Electrical Workers Historical Society Board of Directors
The Electrical Workers Historical Society: Preserving IBEW’s Legacy
It wasn’t long after St. Louis Local 1 purchased the old home of Henry Miller that leaders realized it was the beginning of an endeavor to create a lasting testament to the history of the IBEW. With that in mind, and with the help of the international office, they created the Electrical Workers Historical Society.
“We’re grateful to Local 1 for all their efforts to secure the Henry Miller house and are pleased to work with them on the next steps,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. “We have a rich history that we are proud of, and now we have a place to showcase it.”
The Society, a 501(C)3 tax-exempt organization, will manage and raise funds for the building’s restoration and ongoing operations as a museum. The property is currently owned by Local 1’s building corporation and will be transferred to the Society.
In addition to managing the funds, the Society will maintain the museum as a space for education and preservation of the IBEW’s history, and to foster deeper understanding and appreciation of the Brotherhood and the broader labor movement.
The Society is governed by a board of directors, including International President Lonnie R. Stephenson, Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore J. Chilia, 11 th District Vice President Curtis E. Henke, Local 1 Business Manager Frank D. Jacobs, and James I. Singer, lawyer for Local 1. All funds collected will be used for the purposes of restoring and maintaining the museum.
“We’ve come a long way since Miller and the other founders started this union,” Jacobs said. “It’s important that we don’t forget that. We need to know where we came from.”
NOTE: The IRS has determined that the Electrical Workers Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The effective date of the exemption is October 2, 2015. Donors can deduct contributions to the Society made after that date. Consult your tax professional with any questions regarding your donation.
Our founding, Our Future
When the IBEW held its first convention so long ago, only 10 delegates attended. It was so small it was held in a room in the boarding house where our founding father, Henry Miller, was staying. What they started in that room though, laid the foundation for what our 725,000 members enjoy today. As we look ahead to our future, we would do well to remember these roots.
Thanks to the initiative of our first Local Union and the outpouring of financial support from our International Brotherhood, the house where Henry Miller lived - the home of our 1st Convention, stands as a reminder of our humble beginnings. As we walk the streets that long ago held the footprints of our original delegates, we should take a second to recount just how far we’ve come.
In Miller’s day there were no apprenticeships, and nothing close to adequate pay or safety standards. That’s what our fathers fought for and what we continue to fight for today. The wires we work on now may not be the same as those in 1891, but the men and women working on them deserve the same rights: dignity, respect and the wages and benefits that provide a fair standard of living. Whether we’re wiring incandescent or LED lights, we all deserve a voice. And by learning from our past we can better fight our battles today.
It’s no question that working conditions have improved since Miller’s day. It’s also no question that our work is not done. Just as in those early days, the rights of working families will not be freely given. We need to fight for them.
Today we have far more than 10 delegates at our conventions, but the objective remains the same: to come together from our diverse backgrounds and focus on the shared goal of organizing all working men and women in the electrical industry. We keep our eyes forward from the home where it all began.
It’s time to go back, to the future.