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About IBEW Local 22

IBEW Local 22 is one of 2,376 local electrical unions across the United States. We’ve been Omaha's Electrical Construction Union since 1892. The local union is designed to provide assistance and a voice for the local electrical worker in all matters and issues that affect their lives. Matters like finding work, providing answers on health and financial benefits, or gaining access to new or additional training. And while it’s true that each local union receives support from their International Office in the form of guidance, advice, technical and legal help, Local 22 exists independently and governs our own organization.

The bottom line is this: Local 22 is the people in it, and the people are the Union.

The history of our Union is well documented in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) archives in Washington D.C. In 1890, a “glorious exhibit” was held in St. Louis to show the start of our industrial revolution with the aid of electricity. Wiremen and linemen flocked to St. Louis to work on that exposition.  In many cases, the people who put this exhibit on did so at their own expense, oftentimes risking their lives to complete the project.  They would get together in the evenings to discuss the horrible working conditions and low pay.  A union was the next logical step for this small group of men.  After contacting the American Federation of Labor, (AFL) the group was chartered as the Electrical Wiremen and Linemen’s Union, No. 5221, of the AFL. 

One year later, at the first convention of the Electrical Wiremen and Linemen’s Union, a decision was made to change the name to National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NBEW).  The small group of 10 men wrote the first constitution, and general laws, and created the now-familiar logo of a fist grasping lightning bolts.  Later, in 1899, the NBEW changed its name to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

According to official IBEW records, Local 22 was chartered on April 7, 1892.   Our early history is a bit murky due to internal strife.  Therefore, we did not have our official charter signed until 1910.  The names signed to our founding charter are C.O. Posh, W.S. Donaldson, C.P. Kortwright, O Peterson, Floyd Straw, Ed Ismond, C.M. Keplinger, J.M. Gibb, H.W. Miller, L.T. Crawford, H. Skinner, Gus Kimmel, John A. Portly, R. W. Jones, Charles Stathem, Charles Starr, C. Rosenquist, J.B. Portly, Frank Ousler, C.L. Rhamey, Charles McDermott, and E.J. Krecjci. 

Local 22 has held monthly Union Meetings in several different spaces over the years.  Some of those locations were: members’ homes in the very early days, the Labor Temple at 19th and Davenport, the Hungarian Hall at 17th and Cuming, and the Labor Lyceum on 31st and Cuming.  It wasn’t until 1950 when the local purchased their very first building.  They converted a former beer hall at 1336 Saddle Creek into offices and a meeting hall which they used for many years. Our current hall, located at 8946 L St, was purchased in 1974.  Local 22 transformed the former Frazier-Schurkamp Inc. warehouse into the full-time home for the Business Office, Credit Union, and Apprenticeship.   Over the years, the campus has seen a few renovations and one big construction project, namely the building of the Electrical Training Center directly to the West of the Hall. Construction began in 2002 and was completed later that year.  The new building located at 8960 L St became home to the Apprenticeship, Credit Union, Benefits, and NECA offices.

Over the past 130 years, Local 22 has grown from a mere 22 members to over 2,000 active members and 302 Retirees.  The local started as a mainly Inside local but added several classifications throughout the years: Motorshopmen, Signmen, Residential Wiremen, Telecommunication Technicians,  Construction Wiremen, Construction Electricians, and Lightning Protection.  

Not only have we grown through membership, but also through our business reach.  In partnership with our contractor, we focused on the western area of our jurisdiction and developed an Area B Agreement in 2007.  Soon after, Local 22 combined forces with Local 265 (Lincoln, NE) in a total market recovery agreement and created the Greater Nebraska Agreement in 2013.  Since Local 231’s (Sioux City, IA) jurisdiction covered part of Nebraska, it only made sense to bring them into the fold in 2017.  Since its inception, our market share has gone from less than 1% to almost 2% and still growing.

