As Americans woke up this morning to election results that stand to change the future of our country, one thing is abundantly clear — voter turnout matters. Nowhere is that more apparent than here in IBEW 1245’s jurisdiction, where our own members helped to push a number of key ballot measures and candidates to victory, thanks to their hard work in getting out the vote in their communities.
Local 1245’s biggest win of the night came of out of the state of Nevada, where we defeated the billionaire-backed effort to deregulate the state’s energy market. The risky and costly deregulation measure, known as Question 3, was backed by a handful of billionaires and had passed by more than 2-to-1 when it first appeared on the ballot in 2016. But thanks to our members’ hard work and dedication, as well as the broad bipartisan coalition we built in opposition to Question 3, we succeeded in turning the tables and this time, the measure lost 2-to-1. Our extensive Get Out the Vote effort also had a magnanimous effect on the rest of the ticket. Together, we ousted anti-union incumbent US Senator Dean Heller and replaced him with our friend Jacky Rosen, and we also helped elect pro-union Governor Steve Sisolak and Lt. Governor Kate Marshall.
In Sacramento, Local 1245 secured a big victory for Rosanna Herber, the newly elected member of the SMUD Board in Ward 4. The hundreds of IBEW 1245 members who work at SMUD are incredibly grateful to have Herber as an ally when it comes time to bargain their contract. In fact, Local 1245 carried the Sacramento Labor Council’s Get Out the Vote effort almost single-handedly, as we were the only union who released members to work with the Labor Council on this election, and our organizing stewards turned our dozens of 1245 volunteers who put in thousands of hours of work. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the Sacramento Labor Council secured six out of the top ten spots for the most calls to voters made from a California labor council during this election cycle.
In the Bay Area, Local 1245 also helped rack up a victory for our longtime ally Katie Harrison, who handily won her re-election bid to the Berkeley City Council. Harrison has proved herself to be a fierce supporter of labor rights and has lived up to her promise to stand with IBEW 1245 on utility issues. She’s exactly the kind of elected official our members who work at the City of Berkeley deserve to have in their corner. Our 220 members employed at the City of Vallejo are looking forward to having a new ally on the City Council with the apparent victory of Hakeem Brown, our members at the City of Alameda are feeling the same way about the election of John Knox White to their City Council, and our members working at AC Transit are glad to have Joel B Young and Mark Williams keep their seats on the AC Transit Board.
In the Central Valley, IBEW 1245 helped propel Measure L to victory in Lodi. This sales tax will directly benefit the Local 1245 members who work for the City of Lodi. Our members also helped longtime labor ally Heath Flora retain his Assembly seat. As of this writing, other union-backed candidates, including Assemblymembers Jim Patterson and Joaquin Arambula, as well as Fresno City Council candidate Nelson Esparza, appear poised for victory, although there are many ballots left to be counted.
In the City of Lompoc, Local 1245 members worked hard to successfully elect Jenelle Osborne as the city’s new Mayor, and they also worked to re-elect City Council member Victor Vega. Both Osborne (who formerly served on the City Council) and Vega have been friendly to the IBEW 1245 members who work for the City. Their attempt to oust an unfriendly City Council member wasn’t as fruitful, but they are still pleased to have assisted with two victorious campaigns.
Additionally, Local 1245 also played a role in one of the biggest electoral upsets of the night, which came from the state of Wisconsin. Notoriously anti-union Gov. Scott Walker, who rose to fame by stripping Wisconsin union members of their collective bargaining rights, lost his re-election bid to challenger Tony Evers, and two Local 1245 members assisted with what is being considered the biggest labor-driven coup in the nation. Walker had worked closely with the Koch Brothers to aggressively weaken unions and dismantle the labor movement, and in fact became the poster child for union-busting policies that have spread to other states as well. But on Tuesday night, Walker got a taste of his own medicine, as he learned that unions will never back down from a bully until that bully is defeated.
“When I look at all of the races that our IBEW 1245 Organizing Stewards and volunteers had a hand in during this election cycle, it’s obvious that our members are making a real difference,” said IBEW 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell. “The amount of time and effort that they put in over the past few months has paid off in ways that even I didn’t expect, and the end result is a much brighter future for us all. I couldn’t be prouder of everything that we’ve accomplished.”
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director