At the first quarterly Advisory Council meeting of the year, the excitement and energy in the large conference room at the Sunrise Center in Vacaville was palpable. IBEW 1245 Organizing Stewards were in the house, 95 to be exact, anxiously awaiting their induction into the Class of 2023 Organizing Stewards. It was the first time in two years since the onset of covid-19 that Organizing Stewards were able to meet in-person to be sworn in, providing an opportunity to get to know one another, to meet our officers and IBEW staff, and to build relationships.
The signature blue organizing t-shirts and jackets could be seen in every direction! Business Manager Bob Dean recognized and thanked the group, Organizing Staff, and Business Reps for their hard work and dedication to advancing IBEW 1245’s mission of building the brotherhood and defending working families. 95 of our 125 newly appointed Organizing Stewards gave their Saturday to the task. And it was well worth it.
Each year, the Organizing Staff taps on one of our Organizing Stewards to address the Advisory Council on behalf of the year’s class. This year we were blown away with five-year Organizing Steward Lead Brandon Fosselman who shared his union difference story. He spoke of his childhood, the hardships his family endured, the difference an uncle who was a proud union member made in his life, and how his children won’t have to go through his hardships because of his union job.
Brandon’s story resonated with many in the room. For many of us, this was our story as well, we just never talk about it.
Our IBEW 1245 Organizing Steward program is all about building relationships and building solidarity grounded in empathy and justice. We create opportunities to share our stories, including our fears, struggles, and challenges and to develop the organizing skills to meet those challenges with confidence.
Brandon captured everyone’s attention and had some filled with emotion as he described how being an Organizing Steward has provided him with new purpose.
He closed his presentation by declaring to the Class of 2023, “The Organizing Steward jacket we wear is earned. Respect the jacket, respect the jacket,” to a roaring applause.
To earn this badge of honor, our Organizing Stewards participate in on-going trainings and campaigns, conduct member to member welcome calls to newly unionized brothers and sisters, participate in solidarity actions, represent IBEW 1245 as delegates to their Central Labor Councils and conferences.
Organizing Stewards volunteer countless hours of their own time for the good of the union. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave. They are poised to fight the good fight to preserve and improve our bargaining agreements. They celebrate the union difference at their worksites and in their communities. They engage and recruit their co-workers to get involved in our union. They hold the conversations about why politics matter.
2022 was a remarkable year and 2023 promises to be no different. With 125 Organizing Stewards strong, we are confident that we are prepared to face any and all challenges, and to grow and strengthen IBEW 1245 and the labor movement.
–Rene Cruz Martinez, IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager/Organizer
Interested in becoming an Organizing Steward? Contact us at: Organizers@ibew1245.com