Business Manager’s Message — August 2022

The Importance of Politics

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

I spent much of last week in Sacramento, meeting with Governor Newsom and other legislators. We were there not only to push our legislative agenda, but also to let the governor know that we are on board with his climate initiatives to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and that we will do all we can to support them – for the good of the environment, and on behalf of good jobs for our membership. The legislative session ends this week, and several of our staff members accompanied me, helping to lobby our elected officials in the final weeks of the legislative session to pass important jobs bills that we’re sponsoring or supporting.

On Aug. 24, I met with Gov. Newsom is a special, intimate meeting with just 10 of us in the room. In addition to me representing IBEW, there was a representative from the Plumbers union, and officials from several environmental groups. We were there to discuss the governor’s clean climate agenda which includes greenhouse gas reductions and clean electricity initiatives. His clean energy package will not only help save the planet from the dangerous warming trends we’re seeing around the country, but it will also create thousands of good-paying jobs for IBEW members around the state as we build out thousands of EV charging stations. California is a leader in climate change legislation, and we are proud to stand with the governor on these issues. It is a win-win for all of us who care about handing off a healthy planet to our children and grandchildren.

It’s no secret that we must move away from gas-powered vehicles, and toward renewable resources. At the IBEW, we are looking to the future. It’s important for us to be key players at the table, instead of late players who are on the menu.

Not all of our building trades partners are with us on this issue, but we feel strongly enough that we are backing the governor 100% on his legislation and will do all we can to help get this legislative package passed. We will bring all the resources of the IBEW and our partners in this endeavor to the fore. We will be contacting you about how you can help get this environmental package across the finish line.

Kudos to our enthusiastic IBEW 11 staff who jumped in at the last minute to join me in Sacramento to talk to our legislators. Thanks to Shomari Davis, Jacob Troncoza, Tommy Zielomski, and Chris Longoria who staked out turf in the capitol Rotunda and contacted our legislators letting them know that we needed to talk to them. When our elected officials emerged from their legislative session, we told them in no uncertain terms that we respect and support the governor’s leadership on this issue. Climate change is affecting everyone, and we need to be on board for future generations.

Other Bills

We are also supporting Prop 30, the Clean Cars and Clean Air Act, one of our highest priority bills this session. This statewide proposition will tax billionaires to help create more electric vehicles and thousands of charging stations around the state. The governor is not with us on this one, but we will continue pursuing this bill. We will be setting up a letter-writing campaign in support of Prop. 30 and will be reaching out to our membership to write their elected officials to push the measure. We believe it will be a game-changer in California’s environmental movement.

I can’t stress enough the importance of politics in all that we do at the IBEW. As we often say in the labor movement, one stroke of the pen can undo 50 years of work – overtime protection, OSHA safety rules, climate legislation and more.

On another note, I want to thank all our members who turned out to our annual picnic. We had a great time this year and experienced our best turnout ever!

I also want to mention that on Oct. 18-19, our International President Lonnie Stephenson will be coming to Los Angeles to attend Industry Night for our 2022 apprentices. We are honored that President Stephenson has also accepted our invitation to attend our general membership meeting. Let’s be sure to give him a great big IBEW 11 welcome to Los Angeles!

Finally, I would like to wish you and yours a happy, safe and healthy Labor Day on September 5. Labor Day is a holiday that celebrates the contributions of working men and women like all of you. Organized labor built this country and continues to do so today. So however you choose to spend this workers’ holiday, take pride in the fact that – as a union member – you are part of America’s most important brotherhood and sisterhood.

In solidarity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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