common vision of working tirelessly to represent the great members of Local 11. In this edition of News@11, we introduce you to Tom Sterrett, Crystal Herrera and Benjamin Frank.
By her own admission, Crystal Herrera loves building things, and, through her endeavors, she is working to help physically build structures within the city and also to create community throughout Local 11. A native of Pico Rivera, Herrera grew up within a family of educators, but she chose a different path. Deciding to enter the building trades, Herrera started her apprenticeship in 2014 and found herself the only woman in her boot camp.
As an inside wireman for Johnson-Peltier, Herrera has worked at LAX, at a pharmaceutical plant in La Verne, at the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant, and at several refineries. Ramping up her union involvement with the union practically from the moment she became a member, she has taken positions with the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus and the Local 11 chapter of Reach Out and Engage Next-Gen Electrical Workers (RENEW).
“I’m definitely here to learn,” said Herrera. “I want to gain experience, especially as a young woman and a person of color. We’re trying to build the IBEW future that we want, and I definitely believe that all of those demographics deserve to be represented. I look forward to working with this and future administrations to make IBEW Local 11 the best it can be.”
The June election marks Benjamin Frank’s second go-round on the Local 11 Executive Board. A 10-year member, Frank also worked as an organizer out of District 4. A general foreman with Rosendin Electric, Frank has worked on everything from high-rises to solar projects. “I’ve done it all,” he said. “I’ve had a good experience within this local.”
Frank said that his life might have turned out differently had he not discovered the benefits of life spent under the Local 11 umbrella. He went from a troubled background to a pre-apprenticeship program and then into apprenticeship program which Frank called “the best kept secret there is.” After completing his apprenticeship, he rose through the ranks to become a foreman followed by a general foreman.
Thanks to the union, a member gets great healthcare, benefits, pension, an annuity and the ability to provide for one’s family.
In returning to the e-board, Frank has one goal: to serve the membership and make the local stronger. “I will always work to make things better, to be more progressive,” he said. “I want to bring solidarity to the local, for sure.”
Local 11 members will quickly associate the name Tom Sterrett with instruction, leadership, and, often, both. A general foreman for 13 years with O’Bryant Electric, Sterrett also served as a project general foreman for Unison Electric. On the union side, he has been a business representative for Local 11 and an organizer whose success with the Electrolux campaign in Memphis and Baltimore Gas and Electric earned him letters of acknowledgement from International Vice President Brent E. Hall, President Lonnie Stephenson and Vice President Kenneth Cooper, respectively
Members who have taken classes at the Electrical Training Institute (ETI) will certainly be familiar with Sterrett, who was a full-time day instructor at the ETI from 2014 to 2016 and has been a senior instructor there since 2018.
Of his new responsibility with the Local 11 Executive Board, Sterrett said he welcomes the challenge.
“I am pleased, proud and honored to have been elected to serve our membership with practical fiduciary responsibilities as my top priority,” he said.