Local 553 Press Secretary and Office Assistant attends Hillary Clinton rally

hillary-raleigh-event-062216-jpg

Hillary Clinton speaks in Raleigh on June 22. Photo credit: WXII 12 News

On June 22, 2016, I, Josh Nixon, IBEW 553’s Press Secretary and Office Assistant, had the privilege of attending Hillary Clinton’s rally at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. I was invited to the event by the North Carolina AFL-CIO and went as a representative of  local 553, and also because I was a History and Political Science major in college. Despite the steamy, sticky humidity of the June weather, spirits were high as thousands poured into the expo center from across the state to catch a glimpse of the candidate who upholds their utmost aspirations and shares their vision for America’s future.

Before Hillary Clinton spoke, she was preceded by a number of guest speakers.  Among those speaking were Chris Sgro, NC’s only gay state representative and Executive Director of Equality NC, and former NC Democratic Governor Jim Hunt. Clinton had much to say about our economy, helping working families, education, and yes, unions and collective bargaining.

In regards to Unions, Clinton stated, and I quote, “I believe we should strengthen unions, which have formed the bedrock of a strong middle class. It should be easier to bargain collectively. That’s not only fair, it makes workers more productive, it strengthens our economy.” She also stated, ” Unions are providing training programs that add value to the companies that employ their members. Union pension funds are already investing in infrastructure projects that have supported more than 100,000 jobs here in our country.” In addition, “We’re going to make this economy work for everybody.” Clinton also expressed support for programs like the JATC. “I will support the union apprenticeship and training programs already out there”.

Clinton outlined five steps she plans to implement. The first step is to “break through the dysfunction in Washington”. Second, to “make college debt-free for all.” Thirdly, to “rewrite the rules so that companies share more of their profits with employees, and few ship profits and jobs overseas.” Fourth, to make “Wall Street and the super-rich pay their fair share of taxes” and fifth, to “put our families first”. I was particularly intrigued by Clinton’s plans for the economy, Free tuition and debt reduction for those attending college or trade school, and support for apprenticeships, all of which will benefit the younger generation of workers. I may not be a member of the IBEW itself, but as a pro-labor person in my own life and experiences, it was refreshing to hear the things she said. The very things she proclaims to fight for, so too, does the IBEW and the labor movement in general: fair wages, dignity of work, and an economy that works for all and not just the top 1 percent.

To hear such words of support from a major political figure, especially in a right-to-work state, is unprecedented. To hear the roar of the crowd and the inspiring message was visceral and almost surreal. You always see political rallies on TV, but the feeling of actually being in one is an experience that simply can’t be replicated. I am happy to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear her speak, and more importantly, to be there representing our local union as we all march forward into a new American future.

Assistant Business Manager Attends Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

IBEW Local 553’s Assistant Business Manager, Rob Axford attended the prestigious Jefferson-Jackson dinner on June 11th, a  Democratic party tradition that serves to mobilize the party in a critical election year. Speakers on the docket for the evening were Linda Coleman, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, Current State Attorney General and Candidate for Governor, and Deborah Ross, Candidate for US Senate for North Carolina.  Each gave a short speech. Cooper was the keynote speaker of the event.

The final speaker was Stephanie Schriock, President of Emily’s List, a Pro-Choice PAC (Political Action Committee) that seeks to elect female Democrats into office. Schriock expressed a need for Democrats, Organized Labor, and Independents to mobilize around Hillary Clinton to prevent the election of Donald Trump, which she believes would have disastrous implications for collective bargaining and women’s rights. Opening and closing statements were given by Patsy Keever, NC Democratic party chair. Rob and his wife, Rebecca, who heads our local JATC program, were both in attendance representing IBEW Local 553.

jj-dinner1

IBEW Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

Hillary Clinton speaking to supporters at the IBEW union hall in Commerce, California, on May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Hillary Clinton speaking to supporters at the IBEW union hall in Commerce, California, on May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson announced in a statement on June 8th that the IBEW are endorsing Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, for President of the United States.

Stephenson said, ” The choice America faces this November is clear. As senator, Hillary Clinton has stood with us and the labor movement more than 90 percent of the time, from opposing right-to- work laws and supporting federal project labor agreements. Secretary Clinton has vowed to invest in our industrial and energy infrastructure and push for stronger enforcement of labor law, including cracking down on wage theft that is all too common in the construction industry. Most importantly, considering the vacancy on the supreme court, she will appoint a justice who respects the right to collectively bargain.”

Stephenson also included a nod to Clinton’s Democratic primary challenger, Bernie Sanders, for his “numerous contributions to the campaign” , but stated that “the majority of primary voters have spoken, and now is the time for us to come together behind one candidate.”

Stephenson also noted that “Every IBEW member will have to make their own decision on Nov. 8th, but I encourage them to study both candidates’ records- both in words and deeds- and give secretary Clinton their support as well. The stakes are too high.”

Read more here from the official press release: IBEW_endorses_Clinton_for_President