IBEW Charging Forward in Its Mission to Lead a Green Energy Future 

A Conversation with IBEW IR Micah Mitrosky on Preserving the Planet and Creating New Union Jobs 

A stubborn myth persists that environmental responsibility and job creation are somehow a zero-sum game – that you cannot achieve one while fostering the other – despite a wealth of data that convincingly proves the opposite. 

Micah Mitrosky is an International Representative for IBEW’s 9th District where she covers renewable energy, storage and clean transportation in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada. Prior to this role, Mitrosky served as Environmental Organizer for IBEW Local Union 569. Before joining the IBEW she planted her environmental-economic roots as an organizer at the Sierra Club. 

Mitrosky also currently serves on behalf of the California & Nevada State Association of Electrical Workers (CSAEW) as a representative at the BlueGreen Alliance California statewide table. BlueGreen Alliance CA is an organization dedicated to uniting labor unions and environmental organizations to solve today’s environmental challenges in ways that create and maintain quality jobs and build a clean, thriving and equitable economy. 

Mitrosky shared her vision for how labor and environmental organizations can continue to work together in their shared mission to preserve the planet while creating good-paying union jobs. 

What are your primary responsibilities as International Representative at IBEW’s Ninth District? 

I help support local unions throughout the 9th District in their work to make sure that the renewable energy and clean transportation sectors are creating IBEW work opportunities. That includes sharing information and best practices across the District as well as tracking industry and policy trends, meeting with decision makers and attending conferences and industry events to maximize IBEW visibility. 

What major issues and trends are you focused on right now? 

Recently, I’ve been tracking renewable energy and battery manufacturing and clean transportation funding coming from federal legislation and sharing that information with local unions so that we can capitalize on the many work opportunities being created by the Biden administration. This year we have one of the most important Presidential elections of our lifetime. IBEW is working across the country to help re-elect President Biden who is creating union jobs, investing in workers, and holding corporations accountable. We know when IBEW members turn out, we can make a big difference in getting union-friendly candidates over the finish line up and down the ballot. 

How important a priority are clean-energy jobs to IBEW and its members? 

We know the next 100 years of energy are going to be very different than the last 100 years. Our local unions are on the forefront of this changing energy landscape, and from the 9th District’s viewpoint we want to stay ahead of these changes and help shape this clean energy future to create IBEW work opportunities while we address climate change. This is a top priority for IBEW. Across the country IBEW has hired renewable energy government affairs coordinators, so there’s now a dedicated representative within each district pursuing clean energy work and making sure that work is creating IBEW jobs. 

What areas is IBEW focused on right now to help its members capitalize on the renewable-energy future here in the 9th District? 

The Biden administration championed and helped successfully pass the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act with labor standards that the IBEW advocated for. This has created an unprecedented moment in recent history for work opportunities for the IBEW. This is true for construction, and we’re also seeing the largest re-growth in manufacturing in a generation, and a lot of this is in the clean tech and advanced manufacturing sectors. We’re focused on making sure IBEW is capitalizing as much as we possibly can on all these federal investments and not only making sure IBEW members are going to work but that we’re also organizing across these sectors to make sure they’re creating good union jobs and lifting up working families. The great labor standards that are embedded in these investment programs are making it much easier to do that now than in the past. 

You serve on the BlueGreen Alliance California statewide Table, whose mission is to create and maintain quality jobs while building a clean, thriving, and equitable economy. How important is this partnership for IBEW in California? 

The BlueGreen Alliance unites labor unions and environmental organizations to solve environmental challenges in a way that creates and maintains quality jobs and builds a clean, thriving, and fair economy. In California, we’re working together with Table partners to find common ground and jointly advocate for policies that address climate change, promote union jobs, and power sustainable economic development. I serve as a table rep in the Alliance on behalf of CSAEW and also co-chair the BlueGreen Alliance California Energy Committee to figure out how we can advance mutual priorities. 

What are some of those priorities? 

The legislature is in session in California right now, and there are a lot of bills being worked on. BlueGreen Alliance CA is monitoring bills to see if there is legislation we can work on together along with environmental partners. One example of these areas we’re talking about right now is sustainable schools.  

Are you optimistic about the future of renewable-energy sector job growth and its ability to generate high-quality jobs for IBEW members? 

I think the next five to 10 years are going to be incredible in terms of the amount of renewable energy and clean transportation work that’s coming and the amount of organizing opportunities for the IBEW. The strong labor standards that the IBEW has worked so hard to build into federal economic and climate policy are like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime before.