President’s Message – June 2022

Contracts, Strikes and IBEW Local 11

Brothers and Sisters,

This year has an unusual number of collective bargaining agreements coming to term and as part of our responsibility (labor), we are to negotiate with our counterparts (management) and come to new and agreeable terms. Historically, we gather proposals, sift through them and select what will enhance and improve our wages and working conditions. Meetings are scheduled and proposals from both sides are handed to each other and discussed. As these meetings progress, the local attempts to guess when an appropriate time might be to have the membership gather for a vote. Various venues are contacted to see what dates and times are available and then the local books the location and time. If, however, no information or contract proposal is offered, then obviously different circumstances will bring about different concerns and emotions.

Local 11 has a very large membership and, with that, a very broad variety of perspectives and beliefs. Some members are more accepting of the situation and others are more emotional. All in all, each one of us has the responsibility to listen and learn. Take time and think about all the repercussions. The worst-case scenario is to have to strike. If the membership votes to strike, then we all have a whole lot of things to think about. The members’ regular stream of income is stopped (because you are no longer going to work) and you will have to all, collectively, serve on picket duty.

Local 11 has been on strike only once. In 1981, Local 11 went on strike for six weeks. Back then, there was only the Inside Wireman’s agreement. Today we have Traffic Signal, Sound and Communications, Residential, Railroad Maintenance and CE/CW agreements in addition to the Inside Wireman’s agreement. A strike today would be much more complex than what took place in 1981.

The result of the 1981 strike was a mere .25 cent increase to the original proposal of $6.10 over two years. Also, back then Local 11’s market share was much stronger than it is today.

With all that I am bringing to you, my hope is that each one of you will make a more informed decision for your future and the future of IBEW Local 11.

As always, if you have any questions, please contact your business agents or you can call my office and talk with me. Thank you for the privilege to serve you all.

In Solidarity,

Gaylord R. “Rusty” Roten 
President/ Senior Assistant Business Manager 

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