But the charter also included a mission: “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.”
Today, the IBEW Local 175, headquartered in Chattanooga, represents more than 3,000 electrical workers in Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.
For a century, IBEW Local 175 has partnered with power boards and co-ops across the region, the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and the National Electrical Contractors Association to provide the highest quality of craftsmanship, helping to build many of the region’s landmarks. The faces of IBEW members in archival photos are the faces of our region’s last century — and now, its present century.
“The 100-year anniversary asks us to look back at the leaders and members that kept this local strong,” IBEW Local 175 Business Manager Barry Key said. “When I look at the working conditions that the original members had, the sacrifices that they made, it makes me very proud to be a part of this milestone celebration.”
IBEW Local 175 President Dwight Wilhoit said, “For 100 years, members of Local 175 and their families have been able to actively participate in the joy of being part of America’s middle class by working for wages and benefits they themselves have bargained for collectively.”
IBEW 175 is also proud of the strong connections to the community it has forged. In a long partnership with the United Way, member contributions have provided childcare services, family counseling, food and shelter for homeless individuals and families and much more. IBEW Local 175 members have contributed more than $3 million dollars to the United Way.
The anniversary celebrations will also highlight the local’s pride in its long-term relationships with partners, customers and vendors, who include many of the region’s biggest businesses and organizations. In 100 years, several generations of families have supported IBEW Local 175’s work, some which include grandfather, father, sons and daughters. The local’s outstanding apprenticeship program continues to offer opportunities to both men and women seeking world-class job skills coupled with a proven work ethic.
“Local 175 is an organization of employees that come together to have a voice in their workplace and pursue their common interests,” said Key. “Unions are organizations by, about and for their members.”
IBEW leaders see a welcoming future in a growing region.
“Looking forward, I want our local to grow and accept the changes in technology with a positive vision,” Key said.
“We will keep our members trained and ready to meet the customer needs of the future,” Wilhoit said.
“We look forward to meeting the needs of our trade as we face an ever-changing electrical industry, and making sure that our members, through training, are always the leaders in the latest technology.”
IBEW Local 175 100th Anniversary events include: May 17, IBEW Local 175 retirees breakfast; May 25, IBEW Night at the Lookouts; June 25, 100th Anniversary open house to the public; and June 28, 100th Anniversary Barbecue, Barbecue Competition and Concert. Additional events are being planned throughout the remainder of 2012.