Local 22 has always been invested in the community it serves. For instance, in 1937 the Local charged a $2.00 assessment for not marching in the Labor Day Parade, and in 1938 each member donated $0.25 to the Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home. Today we volunteer our time setting up Septemberfest; walking in the Labor Day Parade; participating in and sponsoring paper sacks for a canned food drive in partnership with the Postal Workers to help support the Food Bank of the Heartland; wiring the inCommon Community Outreach Center; sponsoring the Thursday Night Lights program which awards scholarships to student-athletes; and teaming up with Rebuilding Together to start the Powering Hope campaign which provides free electrical home repairs to low-income families.

Throughout the years, the Brothers and Sisters of Local 22 have enjoyed many social activities.  Some functions are purely social, like the annual picnic, while others are benefit fundraisers such as the Fallen Brothers Benefit. 

The local 22 picnics became an annual event after July 14th, 1962. That picnic was held at Peony Park and had an astounding 1,008 adults and children in attendance.   The picnic has been held in multiple locations since that day.  Some locations are Sokol Park, Peony Park, Elmwood Park, Meyer Landing, and its current home, The Bellevue Berry Farm and Pumpkin Patch.

The Fallen Brothers Benefit is our newest event which is organized by the Local 22 chapter of RENEW.  The RENEW Council, or Reach out and Engage Next-gen Electrical Workers, is a national group of young IBEW members who want to become more involved in their Locals.  In 2014, Local 22 RENEW was inspired to start a benefit for the family members of active Local 22 Brothers who had passed away.  The Local 22 RENEW members organized and put on a family-friendly event with games, a dunk tank, and raffles.  It is held in July of every year, with this being its third year. 

Other Local 22 activities include the Keyser Memorial Golf Tournament, the Dan Munch Memorial Bass Tournament, Local 22 Bowling Sweeper, DAD’s Day Bowling, and the Nebraska and Southwest Iowa Building Trades Chili Cook-Off, and Union Night at the Stormchasers.

Working together for equal representation is the foundation of our Union.  Over the last 125 years, we have made great strides in improving wages and benefits for our members. From making $9 dollars a day with no benefits in August of 1923 to making $40.00 an hour plus benefits.  In addition to the IBEW pension and National Electrical Benefit Fund,  Local 22 has worked hard to provide for the future of its members through collective bargaining.  In 1968, the Defined Benefit Pension Plan A contributed $0.03 per hour and today we get $80 dollars a credited hour. The Defined Contribution Pension Plan B started in 1978.  This provided the members a money market account that they could invest in as well. 

Our founding fathers met in 1892 to improve the lives of electricians. One hundred and thirty years later, Local 22 is still working hard to ensure the future of our members and trade.

Myths of unions develop from various sources.  As widespread are the sources, so are the reasons behind these myths.

From the employers' viewpoint: The non-union employers promote negativism concerning unions to retain control of their employees.  They do not want to lose their employee to a unionized contractor, nor do they want to bargain with their employees as a whole, with a union representing them.  They consider the balance of power to be correct when the employer has all of the power over the company.  The employees are to be seen and not heard.

From a supervisor's perspective:  They typically promote the employer's agenda, but there is a unique bias to their rationale.  They need qualified persons working for them to put in the work and make them look good.  If the person that works for them were to join a union and seek employment with a union contractor, this would exert pressure on the supervisor personally.  He would then need to get someone else to perform assigned duties to keep him or herself in a supervisory capacity.  Their motives are self-serving.

From a co-worker's perspective:  Unless they are a union organizer, they probably will not have any more credible information than you have.

The keys to discerning fact from fiction are information and education.  If you educate and inform yourself about what a union has to offer, you will be able to see through the fog of myth. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Local 22 for the information you require.

Union Myths vs. Reality

Myth: Union members only work sporadically.

Fact: Union electricians are like any other electrician; they have the same mortgages, car payments, utility bills, etc.  Therefore, union electricians must secure income on a regular basis to support their families and themselves.

