With more work coming to IBEW Local 520’s jurisdiction, our highly skilled members are gaining national attention for performing quality work, their ability to adapt to new, highly technical projects and our propensity to finish projects on or ahead of schedule.
IBEW Local 520 Organizer Ryan Pollock joined America’s Work Force Union Podcast, a daily labor-focused podcast, to discuss a variety of topics related to the state of the union construction trades in central Texas. He also touched on the Green New Deal and the benefits it might create for building tradesmen and tradeswomen.
The Green New Deal has been greatly criticized by many, but on further inspection, some of its components can help members of building trades unions, Pollock believes.
Following the winter storms that rocked much of the state, certain elected officials, including Gov. Abbot, rushed to blame renewable energy as the cause of power outages. Pollock refuted those claims, saying that renewable energy sources produce roughly 4 gigawatts of the 33 gigawatts that were lost.
He pointed out that the writing is on the wall for the fossil fuel industry, as more companies moving to central Texas have realized renewable energy is the future. Pollock said it is crucial for Local 520 to capture the work that will inevitably include renewable energy.
Discussion then turned to the expected influx of electric vehicle manufacturers who will flock to the state and the legislation encouraging them to do so, including Texas House Bill 2221.
The first major manufacturer to arrive in the Lone Star State was Tesla, where hundreds of Local 520 members are working on the new truck plant. More manpower will be needed as the project continues and other manufacturers locate in central Texas.
With Tesla and other manufacturers building in the state, Texas legislators are seeking ways to make Texans more comfortable purchasing electric vehicles.
The first move is to pass Texas House Bill 2221, legislation establishing public charging stations. Making it known that people will have access to electric vehicle charging stations will hopefully entice them to purchase electric vehicles.
Pollock also believes the adoption of electric vehicles will help the building trades organize more workers in the area as the facilities needed to produce these vehicles are massive and all hands are already on deck.
Texas union leaders are hopeful the migration of auto manufacturers to the state will help increase union density in Texas.
IBEW Local 520 continues to be aggressive in our organizing efforts in order to meet the current and future labor demand needed for electric vehicle manufacturing and other work.
As financial and tech companies relocate from states like California, new office buildings are needed. Pollock said the migration also calls for more residential construction, including new apartment buildings near the facilities.
Pollock concluded by saying that Local 520 will continue to enhance its apprenticeship program and organizing efforts. People are realizing the volume of work in central Texas will make for a great career in the electrical construction industry.
America’s Work Force Union Podcast is a daily, labor-focused podcast that gives a microphone to union leaders, affiliated industry professionals, politicians and more to advocate on behalf of working people everywhere. The program covers labor stories, such as large strikes, organizing drives, legislative efforts and more, in real time as they unfold.
If you would like to learn about the topics detailed above, you can listen to Pollock’s entire interview below: