News@11: Members Speak Out – Meet the Local 11 members working on the Hallasan Tower in Koreatown
I’ve been in IBEW 11 for almost 10 years after working non-union for the previous 20 years. The union’s been a wonderful experience. The pay, the benefits. I’m kicking myself I didn’t do it sooner. But best of all is the camaraderie, the brotherhood. I’m not negotiating on my own. I have 11,000 men and women strong behind me.
I’ve been working on this job for last two-and-a-half years, and it’s nice to have that kind of job security. I came to HMK because I wanted to build skylines. I drive into work and can see the buildings I’ve worked on from 50 miles away. There’s a real sense of pride in that. We organized 15 guys into the union on this job. I can’t express how valuable the union is to me. Unions are how you build the middle class.
I’ve been on this job for seven months doing layout, receptacles, fire alarms. I like being mobile, changing jobsites, learning new stuff. I’m the first in my family to get into the trades. All women can do this. It’s hard work, but I love bumping elbows with the guys, showing them what we can do. Women bring a lot to the trades. We’re more detail-oriented.
I’m a single dad. But because of the union and the great pay and benefits, I was able to purchase my first home. I didn’t join until five years ago in my 40s, and I wish I had done it sooner. I used to pay $500 a month for medical and now all it costs me is a $5 co-pay at Kaiser.
My favorite part of the job? Being outdoors, and always on the move. I’ve been working on this project for two years now, and I’m still learning. There’s something different on every floor. I worked for many years as non-union electrician. The union’s been great. My son is a CW working on this project now. I hope he gets into the apprenticeship program and joins the union.