The Electrical Worker online
September 2020

You Can Help Protect workers
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The IBEW's fist and lightning bolt logo traces its origins back to the St. Louis boarding house where the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was founded in 1891. It first appeared in print on the NBEW's original constitution the next year.

Today, the IBEW's familiar logo stands as a symbol of the union's rich history and of the millions of working men and women who have sought better lives for themselves and their families under its banner. And the kinds of things the logo is printed on still reflect the founders' values.

"We work hard to make sure the IBEW logo only goes on items that are union-printed in the U.S. or Canada," said Support Services Director David Salazar. "It's important to us that the people who profit from our symbols are paying their employees well and offering them a chance to better their lives through the power of union solidarity."

But in recent years the logo has started popping up on low-quality items on unregistered Facebook pages that trace to countries where sweatshops and child labor are the norm. The activity has picked up even more than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's hard for us, because these sites go up as quickly as we can file requests with Facebook to take them down," Salazar said. "It's like trying to hit a target that can disappear into thin air any moment and pop up in a completely different place a second later."

The only solution, he says, is for IBEW members and their families to stop buying knockoff union apparel and accessories.

"You're making a statement with your hard-earned money. We hope you'll take a stand for working people around the world and not buy from these exploitative companies that. don't care about the IBEW or workers," he said.

But how do you know if you're buying legitimate union-made IBEW merchandise? It's easy.

Only the International,, or local unions are authorized to print the IBEW logo on anything, and they know the rules for its use. If it looks suspicious, it probably is.

When you see fake IBEW merchandise for sale on Facebook, report the page for unauthorized sales using the Facebook function menu on the post. Every bit helps.

"The IBEW logo belongs to each and every one of us, and it stands for better lives for working people. Thanks for helping us protect it," Salazar said.