2020 State of the (IBEW 569) Union
IBEW 569, Building and Construction Trade Unions, and our skilled and trained workforce stand strong to support local hire and local jobs, protect worker safety, create solid middle-class career paths, and deliver constructions projects that are on time and under budget.
The following State of the Union speech was given by IBEW 569 Business Manager Jeremy Abrams at our Union Meeting on February 12, 2020.
Welcome Brothers and Sisters – it is great to see all of you! Tonight, is our own State of the Union – where we outline the state of IBEW Local Union 569, our priorities and goals, and light the way forward for our union, our members, and our families.
At the forefront of our minds and our all of our 2020 efforts will be the negotiation of a new Inside Agreement and Contract.
I am pleased to announce the members of our 2020 Inside Negotiating Committee: Joe Heisler, Jose Martinez, David Saunders, Cory Hurley, Joe Page, William Stedham, and myself.
These members shall work for what is best for our members and represent a diverse cross section of our membership. From long standing local members to apprentices to travelers, and from San Diego to Imperial Valley, all are held in high regard and respected in the electrical field and among the brotherhood.
We sincerely thank all members that were interested in joining this Committee and look forward to collaborating in solidarity with all to negotiate the best contract for IBEW 569 members.
Part of the contract negotiation process will be engaging all of our members – collecting and reviewing your concerns and priorities – so please be sure to complete the 2020 Contract Survey! We were sure to include an open-ended section so that you can add anything we didn’t cover in the initial questions. Let’s make sure all of our members have their voice heard by talking with one another and making sure these surveys get completed – because the louder and more numerous our voice, the better our position will be to negotiate the best possible contract!
We have big work on the horizon – SDG&E projects; the new SDSU stadium; RIDA and the Chula Vista Bayfront Project, and we’re working to get more Project Labor Agreements to create local jobs and community benefits – like we did a couple months ago at Vista Unified School District, plus the new $3 Billion San Diego Airport Terminal 1 Project and the $3 Billion Pure Water Project – and the outstanding work to get a 10 year PLA on all future construction AND maintenance work with IID / Imperial Irrigation District. And we’ll continue our efforts to secure a PLA on major transit projects plus securing prevailing wage requirements on private developments that occur on public land, like at MTS.
Last year, our membership worked and logged over 4.6 million hours.
And in 2019, we welcomed 448 new brothers and sisters to our union, and organized 17 shops. IBEW 569 is standing strong with 3,394 members, of which 515 are apprentices and being trained to join you as the best in the electrical industry.
Our organizing efforts to sign more contractors is now a top priority of ALL staff, plus our Health and Welfare Office which is providing non-union contractors a great reason to become union and join one of the best healthcare plans in the country - and our members are pitching in too!
But we’re taking on even more effort to get more work for our members. For too long, we’ve lost work to non-union contractors that underbid projects with lowball wages and benefits – undercutting our contractors by skimming from workers wallets to line their pockets with more profit.
We’re going to call out these greedy developers and contractors and rise up to defend our work and industry. We’ve gotten a taste of this with the Symphony when we took to the streets last month to say #ShameOnTheSymphony! One hundred IBEW 569 members gathered outside Copley Hall to warn concert attendees of the harmful development practices of the Symphony's General Contractor that is killing good, local jobs!
And we’re making our voice heard at the state level among labor and management leaders in pharma development and construction that these jobs should go to local contractors with our 569 skilled and trained workforce.
Finally, we are actively reaching out to contractors to put the IBEW bug on all contractor vehicles – to boost pride and recognition of IBEW members and our work.
A big focus of mine has been better representation of our members. We have two full time Business Agents to ensure your concerns and issues are being addressed quickly. Additionally, every electrician or low volt journeymen on staff must have a state cert and be up to date on their training and certifications.
Additionally, we have taken extra effort to energize and strengthen our membership by providing more Steward support – including a first ever Stewards meeting in Imperial Valley - with the intention of putting more stewards into the field to better defend our membership and our contract.
We have also updated our dispatch procedures - all dispatches are visible online and everyone is dispatched in the morning - bringing more transparency and fairness to our hiring practices.
We’ve also invested more time into our apprentices during their orientation and Labor 101 courses to ensure that the next generation of IBEW 569 members and journey level electricians are strong union members. Additionally, when we rotate our apprentices to new contractors, we are providing and reviewing a copy of the contract that they are working under.
In 2019, our Electrical Training Institute organized 173 outreach events, and directly shared apprenticeship opportunities to ‘learn while you earn’ with 15,554 people!
We’re looking forward to 2020 and continuing to invest in our communities with solid electrical careers and lifelong learning!
IBEW 569 is also known for giving back to our communities – through our efforts with Rebuilding Together to upgrade the electrical systems of wounded veterans and families in high need, or our contributions to the Labor Food & Toy Drive, and the annual Diaper Drive with Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. And we’re going to continue these efforts and more with the help of our 569 clubs and committees like EWMC, RENEW, the United Sparkies, Alianza, and our Retirees Club.
It’s because of our collective community impact that others take notice and respect IBEW 569 - so please continue to give back and stay involved to build stronger communities.
Our Local celebrated a major milestone – we have now built over 2 GigaWatts of renewable energy in our jurisdiction including utility scale solar, wind and rooftop solar projects. These green energy projects are a win-win for our members and the community. They are reducing harmful climate pollution and putting IBEW members to work.
The outlook for renewable energy continues to be strong as we are tracking an additional 900 MegaWatts of renewable energy in our jurisdiction and over 2 GigaWatts energy storage. In fact, I’m happy to announce we recently signed a PLA on a 40 MegaWatt energy storage project in Fallbrook.
Clean Transportation projects like electric vehicle charging infrastructure are also generating more and more work for our members. We have now installed over 3,000 EV charging units and have thousands more in the works. We helped MTS go green by building out the charging infrastructure for their very first electric buses. And, we are working with allies throughout the state to urge the California Air Resources Board to adopt a strong Advanced Clean Trucks standard, the first of its kind in the nation. Again, these are projects that put our members to work and benefit our communities by reducing air and climate pollution.
Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back critical worker, environmental and public health protections to benefit corporations, in California, we continue to push forward on climate and clean energy progress and this Local will continue to be on the leading-edge of shaping key policies and organizing this work for our members.
LONG TERM GOALS
Our long term goals are to:
- Increase IBEW 569’s market share to 50%.
- Organize 90% of State Certified electricians and 10 C-10 contractors in Imperial County.
- Elect pro-union majorities in schools, cities and transportation agencies throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties.
- And capture 50% of electric vehicle charging and distributed generation energy storage work and 90% of utility-scale renewables and energy storage projects.
I want to thank our Executive Board for their tremendous work to keep our union strong. Each of them volunteers countless hours to make sure IBEW stays strong and our members get the benefits, recognition, and representation you deserve.
I also want to thank our IBEW 569 staff. Much of our accomplishments are attributed to their hard work. We’ve got some of the best minds on our staff, and they are dedicated to growing our union and getting more work for our members.
2019 was a great year and we’re heading into 2020 as a stronger Local thanks to YOU and your hard work! We’re going to need your help to keep our momentum going. By continuing to rely on one another as our family, and showing solidarity, we’ll get more work for our members and continue being the best in the industry.
Thank you, again, and let’s power up 2020!