Local 99: "The best career move I ever made"

Paul O'Brien, Local 99 member since 2004
Paul O'Brien, Local 99 member since 2004

Six years ago, Paul O'Brien became a IBEW Local 99 member and hasn't looked back since. "It was easily the best career move I ever made," he says.

Paul worked as a licensed electrician since he was twenty years old for a variety of employers, all non-union, for twenty eight years. Knowing the benefits of joining Local 99, he jumped at the chance to join when an organizer came and talked to him. In 2004 when he went to work for Rossi Electric, his first union employer.

"I saw an immediate hourly pay increase of 25% to 30% from my previous employer for the same work," Paul says. Not only that, he started receiving full medical and dental benefits for his entire family as well as an annuity and a pension plan. "The small amount I pay in dues is easily offset by all the other great benefits being a union member gives me." Compared to his previous employer, Paul also has a much safer workplace that follows safety regulations, like getting a harness while using a tall ladder. And, Paul says, he gets a lot more respect as a union worker. "If there is an issue on the job, I can call the union and they'll be there to back me up."

Paul's advice to non-union workers is to not let their bosses anti-union scare tactics discourage them from joining and and that they should instead focus on the long-term benefits of becoming a union member. "Local 99 has given me a far better livelihood," he says, "I encourage every electrical worker who has the opportunity to join Local 99 to do it."