White House Brings IBEW Members to DC

White House Brings IBEW Members to DC

The real world can feel far from the marbled halls of Washington, D.C. That’s why the Biden-Harris administration invites real people like IBEW members to the White House to share how laws written in Washington impact them personally. 

The White House has hosted 26 community forums in its “Communities in Action Series.” Senior advisor for public engagement Will McIntee said labor union participation, particularly from IBEW members, has been key to these discussions.

“It’s invaluable to have a labor voice here at the White House,” said McIntee. “It helps us shape what we can do to push in the best direction.”     

He’s not alone in valuing union input. Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez also noted unions are prioritized on the president’s agenda. 

“As the president often says, ‘the middle class built this country, and unions built the middle class,’” said Perez. “Unions are also building the bridges the president’s infrastructure law funded. Unions are installing solar panels and high-speed internet and powering our “Made in America” manufacturing boom. The president will continue to ensure that American progress has a union label and that our union partners have a seat at the table.”

IBEW members from Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Nebraska, and North Dakota recently visited the White House for these meetings, which bring union members, local politicians, educators, and leaders from both business and nonprofit sectors. IBEW members come prepared for their visit with updates about their challenges scaling up the workforce to meet the demand sparked by the administration’s infrastructure laws. 

At a November forum, business manager of Nebraska Local 2366 Dianna O’Brien explained how Biden administration policies swayed her employer to expand her plant. The company’s new investments mean more IBEW jobs. 

“The newer technology will help increase the facility’s quality and capacity,” said O’Brien. “We are actually getting new work from a plant in Mexico.”   

In December, Long Island Local 25 business representative Tim McCarthy came to D.C. to discuss 25’s growing renewable work portfolio, which now includes offshore wind and solar.

McCarthy described efforts to recruit military veterans and stressed the importance of prevailing wage, registered apprenticeship requirements, and PLAs to put people to work with good union jobs. 

Second-year apprentice Amber Bailey from Dover, N.H. Local 490 attended a forum on childcare challenges for working families. Bailey is one of the 2,400 new women members IBEW has been adding each year. 

Upcoming events will include IBEW members from Delaware and Alaska. White House staff plan to include people from all 50 states by mid-year.

Photo caption: Milwaukee Local 494 members Dean Warsh and Jessica Berndt attend a Wisconsin-focused meeting in 2023.

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