St. Louis Contractor Dumps Carpenters Local 57

October 1, 2013


Rice Electrical Services and Controls is the latest member of the St. Louis Local 1 family after the business terminated its contract with a rogue electricians union – the Associated Electrical Contractors Local 57.

The 12-man contractor made its announcement Sept. 4.

“We are pleased to welcome Rice Electrical to the IBEW,” Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs said. “We will continue to reach out to all electrical contractors to become signatory to Local 1.”

Local 57 was charted by the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis six years ago to steal work from the IBEW throughout the region, a movedenouncedby the building trades.

“What the Carpenters Local 57 is doing here in St. Louis is a betrayal of every principal of unity, every principal of solidarity, that has been drummed into each and every one of us since the beginning of our trade,” International President Edwin D. Hilltoldan anti-Local 57 rally sponsored by the building trades in 2010.

In response, Local 1 launched an advertising blitz, including billboards, radio ads and a Web site.

Jacobs say Rice’s decision was motivated largely in part by the IBEW’s access to large numbers of highly-skilled electrical workers – both in St. Louis and across the country.

“Rice wants to be able to man projects outside of Missouri, and Local 57 could offer no addition workers in St. Louis, to say nothing of the rest of the country,” he said.

Local 57 has been criticized for using workers untrained in electrical work on its projects.

As wewrotein the August 2010 Electrical Worker:

Several former carpenters who became electricians through the apprenticeship and now work under IBEW contracts said they left the council because of concerns about quality of work and safety on the job.

Fred Heitkamp, a carpenter for 16 years, became an IBEW apprentice a decade ago over fears for his own safety and the safety of co-workers, he said.

“I didn’t learn a thing about electrical work as a carpenter and I think it’s dangerous that they’re bringing in people that haven’t been through the [IBEW] training I’ve been through,” Heitkamp said.

Since it was founded in 2007 by the CDC as an electrical division, Local 57 has dropped from a high of 18 signatory contractors in 2009 to only ten today.