July 10 is Lineman Appreciation Day, commemorating the contributions of the men and women who bring electricity to the U.S. economy and honoring the legacy of Henry Miller, one of the founders of the IBEW on the anniversary of his death.
|Diamond Bar Local 47 and Vacaville Local 1245 in California have been instrumental in efforts to get national recognition for lineworkers.
Electrical lineworkers construct and maintain the vast energy
infrastructure that brings power to hundreds of millions of homes, factories
and businesses. Their skill and sacrifice is often overlooked. The IBEW and the
investor-owned utilities that are members of the Edison Electrical Institute
have been pushing for a single national day to honor their work.
“Our nation’s highly trained lineworkers make sure that all
Americans have access to safe and reliable electricity,” said IBEW
International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “IBEW salutes our nation’s
lineworkers for their dedication to their work, their communities and their
commitment to excellence.”
Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and David McKinley
(R-W.Va.) have introduced legislation in support of designating July 10 as
National Lineworker Appreciation Day, and 12 members of Congress have co-signed
“In every city and town in America, journeyman linemen
constantly put themselves in danger to ensure reliable access to electricity
for all,” the resolution begins.
It goes on to tell Miller’s life story, how he was one of
the original 10 delegates that met in a boardinghouse in St. Louis in 1891 to
draft a constitution and form the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Miller was working in Washington, D.C., five years later when
he was electrocuted and fell from a pole. He died later that night.
The bill closes, “it is in his honor that we hope to
recognize all journeyman linemen on that day.”
Lineman Appreciation Day has been celebrated on many
different days of the year in the last half-decade. The first time Congress
designated Linemen Appreciation Day, the date was chosen by a nonunion
electrical utility executive to coincide with his father’s birthday. Neither
man was a lineman.
“We wanted a day with more meaning,” said Diamond Bar,
Calif., Local 47 Business Manager Pat Lavin, who is also a member of the International
July 10 was first designated Lineman Appreciation Day by
California, largely as the result of the efforts of Local 47 and Vacaville
It won’t just be the lineworkers marking the day. Many
utilities cross the U.S. will also be participating.
“It takes hundreds of thousands of dedicated, hard-working
people to maintain the energy grid in the United States, and our nation’s
lineworkers are on the frontlines. Every day, lineworkers are installing new
technologies to modernize the energy grid, and they are among the first
responders when storms and natural disasters strike our communities,” said EEI
President Tom Kuhn.
Members and family of lineworkers are encouraged to post
pictures and express gratitude on social media using the hashtag #thankalineman.