Business Manager’s Message — March 2022

Protecting Your Contracts

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

March has been a busy month here at IBEW 11. In addition to ramping up for the upcoming political season, making sure you’re safe on the job, and all the other work we do on behalf of our members, it’s contract season. We’re currently negotiating one contract and preparing for our next two coming up soon.

To effectively negotiate these contracts, we need your input. You’re in the field every day and know where our contracts can be strengthened. We have set up a “Contracts Proposal” page on our website, on the home page. We hope you will use it.

First up are the CE/CW negotiations. That contract expires at the end of May, and already we are deep in negotiations. I, along with IBEW business managers from across the Southern California 9th District, have been meeting with NECA, which represents the contractors. We are preparing to exchange proposals with NECA in the next few weeks.

As usual this round, wages and benefits will be on the table for our CE/CW members, along with updates and improvements to the IBEW’s Market Advancement Initiative (MAI). The MAI’s were adopted by the IBEW a decade ago to allow new opportunities for employment for our members and underserved communities by allowing signatory contractors to compete on private sector and residential work. We expect to reach a tentative agreement by early June when we will bring the contract before the unit for a ratification vote.

In addition, the Inside Wireman and Intelligent Transportation negotiations will be coming up soon. Those contracts expire June 30. We should be starting negotiations in late April. As Business Manager, I am part of all of these negotiating committees, backstopped by your President Rusty Roten. Both Rusty and I have many years of experience negotiating these contracts, so you can rest assured you are in good hands.

I’m proud of the contracts we’ve negotiated on behalf of the membership under my administration – regular raises, increased pension and healthcare contributions, better safety on the job, and additional funds toward ongoing training. We are a family, and we take our responsibility seriously. Some of our battles against the contractors have been hard-fought, but we haven’t had to go on strike.

Politics is on the Agenda

Recently, your Political Director Antonio Sanchez and I attended the California Democratic Party convention, where delegates voted for our collective endorsements. The delegates from across the state agreed on many of the candidates, with 60% plus needed to ratify. IBEW 11 will be making its own endorsements, ensuring the best representation for our members. As I’ve discussed in the past, our endorsements are one of the most powerful tools we have as trade unionists, and we spend considerable time and energy on the process. We interview candidates and make sure their interests align with ours before making any endorsements.

We will soon be calling on you to phone bank and precinct walk on behalf of these endorsed candidates. Why? Because it gives us political power to vote as a bloc. We have an open door to these politicians when we need legislative relief. Because we have a history of working together, IBEW 11 is well respected at City Hall, in Sacramento and in Washington, DC.

Look no further than our own Michael Fong who was just elected in the 49th Assembly District in a recent Special Election. As a 20-year city worker and member of the EAA and IBEW 11, Mike will be a good steward for our local and a man who understands the needs of our membership. Mike will be a good friend in Sacramento.

In other news, save the date for our annual IBEW 11 blowout picnic on August 6, to be held once again at Hollywood Sports Park. Details will be coming soon.

Two special shout outs I want to mention here: Congratulations and a special mention to IBEW 11 President Emeritus Dean Todd, who just received his 50-year pin at our March membership meeting. And another shout out to IBEW 11 member Tommy Faave who has been working with authorities at the port to help clear up the backlog of containers, thereby helping to relieve supply chain problems at our jobsites.

As always, I am honored to serve you. My door is always open. I will see you at the jobsite!

In unity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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