What Is the IBEW

The IBEW is largely responsible for implementing safety and construction standards and providing training and continuing education for the next generation of electrical workers.

What Does IBEW Stand For?
The initials “IBEW” stand for “International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.” It is a labor union that represents the interests of employees in the electrical industry as well as workers in related fields such as information technology, telecommunications and broadcasting. The IBEW is also affiliated with the AFL-CIO as well as the Canadian Labour Congress and other labor organizations throughout North America and the Caribbean. In addition to collective bargaining and protecting workers’ rights, IBEW also makes certain that electrical workers meet the highest professional standards and receive the best training and education possible.

IBEW Origins
The late 19th and early 20th Centuries were tumultuous times. New technologies were being introduced nearly every day; at the same time, the excesses of the “Gilded Age” was spawning a backlash among workers who were increasingly demanding a greater share of the wealth they produced as well as more rights and protections in the workplace. It was in 1891 that the American Federation of Labor chartered the first electrical workers’ union (then known as the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, or NEBW). After difficult times and internal as well as external conflicts in the decades following the First World War, the IBEW joined forces with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) in 1941 in order to establish training and apprenticeship programs as well as continuing education for workers.

What Does The IBEW Do?
In addition to representing the interest of workers in the fields of electrical construction, electronics and information and communication technology, the IBEW sponsors training and education for new electrical workers as well as continuing education programs for veteran workers. The IBEW also participates with the Council on Industrial Relations, an organization consisting of management and labor representatives. The IBEW has been very successful in its collective bargaining, and has virtually eliminated strikes among electrical workers in the construction industry.