“It’s time to make a difference for our local and for our members. It’s time to make a change. Time for Boilermakers to get noticed.”
—L-627 BM-ST Jacob Evenson
Forty members of L-627 gathered in the courtyard of the Arizona State Capitol for the local’s first annual Day of Action.
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LOCAL 627 (Phoenix) BM-ST Jacob Evenson had an inspiration when he returned home in April from the Boilermakers annual LEAP conference: Political action shouldn’t happen just once a year in Washington D.C. —it needs to take place year-round on state and local levels. So, he brought Boilermaker lobbying home with L-627’s first Day of Action. Forty members, along with retirees, showed up at the local on May 22, ready to lobby.
“It’s time to make a difference for our local and for our members,” Evenson said to members gathered at the hall before heading to the capitol. “It’s time to make a change. Time for Boilermakers to get noticed.”
In preparation for the day, Evenson stuffed over 100 packets to hand off to decision-makers in the state capitol. The branded folders included information about the Boilermakers, the local and issues affecting its members. He had help planning and executing the day from AFSCME union brother, Mark Cardenas, a former state rep who is currently running for a seat on the Phoenix city council.
Evenson and Cardenas formed an ambitious plan to connect with all 90 House and Senate representatives. Their biggest ask was for language to be included in the upcoming budget that would allow project labor agreements for government ventures on the city and county level. Currently, union contractors are not allowed to bid on city and county projects — not since the 1980s when the state froze unions out of government-run construction.
In addition to seeking support for PLAs, they also carried the message “We power Arizona” regarding the need for increased support for carbon capture. They also asked lawmakers for their support in legislation to convert the Cholla Power Plant to biomass — similar to the eucalyptus-fueled biomass power plant L-627 members (and travelers) recently completed on the island of Hawaii.
The coal-fired Cholla plant, scheduled to shutter in 2025, employs Boilermakers. Converting the plant to carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly biomass would not only save jobs but also produce much-needed energy for Arizona.
Second-generation Boilermaker Daniel Anaya showed up for the Day of Action because he wants to keep working as a Boilermaker — doing what he loves.
“This has been my livelihood for 21 years,” Anaya said. “I’ve raised my own family working for the union. And the union is my family, too. This is what I trained for and I’d really like to help keep the union going for as long as I can.”
He echoes what other Local 627 members said as they spoke with state representatives — about the need for reasonable policies to support working families.
To make certain they connected with every lawmaker, the local sponsored a pizza party at the capitol. Legislators stopped by, shook hands and grabbed lunch while talking with constituents about issues impacting their lives. Legislators and senators from both sides of the aisle visited members, with many showing support for union-friendly legislation.
Evenson deemed the local’s first Day of Action a success.
“We got our faces before the legislators, so it will be much easier to approach them about sponsoring a bill in the future.”