A union is only as good as the members who make it, and part of that is having a membership representative of the entire population, especially in modern times.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 99 Business Manager Joe Walsh joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss goals, Local 99 recruitment efforts and the incoming Biden administration.
The state of IBEW Local 99
As the son of an electrician, the trade runs in his family, Walsh said.
He commented on the small, yet dense, population of Rhode Island, where 90 percent of Local 99 work is. They also work in the surrounding states at a smaller rate. He said the IBEW market share in the state has gone from 98 percent in 1902, to somewhere around 3 percent today.
However, Walsh said Local 99 remains dedicated to union values, such as high quality training. He said they continue to amend their training program to keep up with industry standards
IBEW Local 99 recruitment
Walsh said IBEW Local 99 continues to actively recruit new apprentices. The current focus is on recruiting a diverse, representative class of apprentices. He added that they seek minority populations and women so the local can become more diverse.
The main point during the recruitment pitch is the prospect of a lifelong career. He said people can gain a family-supporting wage, earn while you learn training and benefits by joining the trades.
Walsh anticipates the incoming Biden administration to be very pro-labor. Thanks to the union leaders on his campaign and transition team, the administration will have union labor in mind.