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Friday, June 21, 2024

Electrifying Anniversary

IBEW Local 16 marks a 125-year milestone

In 1882, a dedicated power station was built, bringing light to Wall Street and the New York Times newspaper.

Nine years later, an announcement was sent out by Henry Miller, a Missouri lineman and union organizer: The time was ripe for a national union to ensure safety, skills, and standards for the entire scope of electrical trades. Evansville’s Harry Fischer answered the call. He represented one of 10 cities at the First Convention of the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Saint Louis, Missouri.

A bronze bust of Evansville’s Harry Fischer

The national union Miller helped found has swelled to 820,000 members. IBEW Local 16, based in Evansville, celebrates 125 years in 2024. Ryan McRoberts, business manager of Evansville’s IBEW Local 16, looks forward to the organization’s anniversary festivities planned for Sept. 14 at Bally’s Evansville, with the hope of seeing active and retired Local 16 members.

“We’ll be inviting other labor leaders in the area, local elected officials, and everybody we’ve been partners with over the years,” McRoberts says. “Our contractors are direct partners in this … it will be a big celebration.”

IBEW Local 16’s headquarters at 9001 N. Kentucky Ave. serves 14 counties as an epicenter for electrical contracting. Additionally, it cosponsors the Apprenticeship and Journeyman Training program on Lynch Road and helps facilitate electrical work for the annual Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights, Easterseals Rehabilitation Center’s largest fundraiser for more than 30 years. Local 16’s community involvement also includes scholarship programs and the Turkey Testicle Festival, a catchingly named yearly fundraiser for the organization’s benevolent fund.

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