1914: 38-story Smith Tower was opened. Tallest building on the West Coast until 1962.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

In 1914, the population in Seattle had risen to over 240,000. In July of that same year, the 38-story Smith Tower was opened, and amazingly remained Seattle’s (and the West Coast’s) tallest building until 1962 when the Space Needle was built.

The second decade of the 20th Century may have been the most explosive and intense period for organized labors’ young existence. The Pacific Northwest was an especially volatile area of the country with many workers forming Unions, and the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) promoting their One Big Union philosophy. Employers with money and political power on their side fought back brutally and without thought for anything but power and their bottom line.

1915 White City Electric

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.


In 1917, Local 46 elected Delegates George McGivary and Lewis Bertsch to the 14th IBEW Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was also the start of the International reporting on the number of members each Local can have vote at the convention, which equals the number of members belonging to the Local. In 1917, Local 46 had 364 members.

January 18, 1918

The first minutes from this period were for January 18, 1918. The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. and it was noted that the meeting was a continuation of the previous meeting in regard to By-Law changes and adoption.

On January 29, 1918, the members voted to concur with the Metal Trades Council in condemning the efforts to put shipyard workers on a 10-hour work day. At the same meeting the members voted to concur with the Metal Trades in endorsing Anna Louise Strong for the Seattle School Board. Anna Louise Strong was eventually recalled in a close vote because of her beliefs and the unpopular stands she would take.

February 12, 1918

At the February 12th meeting, the members voted to subscribe for two months to the Daily Union Record. The Daily Union Record was the voice of labor from 1899 until 1928. It truly was a paper for workers. Full of articles concerning Unions, not just in the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest, but nationally. It also had a “Do Not Patronize” list of businesses who were unfair to workers. It perhaps had its finest hour in reporting on the Seattle General Strike. The Local, on many occasions, bought subscriptions or shares in the Daily Record.

At the March 19th meeting, the wage scale voted on was as follows:

Job Foreman w/3 or more Journey Wiremen-Per Day $8.00

Journeyman Wireman $7.00

Shop and Fixtureman $6.00

Apprentice Wireman & Fixture Fixtureman $3.50

Apprentice Maintenance Men $3.50

Maintenance Men-Per Month (6 day week) $125.00

1918, May 18 : Saturday's become Half-Day Holidays

The May 18th meeting minutes declared that Saturday was a half-day holiday and was in effect at the “wooden” yards as well as the steel yards. During this period, and for many meetings thereafter, there was reference to a jurisdictional dispute over crane operations with the Steam and Operating Engineers. One member, particularly fired up on the subject, refers to the Scab and Operating Engineers. This issue becomes a real donnybrook with members refusing to repair or maintain any cranes operated by the Engineers. The Metal Trades Council became involved and the Local received a letter from our International President, J. J. McNulty, stating to not give up any jurisdiction to the Engineers. There was no reference as to what the outcome or resolution to this issue was, but we do know that, before mechanization of the electric bridge cranes in the shipyards, they were manned by Local 46 members.

July 18, 1918

On July 18, 1918, the Local went on record supporting the Central Labor Council’s position in regard to Thomas Mooney, who had been tried and convicted for the Preparedness Day Bombing on July 22, 1916, in San Francisco. Ten people lost their lives and forty more were injured in the explosion. Mooney was a member of the Iron Molders Union, originally sentenced to death, his sentence was commuted after President Woodrow Wilson became involved. By 1939, evidence of perjury and false testimony at the trial had become overwhelming. Mooney was pardoned and released after serving 22 years in prison for a crime he never committed. The Thomas Mooney case is mentioned many times at Local 46 meetings and some believe that the Mooney injustice bled over into other issues like the coming Seattle General Strike!

