The Electrical Worker online
October 2015

From the Officers
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Our Founding, Our Future

When the IBEW held its first convention 125 years ago, only 10 delegates attended. It was so small it was held in a room in the boarding house where our founding father, Henry Miller, was staying. What they started in that room though, laid the foundation for what our 725,000 members enjoy today. As we look ahead to our 39th convention, in the city of our union's birth, we would do well to remember these roots.

As we walk the streets that long ago held the footprints of our original delegates, we should take a second to recount just how far we've come.

In Miller's day, there were no apprenticeships, and nothing close to adequate pay or safety standards. That's what our fathers fought for and what we continue to fight for today. The wires we work on now may not be the same as those in 1891, but the men and women working on them deserve the same rights: dignity, respect and the wages and benefits that provide a fair standard of living. Whether we're wiring incandescent or LED lights, we all deserve a voice. And by learning from our past we can better fight our battles today.

There's no question that working conditions have improved since Miller's day. There's also no question that our work is not done. Just as in those early days, the rights of working families will not be freely given. We need to fight for them.

We will have far more than 10 delegates at the convention next year, but the objective remains the same: to come together from our diverse backgrounds and focus on the shared goal of organizing all working men and women in the electrical industry. And with our theme "Our Founding, Our Future," we will honor our past as we move forward.

It's time to go back, to the future.


Also: Stephenson: Unions Rising Read Hill's Column

Salvatore J. Chilia

Salvatore J. Chilia
International Secretary-Treasurer