It's July 10: Thank a Lineman

July 10, 2018

July 10 is Linemen Appreciation Day, a moment to celebrate the men and women who keep our country running and memorialize those who have been injured or killed doing their job.

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.

July 10, the anniversary of the death the IBEW’s first President, Henry Miller, was first designated Lineman Appreciation Day by the state of California largely as a result of the efforts of Diamond Bar, Calif., Local 47 and Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245.

“We wanted a day with more meaning,” said Local 47 Business Manager Pat Lavin, who is also a member of the International Executive Council.

This year, the leaders of the IBEW, the Utility Workers of America and the Edison Electrical Institute – which represents investor-owned utilities – released a joint statement to connect the country to the lineworkers who construct and maintain the vast energy infrastructure that brings power to their homes and businesses.

“The nation’s lineworkers are the face of America’s electric companies and often work in dangerous and difficult conditions to provide reliable and safe power to customers,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Lineworkers are heroes and are among the first responders in the wake of storms and other disasters. The 2017 hurricane season was a massive and unprecedented undertaking, and I am proud of our nation’s lineworkers who pulled together and answered the call for help in Texas, the Southeast, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. We are grateful to these dedicated men and women, and they truly are deserving of this recognition and our appreciation.”

Too often, their skill and sacrifice are overlooked. July 10 is a small but important way to recognize them.

As in recent years, a Congressional resolution is being introduced to mark the occasion. This year it will be sponsored by two Democrats – IBEW Member and New Jersey Democrat Rep. Donald Norcross and Rep. Linda Sanchez of California – and West Virginia Republican Rep. David McKinley. The resolution will have at least 16 co-sponsors, 14 Democrats and two Republicans.

“July 10 is a day where we pause for a moment to thank our lineworkers for the important work they do,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “When the rest of us are home or at work relying on electricity to go about our business, they’re out there keeping the lights on through natural disasters, severe weather and every other obstacle that gets thrown at them. We owe each and every one of them, from Henry Miller to the men and women out climbing poles today, a very big ‘Thank you.’”