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IBEW History

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers® (IBEW) is as old as the commercial use of electricity itself. In fact, it is the oldest and largest electrical union in the world.

The nucleus of our Brotherhood stretches back to 1880 following the opening of the first telegraph office in the U.S. in Chicago in 1848, the laying of the transatlantic cable in 1866, and Thomas Edison’s invention of the first commercially successful incandescent lamp in 1879.

The objectives of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers® are:

  • To organize all workers in the entire electrical industry in the United States and Canada, including all those in public utilities and electrical manufacturing, into local unions
  • To promote reasonable methods of work
  • To cultivate feelings of friendship among those of our industry
  • To settle all disputes between employers and employees by arbitration (if possible)
  • To assist each other in sickness or distress
  • To secure employment
  • To reduce the hours of daily labor
  • To secure adequate pay for our work
  • To seek a higher and higher standard of living
  • To seek security for the individual
  • And, by legal and proper means, to elevate the moral, intellectual, and social conditions of our members, their families, and dependents, in the interest of a higher standard of citizenship

For a complete history of the IBEW – from the Hard Times that came with Beginning of our Brotherhood to the Victories, Growth and Progress of the Open-Shop Movement up until the Great Depression, New Deal and Modern Era, please CLICK HERE.