Logically, how could they fund these endeavors on less than full-time employment?  The average hours worked for LU 22 electricians was 2013 hours in the year 2000.  This does not include vacation time, holidays, etc.

Myth: When I take a job, as soon as that job is over, I have to get another job.

Fact: As a journeyman, you choose a particular contractor, not a particular job.  You can stay employed by this employer as long as you choose to stay in the contractor's employ, or as long as the contractor chooses to employ you.  You can be moved from one project to another based on the needs of the employer.

As an apprentice, the Training Director gives you a training assignment to a particular employer, not merely for the tenure of a project.

Myth: If I become a member of the union, I will have low seniority and be less employable than long-time union members.

Fact: There is no seniority in the IBEW.  We compete for our jobs on a daily basis.  We do not maintain our employment because of seniority, but rather by a good work ethic and our skills.

Myth: All of the fringe benefits are taken out of your base pay.

Fact: Your fringe benefit package is over and above your hourly rate. The contractor pays your benefits package separately.

Myth: Unions have outlived their usefulness.

Fact: Unions are as much of a necessity today as they were a hundred years ago.  Wherever there are employers that will not pay their employees the wages that they are due, provide the benefits to which those employees are entitled, impose substandard working conditions on them and not provide the training for their employees, there will always be the need for a union.  Remember, Labor Unions exist because of a very basic longing for dignity.

Myth: Strikes can keep me from working.

Fact: Local Union 22 does not strike.  We have a "no strike" clause in our contract. We are bound by a third-party arbitration, which will settle items that the union and its contractors cannot agree upon.  Both the contractors and the union have agreed to this method of resolving discrepancies, known as "binding arbitration."

Myth: Union dues are too expensive.

Fact: Union dues are something that union members are willing to pay for the benefits and services they receive.  If the members did not feel that they were receiving their money's worth, they most definitely would not be paying this money.  Currently, dues are $39.50 per month.

www.nlrb.gov The NLRB is an independent Federal agency created in 1935 to enforce the National Labor Relations Act. We conduct secret-ballot elections to determine whether employees want union representation and we investigate and remedy unfair labor practices by employers and unions.? 

www.ssa.gov Handles issues concerning Social Security and related Retirement Benefits, Cost-of-Living Information, Social Security Card, Change of address, Benefits information, and requests for Social Security payment information.? 

www.osha.gov The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to save lives, prevent injuries and protect the health of America's workers. To accomplish this, federal and state governments must work in partnership with the more than 100 million working men and women and their six and a half million employers who are covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

www.eeoc.gov Handling issues concerning:

  •  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  •  FMLA - Family Medical Leave Act.
  •  Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended (ADEA), prohibits employment discrimination against individuals 40 years of age and older;
  •  Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in compensation for substantially similar work under similar conditions;
  •  Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of disability in both the public and private sector, excluding the federal government;
  •  Civil Rights Act of 1991, includes provisions for monetary damages in cases of intentional discrimination and clarifies provisions regarding disparate impact actions; and,
  •  Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination against federal employees with disabilities.

www.dol.gov The U.S. Department of Labor is charged with preparing the American workforce for new and better jobs, and ensuring the adequacy of America's workplaces. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of over 180 federal statutes. These legislative mandates and the regulations produced to implement them cover a wide variety of workplace activities for nearly 10 million employers and well over 100 million workers, including protecting workers' wages, health, and safety, employment, and pension rights; promoting equal employment opportunity; administering job training, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation programs; strengthening free collective bargaining and collecting, analyzing and publishing labor and economic statistics.

IBEW Local 22 is part of the 11th District of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.  The district is comprised of proud union members of Local Unions in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Our members are part of one of the most progressive unions in existence, the IBEW, representing some 750,000 members in the United States and Canada.   https://www.ibew.org/11thdistrict

Page Last Updated: May 02, 2022 (08:37:03)
IBEW Local 22
8946 L Street
Omaha, NE 68127

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