Dear Brothers and Sisters:  

                Unions do some of their most important work at the bargaining table, gaining better wages, working conditions, and overall terms of employment for our members.  However, again and again, we see that many advances made at the bargaining table can be lost through a single action of Congress or a state legislature.  Virtually every day, Congress and state legislatures across the county make decisions that affect us regarding jobsite safety, Social Security, job and union security, healthcare, licensing, taxes, pensions, the national budget, and our children’s schools.  And, as you know, the list doesn’t stop there.   

                This is why it is imperative for IBEW members to get involved, and stay involved, at every level of the union, and in our country’s political process.  We can all make a difference in a few simple ways.  First, and foremost, we need to vote in local, state and national elections. Voting is a right and a freedom that many before us have fought for and that we should not take for granted.  You can also go a step further and communicate your views to elected officials through letter writing, volunteering your time for a political campaign, or helping out at your local polling place.  All of these actions are simple and send the message that you care enough to get involved.   

In addition, as an IBEW member, you can help make an impact by choosing to contribute to the COPE (Committee on Political Education) fund.  This fund lets us pool our donations to create a larger and louder collective voice. Currently, corporate America outspends Labor 7-1.  We are asking you to support Local 965’s COPE Fund, so that together we can work toward closing this gap.  The louder we are the harder we will be to ignore when important decisions are being made that impact you and other working families.                

Remember, COPE is a separate fund and is not sponsored from any of your dues money.  Only COPE donations can be used for political education of the membership and to help the Local Union in supporting Labor friendly candidates in local, state and national political races.  In both of these ways we can make a real difference and address the issues mentioned above.   

                If you are interested in participating, by making a voluntary COPE donation, you should contact your Chief Steward or the Local 965 Union Office.  We have not set a fixed amount for donations, but suggest a donation of $2.60 per pay period, totaling $5.20 per month.  This is based on a donation of approximately 3 cents per hour worked for full time workers.   Those of you that work for Alliant Energy have the opportunity to utilize a payroll deduction from your paycheck, and can simply fill out a deduction card authorizing whatever amount you choose to donate.  Or, if you’re a member of another Sub-Unit of Local 965, you can make a donation directly to us by writing a check payable to the Local 965 C.O.P.E. Fund.  

Remember, the principle on which the entire labor movement rests is our strength in numbers and ability to work collectively.  By working together, we can make a difference.  

In Solidarity:

Tony Bartels, Business Manager and Financial Secretary
Rick Irwin, President
Mark Schoen, Local COPE Director & Registrar and Legislative Chair