January 1919

In January of 1919 things were heating up and the Local was preparing for a strike. At one meeting, a report was made that a committee of the Local was available to visit organizations (our modern day Sound Alliance) to explain our side of the difficulties then existing between Local 46 and the shipbuilders. It was motioned and carried that Local 46 go on record as adopting a Co-Operative market and the strike committee be empowered to purchase coupon books for the members. The meeting minutes stated there would be one man from each shipyard, along with the Business Manager, to draw up demands to be submitted to the yards in regards to wages and conditions.

January 21, 1919 Walk Off

The Metal Trade Unions walked out of the yards on January 21, 1919. 35,000 Union members, amongst them Local 46 Marine members. The strike was aimed not only at the shipyard owners, but at the Emergency Fleet Corporation also, which coordinated war time shipbuilding. The wages of shipyard workers had been frozen for two years, and after the war, the workers expected a pay hike which never came. As the strike continued, the Seattle Central Labor Council debated launching a General Strike in support of the Metal Trade Unions. At the January 22nd CLC meeting Locals voted to join the shipyard workers on strike.

1919 Skinner and Eddy - General Strike

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

1919 IBEW Local 46 Bylaws

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

March 1919

At a Local 46 meeting in March, a resolution to declare for a 5-day work week (40 Hours) was read for the first time.

July 1919

At the July 10th meeting, a special order of business was called for Brother Schechert to read the proposed Metal Trades Agreement. The motion was made and carried, and we accepted the Agreement as read, with copies and wages attached. Though there was no reference to this Agreement, I think we can assume that this was the Master Agreement covering all the yards that were struck in January and precipitated the General Strike.

November 11, 1919

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

The decade did not end on a high note though. On November 11, 1919, during an Armistice Day parade in Centralia, Washington, a group of veterans attacked the IWW Hall. In the ensuing gun battle, four veterans were shot dead. That night, a mob took one of the Wobblie prisoners, who happened to be a fellow veteran, from the jail and hung him from a bridge crossing over the Chehalis River. The bridge was forever nicknamed, “Hangman’s Bridge.” There is a set of Murals in Centralia on the side of the Antique Mall commemorating this tragic piece of Labor history.

Ryther Children’s Home

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

The Local contributed to charities like the Ryther Children’s Home, which is still in operation today here in Seattle, and many Unions invited Local 46 members to dances they were sponsoring, and Local 46 had some dances of their own. As the Local goes into the 20’s, it had succeeded in doubling the membership; could the Local continue to grow in the 1920’s? Read on!

1911-1917 Construction on the Lake Washington Ship Canal

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Between 1911-1917, Seattleites saw the construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal which included two major ‘cuts’, the Montlake Cut and the Fremont Cut; and the building of the Government Locks in Ballard. Growth during this period was almost all concentrated in lumber and maritime. By 1915, the First World War was in full swing in Europe and shipbuilding in Seattle was booming; this was reflected by the increase of membership numbers in Local 46.


In 1915, Local 46 elected Thomas Lee and George McGivary as delegates to the 13th International Convention held in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

November 5, 1916 : Sunday, Bloody Sunday.

1918 Labor Temple on 6th and University.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

The first mention of Local 46 was in the International Electrical Worker Journal under the Local Directory section. It announced that Local 46 met every Tuesday evening at the Labor Temple on 6th and University Street, in room 13. We have two General Meeting minute books from this decade; one for 1918 and one for 1918-1919. The meetings began at 7:30 p.m. and were seldom finished before 11:30 p.m.

March 1918 - Women Training in the Machine Shop (PSNM photo, c. 1919)

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

Many issues concerning female workers came up on the floor during these years. There were many women working in the telephone industry and other branches of our Union. The Local sent one of its members, Sister Lucille Mason, as a Delegate to the Washington Women’s League in Tacoma. Sister Mason was also appointed as a Delegate to the Metal Trades Council. The Local also instructed our Central Labor Council delegates to ensure the election of Sister Blanche Johnson as an Organizer for the CLC.

