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Since the World’s Fair in 1962, Seattle had been in an upward swing with an economy that just chugged ahead, with plenty of work for all of the Local 46 units. Unfortunately, all of this would get side railed with the “Boeing Bust”. For the first time in the history of Seattle, the population in 1970 decreased to 530,831.

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1970 - A. Bumstead Woolford Company photo.

In 1970, Judge William J. Lindberg found that there had indeed been racial discrimination in the practices of all institutions named in this case. He ordered wide-ranging relief programs, including quotas for Union membership, hiring, apprenticeship classes, changes in hiring and dispatching procedures.

One of those procedures was a two-year expedited apprenticeship instead of the usual four-year program; some members availed themselves to the two-year program and some remained in or joined the four-year program.

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The resulting effects of the ‘Bust’ on the community were massive. A couple of guys rented a billboard with the now famous saying “Will the last person leaving Seattle - Turn out the lights”.

By 1971, unemployment in King County was running anywhere from 16% to 19% higher in the construction industry. In the early 70’s, many wiremen hit the road looking for work.

1971 ILWU Strike

In July 1971, the ILWU struck the Pacific Coast for over 100 days. Voters in Seattle approved Initiative 1 to create a ‘Historic District’ to preserve the Pike Place Market. A good number of Local 46 members worked on this famous landmark and many more will in the future.

D. B. Cooper skyjacks a Northwest Airlines 727 plane and gets a ransom of $200,000, then flies out of SeaTac and parachutes out over Southwest Washington, never to be seen again.

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 July 1972 - United Construction Workers Association march in downtown Seattle.

The United Construction Workers Association, a mostly African-American organization, along with community allies, organized to take legal action to fight workplace discrimination.

The Association saw an early victory in the class action suit, United States vs. Ironworkers Local 86 et. al. – in which the United States Department of Justice sued five local construction Unions, including Local 46, as well as the apprenticeship and training committees, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In the summer of 1973, the Wiremen Pension Trust was negotiated and the contractors began contributing $0.40 per hour into the Trust.

In July 1973, Local members began each meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance, a tradition that continues to this day. Pin Night was also changed that year, from the January meeting to the April meeting. This was done in consideration of our aging members who might have a difficult time getting out to a meeting in the middle of winter due to bad weather conditions.

Local 46 members were so frustrated with their contracts being decided by the C.I.R. that they submitted a change to the IBEW Constitution saying that any C.I.R. decision had to be approved by a vote of the membership before being accepted as part of the Agreement.

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1974 - 30th IBEW International Convention. (Below: Valentine's Dinner Dance at the Hall).

In 1974, the 30th IBEW International Convention was held in Kansas City, Missouri. Our membership fell by almost 700 members and it reflected the lack of work in the area. Our membership stood at 2,726. Our delegates to the convention are as follows:

R. Baller, C. Olson, W. L. English Jr, G. Puckett, T. Hanson, L. Thomas, R. V. Keller, B. Wilbur, H. Meyers

In 1974, the Residential Unit is established in the Local 46 By-Laws. By the end of the year, the R.C.A. technicians were on strike and then the Sign Unit went on strike. The R.C.A. strike is a national strike with techs all over the country on strike. Both the strikes get settled.

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August 13, 1975, Harry Van Arsdale, IBEW International Treasurer, visits Local 46.

On August 13, 1975, Harry Van Arsdale, the IBEW International Treasurer, and until 1968, Business Manager from IBEW Local 3 in New York, once again addressed the members of Local 46.

Van Arsdale was attending a Ninth District Progress meeting in Seattle and attended the Local 46 General Meeting. Harry was always well received wherever he spoke and Local 46 members appreciated his attendance.

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Icebreakers Polar Star and Polar Sea (still going strong today)

The other work that began to pick up is in the shipyards. Lockheed was working on the Icebreakers Polar Star and Polar Sea (still going strong today) and can occasionally be seen at their Coast Guard Station/homeport at Pier 36. As the decade goes on, more Marine work heads into town. Todd Shipyard receives a large contract for Frigates (FFG’s) and Lockheed Shipyard was awarded two Sub Tenders (AS’s), later to become three. Marine Power and Equipment was awarded a State contract to build six Issaquah-class ferries. So, all this work would guarantee Local 46 members steady work for the next five to six years.

The new Licensing Law that had passed earlier in the decade would finally go into full swing with enforcement beginning September 1, 1979.

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Year's End

Throughout the decade, the Local members enjoyed picnics, fishing derbies, turkey shoots and dances, all types of dances. We also had a Recording Secretary for the Retirees’ Wives & Widows club who did the minutes report in rhyme.

We were a talented lot, but the very best news, as we reached the end of the decade, was that work was plentiful and all the Units were doing well. The Marine unit had over a 1,000 Marine Wiremen working in the yards and that number continued to grow ever larger in the early part of the coming decade. Read on!


