Business Manager’s Message — April 2023

Why Politics Matter

IBEW 11 Sisters & Brothers,

I’m writing this from Washington, D.C. where Building Trades leaders from around the country just heard from President Biden about the importance of our work to the future green economy. He also stressed his proud and continued commitment to organized labor.

That’s how important the labor movement is to Joe Biden. Just after announcing his 2024 re-election bid this week, the first place he came to was the North America Building Trades Union (NABTU) convention to address top union leaders from all 50 states.

I want that to sink in for a moment. In my 40+ years of union membership, we’ve never had a US president as committed to the labor movement as President Biden, nor one who has created as many construction projects that are now in the pipeline – tens of thousands of jobs that will keep our members busy for decades to come. And best of all, Joe Biden wears his bona fide union credentials proudly.

Every spring we come to the nation’s capital to meet with our IBEW brothers and sisters and to lobby our elected officials about important bills that affect the IBEW membership. Already, we’ve met with officials at the Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Transportation and our California delegation on Capitol Hill about upcoming construction projects in California. We are flexing the power of the IBEW and in turn, our representatives, many of whom we help elect, open their doors to listen to our concerns about jobs, safety, wage theft, pension erosion, inflation and other issues that affect you and your family.

California Politics

Closer to home, a delegation of 20 of our business reps from IBEW 11 spent time earlier this month in Sacramento talking to our elected officials there as part of the April kickoff to the state’s legislative season. Each year the California State Association of Electrical Workers convene in Sacramento, where we meet up with other IBEW locals around the state to discuss important bills being considered that will impact our membership.

Representing over 83,000 IBEW members from 27 locals around the state, the CSAEW is one of the most powerful union political groups in California. This year we hosted the three top contenders for Dianne Feinstein’s US Senate seat in 2024 who addressed the group – Rep. Adam Schiff (Burbank), Rep. Katie Porter (Orange County) and Rep. Barbara Lee (Oakland). Following their presentations, we voted overwhelmingly to endorse long-time labor friend Adam Schiff as our choice for the next US Senator from California.

Lobbying our Los Angeles-area representatives, delegates were able to experience firsthand the power of the united electrical unions to help create and sustain good-paying union jobs and protect workers’ rights in California.

One of this year’s main targets was AB 538 – introduced by Assemblymember Chris Holden – a bill that could destroy up to 1.1 million union jobs for our brothers and sisters in the utility sector. We are asking our members to take a moment and write to your elected officials about the negative impact of this bill.

As the Business Manager of one of the largest and most powerful IBEW locals in the state, I have had the honor of serving as Secretary/Treasurer of the CSAEW for the past several cycles. I am happy to report that I was re-elected to that position again, and will serve with returning President Tom Hansen, Business Manager of IBEW 302 in Martinez. We also welcome newly elected Jim Rush, Business Manager of IBEW 440, as our new Vice President. We also serve with 12 District area Business Managers and Sr. Asst. Business Managers, who represents locals from around the state, to ensure that every local’s voice and concerns are heard.

The influential CSAEW proves that we are truly stronger together. Together, we are improving the quality of life for our members and their families by flexing our muscles and making sure our concerns are addressed. That is the power of union. #StrongerTogether

I am honored to be your Business Manager. I work hard to earn your trust each and every day. My door is always open.

I look forward to seeing you on the job site!

In solidarity,

Joël Barton
IBEW 11 Business Manager

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