The Oldest and Largest Electrical Union in the World
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has been around as long as the commercial use of electricity itself. It’s the oldest and largest electrical union in the world, with a story that begins in the United States around 1890 when dangerous work, low wages, and long hours were the norm in the electrical industry. In many places, one out of every two electrical workers hired was killed on the job – the need to unionize was very strong.
It was November 28th, 1891 when ten men, representing 286 electrical workers, formed the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. They had one objective: to make life better for themselves, their families, and those around them. Eight years later, the national union became international when the first Canadian IBEW local was established in Ottawa on December 20th, 1899. Today the IBEW represents more than 750,000 active members and retirees throughout North America. Members work in various sectors including utility, construction, maintenance, manufacturing, communications, railroads, shipyards, mining, government, and many more.
Local 37 is young in comparison to its national and international unions, but its predecessors, Locals 1733 and 2309, have a long, proud history in New Brunswick. IBEW Local 1733 was issued a charter on September 1, 1951 and IBEW Local 2309 was issued its charter in 1971. In 1988, the two locals co-purchased our current headquarters at 138 Neill Street on the northside of Fredericton where they shared office space and staff. The two locals officially merged on April 3, 2000 to form Local Union 37. We’re very proud of our history that was built on a firm commitment to organize and represent workers in order to make their lives better. Our membership and longevity are proof of that commitment.