IBEW Local 31 About Us
The original organization of the Electrical Workers of the I.B.E.W. on November 21, 1891 , known as Local #25, was composed of Utility Workers and Construction Inside Wiremen. Later, on August 20, 1899, becoming known as I.B.E.W. Local #31.
On April 1, 1976, Local #31 was divided, with Local #31 remaining as Utility Workers. Construction Inside Wiremen becoming Local #242 with a new charter.
In reciting the history of Local #31 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, we can cite and organization that has had, as with other building trades unions, many ups and downs but which has maintained its charter since August 23, 1899. Some of the early events are not available because of records being destroyed or lost.
Shortly after the formation of the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers first Union in St. Louis, Mo., a group of inside wiremen and linemen working for contractors, the Zenith City Telephone Company and the Duluth General Electric Company, formed an independent union. This union functioned for several years until and organizer came to Duluth via the "side door pullman." He placed the group under a charter of the "National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers."
Those whose signatures are on the charter are as follows: Clifford Higgins, Virginia; Emil A. Nelson, M.A. Hibbard, first recording secretary; T.E. Marks, Otto Almquist, J.H. McLaughlain, Fred Fisher, Adolph Otto and Robert Jennings.
Among the few records which were kept intact are agreements with closed shop clauses in 1902, '03, '05, and '06, including ones signed by C.E. Van Bergen, former general manager of the Duluth General Electric Company which eventually became Minnesota Power.
During this time the union belonged to the so-called "Collins-McNulty faction" and was one of the last electrical workers unions to go over to the Reid-Murphy faction, which then was recognized by the American Federation of Labor.
A duplicate charter was granted on January 11, 1913, and has since been amended to a "Mixed and B Class" status, on May 25, 1937. This latest change permitted affiliation of factory and other low paid employees in the electrical industry.
In 1919 Brother William Murnian was elected a city commissioner and served, with merit, through a most arduous term when the open shoppers through the Builders Exchange and the notorious Citizens Alliance made a concerted battle against union labor. This was not the only trying period through which the union carried on, as a general lockout had taken place in 1907.
However, the real members of the union remained steadfast in their determination to hold the gains that had been made. In 1933, with 12 inside wiremen and 6 utility workers as the total membership, a drive for membership was on. The result, there are now over 920 members in good standing. our membership is comprised of employees from investor-owned utilities, municipals, and rural electric cooperatives. These include: Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Bayfield Electric Co-op, City of Brainerd - Administrative Support, City of Brainerd - Water and Light Department, City of Moose Lake - Lake Water & Light, City of Staples - Water & Light Commission, City of Two Harbors - Water & Light Department, City of Wadena - Electric Water Department, Cooperative Light & Power of Lake County, Crow Wing Cooperative Power & Light, Itasca Mantrap Cooperative Electric Association, Lake Country Power, Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (Inside and outside Units), Minnesota Energy Resources, Minnesota Power, Public Utility Commission of Proctor, Superior Water Light & Power, Todd-Wadena Electric Co-Op.
Business Manager - Will Keyes
Business Representative - Jordan Marquardt
President - Dale Torma
Vice President - Gary Hernesman
Recording Secretary - Brian Campbell
Treasurer - Kevin Flaherty