July 10 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day, an occasion to celebrate the men and women who keep North America’s electricity running and to memorialize those who have been injured or killed doing their job.
Lineworker Appreciation Day has been celebrated on different days of the year over the last decade. The first time Congress designated Lineman Appreciation Day, the date was chosen by a nonunion electrical utility executive to coincide with his father’s birthday. Neither man was a lineman.
But in recent years the IBEW, along with partners at the Edison Electrical Institute, the Canadian Electricity Association and others, have pushed to permanently designate today, July 10, as the U.S. and Canada’s official day of thanks and remembrance.
The IBEW’s founder, Henry Miller, died on the job in northwest Washington, D.C., on July 10, 1896 while working to restore power after a storm. He fell after coming into contact with a live wire and died later that night in Georgetown. This day honors not only him, but every lineworker whose life he and the IBEW’s other founders sought to improve.
Last year, Rep. Linda Sanchez, a former compliance officer and member of Santa Ana, Calif., Local 441, along with Folsom, N.J., Local 351 member Rep. Donald Norcross, introduced legislation designating July 10 as National Journeyman Lineman Recognition Day.
A campaign to do the same in Canada has been underway since 2018.
Thanks to the efforts of Diamond Bar, Calif., Local 47 and Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245, Lineman Appreciation Day has been officially recognized in California since 2014.
“At the IBEW, we know the credit our two nations’ lineworkers deserve for the work they do day in and day out. When storms strike or emergencies happen, they show up to work in awful conditions to make sure life can return to normal for the rest of us,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.
“I hope Congress and Parliament will recognize July 10 as the official day to thank them soon, but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from giving them a honk or a wave when we see them doing the important work of keeping the lights on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you who do this important work.”