Sister Lupton Reflects on Convention

I feel fortunate to have been sent to Chicago as a delegate to the 40th IBEW International Convention.  It is exciting to see the direction the union is moving.  While the motion we set forth as a local to take on a more inclusive name for our union was not adopted, we did make history by seeing it to the convention floor. I am proud to have been able to openly address the need for such a profound change and why.

IBEW 213 UNIT 2 CHAIR BECKY LUPTON speaks in favour of the IBEW constitutional amendment to change the IBEW name to the International Union of Electrical Workers. The motion did not pass, but having the conversation at Convention was very important.

Over the week, we passed resolutions that named sexism, racism and fascism as enemies of unity, and they are now named in our constitution as fundamental pillars we will not allow within our walls.  We saw gender-neutral language accepted as the language for our communication, constitution and any other writings.

The message of solidarity was clear, and loud.  We as members have work to do to ensure that we are the voices of the middle class and of labour, that we are committed to seeing unionism thrive to the benefit of everyone. Most importantly, Convention was a reminder to lift one another up, help each other, and continue to participate so that other workers might share in the same benefits we have.

We also saw contentious discussions around virtual meetings and sharing digital information. Hosting virtual meetings was not approved; however, moving forward our international newsletter, The Electrical Worker, will be delivered to members digitally.

We saw the embracing and reinforcing of bonds with contractors to move towards strong market shares in emerging industries like EV Infrastructure and working together towards common goals. A-Members saw increases to their international pension funds in recognition of the increasing cost of living, and the need to remain committed to supporting retiring members.

IBEW members are active and involved in the community, supporting Vets and the Helmets to Hard Hats initiative, and through the work by the NexGen and Women's committees, and the EWMC. Chicago is a city widely known for its skyscrapers. It is also a city where no tower had ever been built by non-union labour. We witnessed the power of organizing, and the strength that solidarity and active union involvement bring to the table.