|The “Opportunity” in Volunteering|
Unions rely on our members volunteering, especially with community projects. The more opportunities that we take to involve ourselves in our community the more opportunities that we give our community to involve themselves with us, as a union.
Recently in Pocatello, both the Fire Fighters and the Police went through wage negotiations. Because of their community involvement, when they took the opportunity to reach out to that community, they received tremendous support for their position. They were successful in reaching an equitable agreement in their negotiations because the public was behind them.
For IBEW Local 449, the opportunity that we have to serve our local communities also gives our fellow citizens a chance to get to know who we are and why we are part of a union. Most people do not know what the IBEW is and what we stand for, let alone how we help all working people in our State and Country.
The opportunity of volunteering also benefits us as individuals. It can be life changing to help those that have less than we do. I know, it has helped me to understand how those in my neighborhood struggle on a daily basis and to appreciate the effort that my Brothers and Sisters put forth to provide for me a means to have all that I have. In the early days of the IBEW people gave from their personal life, some even died, to guarantee the freedoms and protections that I enjoy every day, at work and at home. Our Brothers and Sisters that secure the opportunity to volunteer to help guide our union, whether working in the local office or spending personal time helping new and old members, do so, not because it only benefits them personally, but because they know that it benefits the individual, our membership and all in our trade. They are aware that the obligation that we all swear includes to stand with the Objects of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers where it states, “to cultivate feelings of friendship among those of our industry” and “to assist each other in sickness or distress”. These objectives must extend to as many in our community as possible for our Brotherhood to be successful.
The success of our union is linked to the unity of our country. In these divisive times it is very important that we take every opportunity to find ways to bring our nation together. Volunteering with a community project in our local area is one method of doing this. Performing positive actions to help others will bring positive re-actions for us.