On February 15, 2022, 15 newly appointed, first-time organizing stewards from Sacramento, Fresno, Nevada, and the East Bay met at the IBEW 1245 union hall in Vacaville for a half-day training and orientation. For several of them, this was their first opportunity to visit the union hall, and they appreciated the opportunity to connect with their union siblings and learn about their new roles and responsibilities as organizing stewards.
Below, the new stewards reflect on their orientation experience in their own words.
I really enjoined attending the organizing steward orientation. My key takeaway was understanding the role of an organizing steward. This team is one of the biggest forces to push change and keep our family strong in solidarity. I really loved hearing how other organizations call on my brothers and sisters of 1245 to help them with different events or issues that may be taking place, no matter how near or far away they are. Orientation made me more excited … because I see how this program will allow me to put my ability to work to help others. This was a great day. — Quentin Hunter
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the day, but I’m really glad I was able to attend. The message of solidarity that the staff and other stewards provided was inspiring, and I’m excited to learn from them and promote and effect change in any way I can. It seems like we have a great, enthusiastic group! — Michael Tilden
The orientation exceeded my expectations. I was a bit nervous at first, but the interaction made it easy and comfortable. I really enjoyed hearing about what everyone’s view on what being a part of our Union means. As well as hearing about all the memories and achievements that were shared. I definitely have a better understanding of our Union and appreciation for our continued efforts to help make beneficial changes. I’m excited to get more involved to start working toward those positive outcomes and being able to share similar experiences in the future. — Valerie Salazar
It was a pleasure seeing everyone … I really enjoyed the orientation, and I’m ready to get out there and get going, as well take on some new tasks. Can’t wait to see everyone’s faces again! — Micaela Avent
I really enjoyed myself. It was great learning so much about our union, and interacting with everyone. I am looking forward to future opportunities and events. — Jocelyn Alexander
This was an empowering day for me. Every time I come to the union hall in Vacaville, my candle gets re-lit and truly encourages me to not only make change, but be part of it. The new organizing steward training reflected how much we can accomplish with numbers and a mission. I am proud to be a 2022 organizing steward and look forward to our work together. — Nicole Frazier
It was fun! I enjoyed learning the roles of the organizing steward and look forward to getting my feet wet and uniting with the family! — Cheryl Roberson
I did not know what to expect from the New Organizing Steward orientation. I’m just thankful to now be a part of this elite group of individuals who will continue to impact our communities, families, and individuals positively. — Juan Montoya
I really enjoyed meeting my new extended family and cannot wait to start my journey. My biggest highlight was being able to stand up and speak in front of a crowd. — Latrina Jones
The orientation was great! I loved hearing how we help other brothers and sisters across the country and we support those who want to Unionize. — Julia Ponce
I can’t thank you enough for extending the opportunity to be a part of the Organizing Steward Class of 2022. It was uplifting and motivating to hear the personal journeys of others because everyone’s journey is different. It is a personal goal of my own to surround myself with others who understand the value of unity while trying to achieve something greater than oneself. I’ve never been part of a union, never had someone negotiate my wages for me, nor spoken out loud of wages because it was “taboo” or frowned upon in most conversations. It is something that I am still adjusting to with great enthusiasm. The training reassured me that it is OK that I don’t know every intricate detail of our Union right off the bat. Progress and growth are encouraged here, and with the guidance and counsel from my fellow brothers and sisters, I can still start somewhere. I’ll start with me. — Dawn Fualau