The Electrical Worker online
July 2015

From the Officers
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A Legacy of Achievement

It is difficult to imagine the IBEW without Ed Hill.

He has been a towering force in our union and in the American labor movement for longer than many of our members have been alive.

But I don't mean it is hard to imagine the IBEW moving forward without President Hill's presence. I mean that it takes effort to remember what the IBEW was before Ed took over and pushed us to become what we are today. He guided and, at times, cajoled us through one of the worst economic crises in our nation's history while fighting an onslaught of anti-worker policies and propaganda.

It is a testament to his leadership that while the labor movement has been shrinking across the country, the IBEW under President Hill welcomed thousands of new members. A culture of complacency had infected the labor movement. Building on the efforts of his predecessor, J.J. Barry, President Hill launched dozens of initiatives to put the movement back in labor movement. His goal in every case was to increase membership and support the growth of the industries we rely on.

By now, we are all familiar with member-to-member organizing, alternative construction classifications, business development and the Code of Excellence, but it bears repeating what they really are: tools that will keep the IBEW strong.

Although I have a very big pair of boots to fill, President Emeritus Hill left us what we need to fight on for the dignity of working people. I am humbled by the challenge, optimistic about our future, grateful for the chance and ready to get to it.

But not before one final word of gratitude to my friend and colleague International Secretary-Treasurer Sam Chilia. President Hill relied on Sam's steady hand and sound advice. I know I will too. He has been an excellent steward of our retirement and health funds in these difficult years and a wise source of counsel. My job would be a great deal more difficult without him at my side.


Also: Chilia: Forging Our Future Read Chilia's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President