Members of Portland-headquartered International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 125 elected Travis Eri to a third three-year term as business manager, in mail ballots counted June 21. Eri outpolled challenger John Gervais, a meter relay technician for Pacific Power in Bend, Oregon.
Business manager is the top elected office in the 3,600-member local, which represents electric linemen and utility workers in a territory that covers parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada.
The business manager oversees a staff of 14, including eight union business representatives who help bargain contracts and defend members on the job.
Also re-elected were President Larry Browning, Recording Secretary Raymond Cowell, and Treasurer Douglas Shaffer. For vice president, Paul Dietrich and Brian Williams (the incumbent) were the two top vote-getters; Dietrich won the office in a July 13 run-off. Joseph Gass, Jim Sweet, and Patrick Winter were re-elected to the Executive Board, where they will be joined by a newly-elected member, John Yates. And Jeffery Davis, Ryan Hagel, Rick Larson, Clay Perth, and Joe Spears were elected to the Examining Board, which evaluates applicants for membership in the union.
Members also elected delegates to the upcoming IBEW convention, which will be held Sept. 19-23 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Eri and Browning will be delegates by virtue of their office; in addition, members elected Randy Bryson, Joseph Gass, Shane Hester, Rick Main, Donald Rose, Douglas Shaffer, Jim Sweet, Patrick Winter, Rod Derting, Tim Titus, and Byron Babka to serve as delegates.
For Eri, 40, it looks likely to be a busy third term. Members at Pacific Power voted Aug. 10 to reject their employer’s contract offer and thus go on strike Sept. 6 if no settlement is reached by then. PGE’s contract will be up for renegotiation in late fall. So will contracts at Bonneville Power Administration and several other employers.
Members will need to show unprecedented unity in order to prevail in those contests, Eri said. Fostering that unity will be a priority.
“We’re going to have to treat each other more like a family,” Eri said.