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1970 - Pictured: John H Webster Jr. (Vietnam)

The 1970 IBEW International Convention was held in Seattle. There was virtually no mention of the convention in the minutes apart from reports from the delegates to the convention. The membership had risen to 3,444 with a lot of work in the yards and plenty of construction going on as well as lots of work in all the other Local 46 units. Our delegates to the 29th Convention were:

C. Adam H. Hamaski, A. Andresen R. Keller, R. Baller, G. Puckett, D. A. Dorr, L. Thomas, W. L. English, B.Wilbur

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Late 1971 - The Boeing Bust

In the late 60’s, Boeing laid off around 20,000 people; the workforce went from 100,000 to 80,000. Boeing had been developing the Supersonic Transport (SST) as a rival to the Concorde being developed by the British and the French.

When the Government shelved the SST, it sent shockwaves through the area. Boeing also went into debt as it was developing and building the 747, which was, at that time, the world’s largest airliner.

By late 1971, Boeing’s workforce dropped from over 80,000 to about 32,000 workers. A staggering decline!

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November 10, 1971 (Photo of Tyree Scott)

November 10, 1971, it was motioned and carried that Local 46 would support the resolution adopted by the Central Labor Council. This resolution was in opposition to the Wage and Price controls implemented by President Richard Nixon; any wage increase had to be approved by a pay board.

Part of this resolution included support for a one day General Strike. The minutes reflected that the wage freeze was affecting our ability to negotiate contracts. The controls were lifted after the 1972 presidential election.

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Tyree E. Scott (5/29/40 - 6/19/03), a Local 46 Wireman, became a leader in this struggle and worked hard to ensure a fair and equitable dispatch system for the construction workers involved.

Tyree worked out of Local 46 for many years and eventually went to work at the Port of Seattle where he retired. Although Tyree died in 2003, he will be remembered by many in and out of the trade union movement for his tireless work on behalf of all workers.

During the 70’s it was clear that Local 46 members were doing a lot of volunteer work in the community. Wiring shelters, working with children’s organizations, drug rehab organizations; in general, wiremen and apprentices were giving their time for the good of the communi

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1974 - The Kingdome (shown completed)

With the Kingdome (now demolished,) under construction and scheduled to open in 1976, the NFL awards Seattle a franchise for the future Super Bowl Champions, Seattle Seahawks! Since then, the construction units of Local 46 have worked to build some of the very finest stadiums on the planet.

Another boost in 1974 was the start of the Trans Alaska Pipeline in Alaska, which many Local 46 Wiremen worked on. The pipeline also opened up work opportunities in the region with modules and skids for the pipeline being constructed here in Puget Sound.

During this period, with work picking up in the yards and in the construction field, female apprentices were beginning to be accepted into the apprenticeships.

The Local, during the World Wars, had many women working in the shipyards, but after that period only a few of the women remained IBEW members, mostly in Broadcast and only a handful worked in other fields. Times were a'changing!

In 1975, IBEW Local 77 struck Seattle City Light for 98 days. Microsoft was formed this year and by the late 70’s moved from New Mexico to the Seattle suburbs; it will turn out to be one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the world, and over the years would spin off other high tech companies, many in Washington State, that would put hundreds and hundreds of Local 46 members to work.

At the May 12, 1976 meeting, it is motioned and carried that Local 46 send a letter to the President of the United States, the U.S. Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Labor, in protest of the ruling military junta in Argentina, for the actions they have taken against Organized Labor in Argentina.

In August, the Broadcast members at KIRO go on strike. The strike is settled by October and the other Broadcast Agreements are settled by November.  One of largest construction projects getting off the ground is the Trident Submarine Base over in Bangor, Kitsap County. This will employ large numbers of Wiremen for years to come and was a real shot in the arm for the Bremerton side of the pond.

In 1977, a strike involving Auto Dealerships and the Machinists (IAM Local 289) would drag on for over a year. Pickets were up at almost every dealership in town and many other Unions volunteered to man picket lines, especially on the weekends. Local 46 was no exception. We had members walking picket duty off and on for the duration of the strike and the Local also donated to their strike fund. The IAM eventually got busted and very few auto dealers have Union auto mechanics to this day.

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1978 - 31st Convention (Below: Senator Ted Kennedy on the Stump for the Presidential Campaign, speaking at the Hall.)

June 14, 1978, with another convention coming up, the Local passed a motion instructing delegates from Local 46 to vote against any wage and benefit increases for International Officers. The Local is growing again with our membership at 3,045. The 31st International Convention was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey and our elected delegates were:

D. A. Dorr, H. D. Meyers, W. L. English, Jr E. B. Olson, J. A. Keller, S. C. Vondette, R. V. Keller, B. V. Wilbur, J. F. Ludvick

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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
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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. 
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