Only the best and brightest manufacturing workers have what it takes to assembly high-tech equipment at Northrop Grumman, one of the largest defense contractors in the world. With customers like NASA, the US Air Force, the Marines and the Navy, Northrop Grumman doesn’t just produce run-of-the-mill security products; their components are frequently used in war ships, aircraft, submarines and spacecraft, which means they must be built to withstand some of the most inhospitable environments in the universe.
IBEW 1245 is proud to represent the accomplished manufacturing workers at Northrop Grumman Marine Systems in Sunnyvale, CA.** These members work diligently to assemble missile launch systems, propulsion systems and power generation systems for naval submarines and surface ships. These skilled and meticulous workers take pride in their ability to manufacture components and systems that are at the cutting edge of defense and security technology, in a facility that has been operating for more than a century. Learn more about the plant’s history here.
“We Take Our Job Seriously”
IBEW 1245 member Elvira Bernal works as an Electrical Assembler at Northrop’s Sunnyvale plant, where she and her team fabricate heavy-duty cables for submarines and aircraft carriers. These cables transmit information to the different parts of the boat, and if they fail, the entire ship could be in jeopardy – so not only must they be fully functional, but they also must be able to withstand the elements of the deep, unforgiving ocean.
“We have to take every effort to make sure they’re perfect. They’re going to be in these units for 30, 40 maybe even 50 years, so we have to make them right, and we have to make them right the first time,” said Bernal. “We take pride in the work that we do. We know how important it is for the defense and safety of anyone who is at sea. We take our job very seriously.”
Local 1245 also represents the electricians that maintain and repair the tools and equipment used to craft these component parts.
“Any machine that has electrical problems, our crew takes care of it,” said Machine Tool Electrician John Coronel. “We troubleshoot it, we fix it, we order new parts if we need to.”
Coronel, who has worked at Northrop for 42 years — first as a machinist, then in construction, and now as an electrician — has watched the tools and technologies change quite a bit over the decades. It’s clear that he thoroughly enjoys the fact that his job gives him hands-on opportunities with such innovative, high-end equipment.
“These new Siemen’s controllers, they’re really top-of-the-line stuff,” he said. “It’s a joy to be able to work with it and learn it.”
The Northrop team, formerly members of IBEW 2131, appreciate the fact that they have the backing of IBEW 1245 on the job.
“I’m very proud to be a union member. My father was in a union, and my grandfather, and my brothers and sisters at one time were in a union as well. I wear my [IBEW] sweatshirt around a lot, and wherever I go, people come up to me and say, ‘hey, sister!’” said Bernal, who serves as the recorder for the manufacturing unit of IBEW 1245. “We see everyone as our brothers and sisters, which makes you feel good. We get good wages for what we do, and we’re protected, which is something a lot of people don’t have these days. I truly love the union.”
**Much of what goes on at Northrop Grumman is classified, and without the necessary security clearance, the Utility Reporter was unable to venture inside the plant.
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director
Photo by John Storey