For the past year and a half, I’ve had the great fortune of working on the new addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In the first two years of my electrical apprenticeship with IBEW Local 11, I worked on small jobs for small shops that had a very limited scope of work, so there weren’t very many aspects of the trade I had exposure to, much to my disappointment.
At a time when income inequality is rising and the middle class is shrinking, Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 and the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council are doing their part to help working families not only survive, but thrive in the face of significant economic obstacles. The Southern California-based unions operate the National City Park Apartments, which support low- to moderate-income families by providing affordable housing in a nice, but expensive, neighborhood.
Over the next few months, we'll be following the story of Hannah Cooper, an apprentice with Electrical Workers (IBEW). Check out her first entry below:
My entire life my mother has been a union electrician—a fact of life I never thought to question. It was where she spent her days while I was growing up, and it gave her the means to support our family. Although I understood and in my own way appreciated this fact, it never once occurred to me when considering potential career paths. I had this idea that I was going to make a career for myself in the arts and spend my time traveling the world as a dancer—maybe do some part-time modeling for supplemental income—acquire a bachelor's degree at a four-year university back East and maybe try to join a dance company. This was the plan anyways, from my early years of childhood up through the first half of my senior year of high school, when I realized I didn’t want to be a dancer anymore. I stopped showing up to my college auditions, completely throwing a wrench in the plan.
Members of the Reagan High School band stopped rush hour traffic yesterday in front of the federal building in Austin, Texas, along with hundreds of advocates, community leaders, families and construction workers, as they celebrated the Workers Defense Project’s (WDP's) biannual Day of the Fallen.
Hundreds of Omaha, Neb., area residents worked up a sweat to raise money for the Omaha-area Energy Assistance Program. Union members from Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals 1483 and 1521 and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) Local 70-558 participated in the Heartland Walk for Warmth.
The recently opened Chobani yogurt plant—the world’s largest—in Twin Falls, Idaho, and several major construction projects—including a new steel mill—in the Youngstown, Ohio, area have been a boon for the skilled Electrical Workers (IBEW) members there who have been a blessing for the construction managers tasked with getting the jobs done quickly and efficiently.
This year's winner of the Electrical Workers' (IBEW's) annual photo contest, Bill DeClement, from Folsom, N.J., Local 351, took home first place for his photo of two IBEW members riding in a "window rig at about 7 a.m. one morning in Atlantic City when a blanket of fog rolled in, swaddling the ocean and city below." The photo was taken from the highest Atlantic City building, the Revel Casino.
More than 1,500 people rallied Tuesday on Capitol Hill in support of working families and to tell Congress not to make any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They also told Congress to close tax loopholes for big corporations and the wealthiest 2% and to prevent the sequester from going into effect and harming the country. Throughout the rally, working families spoke with a unified voice calling for "jobs, not cuts."
In New Orleans this Super Bowl week, there are plenty of fans sporting 49ers' red and gold caps and jerseys and Ravens' purple and black gear. But there also are thousands of union members—including many from unions in the Greater New Orleans AFL-CIO (GNO)—who proudly display their union label and are making the game possible and the fan experience in the Crescent City run smoothly.