Service, involvement, action
Electrical Workers Minority Caucus
The Electrical Worker’s Minority Caucus held its 22nd Annual Leadership conference at the Oakland Marriot on January 12-15.
The conference brought together a diverse group of over 380 IBEW members from around the country. IBEW 1245 was particularly well represented in conference activities, with 61 attendees. IBEW Local 1245 members also lent a hand in providing logistics and manpower for the Conference Registration Committee and the community “Day of Service” project, and participating in panel discussions and workshops.
The Day of Service is a tradition at the EWMC conference. Approximately 300 volunteers participated in the Day of Service, performing community service projects at 38 locations. Volunteers performed electrical and other work at 18 residential homes and 20 community non-profit organization sites.
Business Representatives Liz McInnis and Al Fortier helped shuttle volunteers to and from the work sites in the Local 1245 vans. Senior Assistant Business Manager Ron Cochran coordinated an effort to get 18 Cypress Mandela Pre-Apprenticeship Training Center students to participate in the day’s event. Local 1245 Advisory Council member Michael Patterson, a City of Oakland Electrician, was the Foreman on two of the community service projects.
Local 1245 sponsored a reception hosted by the Northern California Chapter of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus that evening at the Marriot for all of the participants in the Day of Service.
The conference plenary sessions on Friday featured remarks from Mike Mowry, IBEW Ninth District Vice President; Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California State Federation of Labor; Josie Camacho, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda County Central Labor Council; and Jean Quan, Mayor of Oakland.
Special guest speaker Sam Chilia, IBEW International Secretary-Treasurer, gave recognition to the EWMC as a positive force for the promotion of diversity in the IBEW and the mission to build a more inclusive union. Secretary-Treasurer Chilia noted that the strongest IBEW locals are the ones that have ”broken ground on diversity.”
The EWMC presented Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell with its special recognition award for his support of the EWMC and for promoting the advancement of the issues of diversity and inclusion in the IBEW. Local 1245 Business Representative Al Fortier also received recognition for his service to the EWMC as Northern California Chapter president.
Several panel discussions and workshops covered a wide range of topics and challenges facing IBEW and the labor movement, including global economics, activism via social networking, unions and the 2012 elections, and disaster preparedness. Local 1245 member Lorenso Arciniega, a PG&E Service Rep in San Jose, co-chaired a Young Workers workshop titled “Why Can’t They Be Like Us: Young Workers.” Arciniega also gave a Young Workers’ report on the final day of the conference, updating conference attendees on the work done by the AFL-CIO Young Workers program, and on the extensive effort Local 1245 is making in organizing our young work force and identifying our leaders of the future.
The conference concluded on Sunday with inspired delegates encouraged to go back to their locals, jobsites and communities to play a more active role. The conference struck the perfect balance between addressing rank and file issues, organizing around community involvement and political action, and educating IBEW members on the challenges of building and maintaining a strong union.