A Brief History of the Founding of the IBEW and the Carolinas Locals
(Abridged from IBEW.org)
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers began with the formation of the Electrical Wiremen and Linemen’s Union of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1890 during an exposition in St. Louis. Electricians from all over the country had come to the city to install the electrical wiring for the exposition during the day, and at night they gathered to discuss their hazardous jobs and low wages.
The men were ready for a change, so they called a meeting at the city’s Stolley’s Dance Hall, where several members of what was to be called Local 5221 of the American Federation of Labor met with AFL organizer Charles Cassel. Henry Miller, a St. Louis lineman, was elected president and J.T. Kelly, a wireman recently settled in St. Louis, vice president.
But these men realized a single isolated local union could accomplish little permanent success without the weight of a national organization of electrical workers behind it. So they set out across the country to organize other locals, hoping to eventually bind them together. Traveling in railroad boxcars, President Miller visited Evansville, Louisville, Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee, organizing as he worked. Unions were organized in Toledo, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Duluth.
The following year at their first convention in 1891, the name National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was adopted, as was the emblem of the fist grasping lightning bolts.
After the first convention adjourned, President Miller traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, where the AFL was holding its annual convention. On December 4, 1891, the Brotherhood received a charter from the AFL with jurisdiction over all electrical work.
In 1899, the union’s name was changed to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers when workers and locals from Canada joined.
The second decade of the IBEW showed an increase in the union’s influence and a corresponding decline in labor strife between electrical employers and employees. From 1903 to 1906, the number of card-carrying electrical workers tripled to about 30,000.
In 1919, the IBEW International approved participation in the Council on Industrial Relations, or CIR. The National Association of Electrical Contractors and Dealers (later NECA) became the signatory employer organization. They joined the IBEW in setting up the CIR as a “supreme court” of the electrical construction industry, to settle disputes and bring stability to the industry.
IBEW Local 379 History in the Carolina’s (More to come in the Members Only area)
First Formed in Jan of 1904 as IBEW LU 454 and didn’t last but 11 months
Next it was restarted in March of 1905 as IBEW LU 297 and lasted a little over 1 year
Next it was again restarted in Feb of 1918 as IBEW LU 505 and not know when it stopped
Lastly it was restarted in Aug of 1926 and has continued to help electricians for almost 90 years in 2016
Other IBEW Local’s in the Carolina’s
IBEW LU 962 started in Jan of 1938 (Utilities Division Duke Lineman)
IBEW LU 1863 started in Jan 1953 (Rail Road Division)
IBEW LU 1902 started in June of 1954 (Utilities Division PNG)