District 4 Rep Marc Greenfield and District 5’s Mitch Klein Share a Bond
By Evan Henerson
Many years ago, when they went through the Local 11 Apprenticeship Program together, Mitch Klein made a point of always sitting next to Marc Greenfield.
“He was the smart one in the class,” Klein said of Greenfield.
“I copied off someone else, of course,” replied Greenfield with a laugh.
The easy banter between the two longtime Local 11 members is understandable. They’re professional colleagues, with Greenfield serving as the local’s business rep for District 4 (covering the San Fernando Valley) while Klein is the business rep for District 5 (Palmdale and the high desert). But the two L.A. natives have known each other since long before they started their journeys with Local 11.
Greenfield’s and Klein’s fathers were classmates at Roosevelt High School, and they stayed friends as they grew older and started their families. A large group of friends that included both families would get together on a regular basis, often at Greenfield’s house, as his was the one with the swimming pool. The families stayed close and the bond between the Kleins and the Greenfields solidified even further when the two dads — both of whom were named Arnold — moved into the trade.
“What are the chances of two men going through life together, of our fathers having the same name, and we both became electricians like them?” said Klein. “It’s crazy. Marc and I played together as little kids. We were in Indian Guides together, Boy Scouts. We went to different schools, but we always stayed friends, and of course our fathers were electricians.
“We got to a point in our lives where it was like, ‘OK, what are we going to do with the rest of our lives?’ Our fathers were hammering down on us, so we thought maybe we should become electricians.’”
That’s exactly what they both did, turning out as inside wiremen and entering the profession as union electricians. Over the years, they have worked together on several projects (both served as foremen while working on the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena) and both eventually deepened their involvement with Local 11. Klein was a member of the Local 11 Examining Board and Greenfield served three terms on the Local 11 Executive Board. Ultimately, they joined the union’s administration as business reps.
“Our job is basically to keep everybody happy. We police the agreement and help our contractors,” Klein said. “We try to keep things light-hearted. Marc is a very funny person, and I am too. We have different personalities, but we still click.”
These days, Greenfield and Klein interact on a regular basis, whether conducting union business, at meetings or at conventions. The next generation of Greenfields and Kleins don’t socialize much; Klein had daughters and Greenfield had sons (both of whom, their proud father notes, are also Local 11 electricians).
And after all these years and all this shared history, do Mitch Klein and Marc Greenfield still find time to hang out together during off-hours?
“We get enough of each other during the week,” said Greenfield, with a laugh.