Business Manager’s Message — November 2022

Happy Holidays!

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Happy holidays! I hope everyone had a terrific Thanksgiving and is now gearing up for the December holiday season. It’s the season of giving, for family, for community and for those in need. Your union family wishes you a very happy season. I know a lot of the district offices are hosting holiday parties and get-togethers, so we hope you will participate in those as well.

I want to thank all the volunteers with the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC), which hosted an amazing food and clothing giveaway during the National Day of Service on Skid Row on Nov. 19, helping over 900 needy families. You can read about it in this edition of News@11. We partnered with the LA County Federation of Labor, and Labor Community Services, along with IBEW Locals 18 and 477 to feed families who are experiencing food insecurity.

The EWMC is also hosting drop-off boxes at various district offices. Don’t forget to drop off a new, unwrapped toy to help brighten a young child’s holiday season.

You Made Your Voice Heard

IBEW 11 participated in a big way in the recent mid-term election, and we have much to be proud of. Not only did our members turn out to vote in great numbers, they also volunteered to Get Out the Vote, making sure their neighbors and friends and family voted as well. As a result, the anticipated national “red wave” that would have been brutal for labor unions, never materialized.

I am proud to say that two important local measures we co-sponsored passed resoundingly and will provide our members with thousands of jobs for years to come – the $5.3 billion community college bond measure, and Measure ULA, the millionaire’s tax initiative that will provide at least $600 million each year to reduce homelessness and provide more affordable housing.

We all know the homeless crisis in our city has reached epidemic proportions. Today, there are some 42,000 people living on the streets in LA, while hundreds of thousands more spend half their income on rent. IBEW 11 recognized early on that we could be part of the solution. We joined together with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council along with homeless and housing experts to craft the United to House LA (ULA) initiative that creates a steady stream of funding each year to finally tackle our affordable housing crisis. ULA will begin by converting vacant hotels and apartment buildings for homeless use. It will also provide thousands of jobs for our members who will be working on these projects.

IBEW 11 also co-sponsored Measure LA, the much-needed $5.3 billion community college construction bond. Our nine aging community college campuses are in desperate need of modernization and repair. The money will be used for infrastructure and technology upgrades and to make improvements throughout the system. There will be much work for our members – converting interior and exterior lights to LED lighting, upgrading battery storage, converting utilities to electric, EV charging stations and more.

National Apprenticeship Week

During National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 14-20, we were pleased to host Andrew Meredith, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, on Thursday, Nov. 17 and show him around the ETI, one of the largest and best apprenticeship programs in the country. Meredith, who is an electrician by trade, was very impressed with our facility, with our teachers and staff, and most of all, with the apprentices who make it all happen.

Meredith noted that apprentices are the future, and more are needed to fulfill all the work we have on deck from those created by President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill, which will give us jobs for decades to come, to the local bond and housing measures we just passed that will create thousands of additional jobs.

On the jobs front, the out-of-work list has grown due to construction projects being postponed, supply chain issues and rising interest rates. As you know, November and December are typically slow as we celebrate holidays and take time off to be with family. There are many projects in the works, and we expect calls to pick up in the first quarter. 

And finally, I want to welcome the LA County Federation of Labor’s new president, Yvonne Wheeler. I’ve known Yvonne for many years, working together on many LA labor union projects and initiatives that help working families over the years. I’ve seen first-hand the wonderful work she has done for her members across the labor movement, and I wish her much luck in her new job.

In solidarity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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