The 2021 IBEW 9th District Organizing Conference was held virtually via Zoom from May 17-19. IBEW 1245 Organizing Stewards Danielle Bonds, Aileen Zuehlke, Rachelle Rendon, Latoya Carter, Brandon Fosselman, Mark Goodwin, Rodrigo Flores, and Thomas Mora, along with staffers Eileen Purcell, Rick Thompson, and Rene Cruz Martinez represented Local 1245 at the conference. Below are some of the highlights from the conference, as reported by the 1245 organizing stewards in attendance.
This conference allowed me to see all the hard work that goes into starting a union. There are so many components that go into it that I really didn’t realize. This conference challenged me, and what I learned will help me become a better Organizing Steward. I love that I was able to interact with other unions.
–IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Danielle Bonds, PG&E Call Center, Sacramento
The highlights from the conference for me were all the different methods used to communicate with workers to help organize them. Organizing workers takes a lot of thought and research! Some considerations include the financials of the company; political ties; the company’s suppliers and customers; quality of the products they produce; and whether other employees on the property are represented by different unions. My final takeaway was that you cannot just organize workers because they would like to join our Union — we must be a fit for them, and they must be a good fit for us.
— IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Rodrigo Flores, Merced Irrigation District
I learned a lot from the campaign planning workshop. It helped me to look at the process and assessment from a different perspective. I have never worked on trying to organize at a (non-union) company. This workshop helped me to know what to look for and ask about. I appreciate all the time we spent talking in our breakout groups and going over each team’s feedback. I look forward to putting what I’ve learned into action!
— IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Rachelle Rendon, PG&E Call Center, Fresno
I don’t have any experience in organizing a workgroup into the union, so this was all new to me. There is so much that goes into choosing to organize a work group such as assessing the company, assessing the workgroup, and determining if the Union is a good fit for the company and workgroup. All three days of the conference were informative, and I appreciate being given the opportunity to participate.
— IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Aileen Zuehlke, PG&E Utility Worker, Stockton
I was surprised to learn how much effort goes into trying to organize a group of employees at a company. A lot of it went over my head since most of my organizing experience has been political (which is odd because I’m not a very political guy). With that said, attending this conference definitely helped me to better appreciate the hard work and dedication that the 1245 organizing staff and fellow organizing stewards put in.
— IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Mark Goodwin, PG&E Gas Service Rep, Modesto
This training was great. It was different from what we normally do, and showed another aspect of organizing. I went through similar training a few years ago in Oakland. I learned a lot, mainly new terminology which was commonplace amongst other members in the training. It inspired me to do some research on my own and learn some of the terminology. I tried to understand what was being discussed and engage as much as I could. I was able to leverage the training that I did already have and use it to my benefit. After attending this conference, I would love to be a part of a campaign in the future should the opportunity present itself to organize a nonunion shop.
— IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward Brandon Fosselman, PG&E Call Center, Fresno