The Electrical Worker online
October 2023

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Excellence on Display

The IBEW's Code of Excellence isn't just a commitment to do our best work. It is an organizing tool, a ticket to earning respect and a way to transform entire communities.

The Code's core principles — Safety, Professionalism, Accountability, Relationships and Quality, or SPARQ — might seem like common-sense ideals for any jobsite.

But as you'll read in this month's cover story, Code of Excellence agreements can help people realize what makes the IBEW special. A commitment to the Code by an employer and workers creates a culture of trust and cooperation between the parties. In many IBEW workplaces, that's helped minimize conflicts and led to better productivity, paychecks and more.

For example, in 2016, Entergy's Nuclear One power plant in Russellville, Ark., was doing so poorly that a shutdown seemed likely, something that almost certainly would also have doomed the surrounding area. Plant operators sought the help of Little Rock Local 647, whose leaders suggested that the plant implement the Code of Excellence. Within a year of doing so, the nuclear plant was rated one of the safest facilities in the U.S., and the town kept its most important employer. That all can't be a coincidence.

The Code also helps us organize. Five years ago, Milwaukee Local 2150 was able to leverage the promise of a Code of Excellence agreement to pry open communication channels with wind turbine maker Ingeteam, which at the time was not exactly union-friendly. Now, as the profitable company is expanding its operations and its offerings, the trust that the Code helped foster is also making it easier for Local 2150 to bring new hires into the IBEW.

With the explosion of job opportunities that the IBEW is expecting thanks to the $2.1 trillion in funding and incentives from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and CHIPS and Science Act, we're going to need every available tool at our disposal to bring us to the 1 million members we'll need to help us capture our share of that work and hold on to it.

After you read the cover story, think about how the Code of Excellence might work for you. If you're already using the Code, ask your business manager to send in your local's success stories to


Also: Cooper: Meeting the Moment Read Cooper's Column

Paul A. Noble

Paul A. Noble
International Secretary-Treasurer