They weren’t looking for recognition—they just wanted to help.
But the good work of IBEW 1245 Organizing Stewards Jammi Juarez and Casey Salkauskas won well-deserved praise at the Advisory Council on Feb. 1.
The two organizing stewards spent nearly three weeks in Illinois last fall to help workers win an organizing drive at a Greenlee manufacturing plant, earning them front-page recognition in the IBEW International newspaper The Electrical Worker.
The Greenlee workers, Juarez told the Advisory Council members, had “a terrible plant manager that treated them without respect.” She told of a 41-year employee who objected to being forced onto a night shift, and was told by the plant manager that it was just “too bad” and that “seniority only counts in a union shop.”
The workers gave that plant manager a reason to rue his words: they voted by a wide margin for union representation by IBEW Local 364.
Juarez said it was inspiring, after the union election was won, to see workers “finally have hope after being treated badly.”
Salkauskas, in an earlier interview, recounted the story of a Greenlee employee who was being transferred and asked her supervisor why. The supervisor told her: “You’re very quiet. You speak with an accent. Nobody likes that. That’s why.”
On hearing that story, while sitting in the woman’s home, Salkauskas said it took everything he had “to hold back the tears, the anger and the frustration I felt in that moment.”
In recognition of the two organizing stewards’ outstanding efforts, the union presented Juarez and Salkauskas with framed copies of the Electrical Worker story about their role in the Greenlee organizing drive.
“Doing this is my passion and I can’t wait for the next campaign,” Juarez said.