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Member Spotlight: Jody Anderson (IBEW)

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Member Spotlight is a recurring blog post series intended to highlight and connect the dots between the programs and priorities of the NC State AFL-CIO and the leaders and activist members of our affiliates who make it all possible.

My name is Jody Anderson, and I’m with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEWLocal 553. We’re a union of mostly electrical workers. We operate in a hiring hall, so we accept any electrical workers who are qualified, and then they can get hired out through the hall to a variety of different contractors. I’ve been with the union for almost two years, and I’m currently in the IBEW apprenticeship program, a four-year program the union has for us to learn electrical work the right way. I am also a delegate to the Triangle Labor Council

For workers to have any power in the workplace, in what they’re paid, in anything, they’ve got to be organized. The only strength we have is in our numbers and in the fact that we make everything run, so we’ve got to be organized and active to exercise that power. A lot of my work in the IBEW so far has been getting members to be active. We’ve all got to see the union as a site of struggle, a place where we can secure our rights and meet our needs, as opposed to the employers rights and needs.

The Triangle Labor Council provides an opportunity for us to broaden that unity and struggle across different job sites, industries, and unions. Together, we can build solidarity, exercise our power politically, and have more of a working-class perspective. That perspective is necessary, ultimately, for us to fight for the freedom of the working-class – whether that’s minimum wage, working conditions, or safety. We’ve got to build this union infrastructure for workers to be able to exercise their power effectively.

There are a lot of people who want to be pessimistic about the labor movement, and they’ll say union membership has been in decline. And that is true, but I think what we’re seeing locally (and nationally) is that active union membership is on the rise. Real union membership, where people are involved in the day-to-day affairs of their union, is increasing. Across the Triangle, we’re seeing unorganized workers find hope through organizing, and then, crucially, we’re seeing these groups get together, work together, and learn from each other. We’re building a strong working-class, and we’re building power. Join us!