At a Local meeting in March, the Business Manager was instructed to make sure that the By-Laws were lived up to in regards to double time on Saturday afternoons for the “girls” at Ne Page & McKinney Electric Company. Margaret Whitten applied for membership in March; and in August of the same year, by unanimous consent, Sister Whitten became the Financial Secretary.

October 3, 1918

At the October 3rd meeting, the following motion was made and carried, “This Local recognizes no settlement by the Metal Trades, where settlement was not submitted for a referendum by various Local interests.” It was clear that members wanted a say in any agreement negotiated by the Metal Trades Council in the shipyards. At the same meeting, a motion was made and carried that “a list of unfair electrical contractors be mailed to all Unions.”

January 30 Special Meeting

At a special meeting called on January 30, Local 46 members voted 180 in favor of joining the General Strike and 15 against. Newspaper reporters were waiting outside the Hall. A Local 46 committee was appointed for press reports. Another committee was appointed to attend the special Central Labor Council meeting on the next Sunday morning. Strike Stewards were selected by the President to assist in patrolling outlying districts to learn the amount of work done by members of Local 46 during the strike.

January 1919 General Strike


Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

February 1919

The city went quiet on February 6, 1919 at 10:00 a.m. as workers withdrew their labor in the first General Strike in the nation’s history. It was the most orderly strike the country had ever seen; the hungry were fed, the hospitals continued to operate, and the police had their quietest duty ever. The strike committee voted to end the strike on February 11th. There is much debate on whether the strike was very effective, but there is no doubt it frightened those who held the power, and energized those who did not.

Seattle General Strike Booklet

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

April 1919

On April 10th, it was motioned and carried that the Building Trades be notified that Local 46 adopted a 5-day (40 hour) work week on May 1, 1919. At the same meeting, it was motioned and carried that all telegrams to our International Office be sent collect!

September 1919

In September, three delegates, L. F. Benedetti, A. G. Heller and George McGivery, represented Local 46 at the 15th International Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Our membership that year stood at 720 members, a doubling of the membership in two years, and a reflection of the increased work in the shipyards

Union Made!

Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

During this decade, the meetings went long and appeared to have plenty of action and visits from other Unions and organizations. The Cigar Makers came to make a pitch for Union made cigars, the Shoemakers Union came into a meeting asking that Local 46 members use Union made clothes and boots. Barbers showed up. Communications from the cooks and waitresses encouraging the use of Union restaurants.

Your current browser is missing features this website requires to display correctly. Please upgrade your browser for the best experience.




King Conservation District Monthly Newsletter
IBEW Local 46: Family Support Services (013023)
01-30-23 stockman unit meeting notice
01-26-23 IBEW Local 46: It’s Union Time!!!
01-20-23 : IBEW Local 46: Come Meet and Greet your Business Representatives.
01-19-23 : IBEW Local 46: An important message about new legislation affecting our electrical trade.
2023 - lobby day notice
01-20-23 : IBEW Local 46: Meet and Greet notice


updated referral rules- effective 11-12-2022
10-19-22: CWA/PLA Priority hire referral rules update from bryan Johnson
Seattle times op-ed: This discussion has been ongoing for a long time and is a critical component to ensure that IBEW will be able to secure Electric Vehicle Charging work!!! Make sure to take that EVITP course!!! Please see the link below! - Keith Weir 
Environmental justice in WA starts with cleaner cars and trucks | The Seattle Times
anew apprentice resource center link
urban league construction trades program link
long term care & FAQ


070822 : CITY OF SEATTLE Electrical Inspector, Journey
- other positions available

Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) – Frederick Simmons Seattle Chapter Monthly meeting:
First Thursday of each month at Kent Hall at 5PM.
For more info, please contact Chapter President Frank Woolsey: frankw@ibew46.coM or 253-246-9695. 
For meeting and activity info, please e-mail ewmcfsseattle@gmail.com



BASIC Dues increase EFFECTIVE 1/1/2020




An Error Occurred.