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December 1990 - Gates House to be wired by Local 46!

At the December meeting in 1990, it was reported that Local 46 Wiremen would be wiring Bill Gates’ new house. A $4.5 million electrical job which, I think by the time it was complete, all involved would say it may have doubled.


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1992 NAFTA - Bill Clintons Sell out of the American Workers

Bill Clinton was running for President during this period, and his campaign manager for Washington came and talked at one of our meetings and expressed how bad NAFTA would be.

Guess who pushed and finally signed NAFTA into law. This and other so called ‘free trade’ agreements have had a devastating effect on America and its workers.

The shrinking middle class is not helped in the least by these sell out agreements. The Local did pass a motion in 1992 stating that we will not support any politician who votes to approve NAFTA.

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1992 Campaign to build new ferries in Washington by Metal Trades

In June, an organizer was hired to work on the Olympic Peninsula. In August, a motion was passed in support of the South African Labor Movement and a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. This was unanimously passed at the meeting.

Another issue that began to surface around 1992 was a new ferry construction program to build three jumbo ferries. The word was that the state was looking to build these ferries out of state, or even in British Columbia. The Metal Trades, with the help of Local 46, began putting together a campaign.

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1992 - SHARE

Another major event in 1992 was the opening of our building as a homeless shelter. The Local had been approached by a group in Seattle, “SHARE”, to use our building in the evenings for people to sleep.

After a lot of work and a vote of the members, the shelter was opened on a very cold Thanksgiving eve for about 50 homeless people, most of them working but unable to find housing. With TV cameras running, the people trooped in and laid out their mats and made themselves as comfortable as they could.

The shelter was able to stay open for about three years, but not without the fire department constantly trying to shut it down, as well as the neighbors complaining.

In hindsight, it was a very compassionate act that Local 46 should be very proud of!

In December of 1997, a new Business Manager was appointed by the Executive Board because the Business Manager at that time resigned to take a position in state government. The new Business Manager, for the first time in Local 46 history, is a woman.

August 13, 1997 General Meeting, a report is read from a Delegate to the Washington State Labor Council Convention. The Local 46 delegate spoke about a march and rally held in Wenatchee for the orchard workers. The march was led by the President of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney. Sweeney had been elected to lead the AFL-CIO in 1995, the first contested election in AFL-CIO history.

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1998 - Benaroya Hall Opens (shown); Mariner's Stadium Opens.

In 1998, the Local goes on record supporting and endorsing Initiative I-688, the campaign to raise the minimum wage. The initiative also adjusted the wage yearly, indexing it to the Consumer Price Index. Benaroya Hall, where the Seattle Symphony plays, was opened this year. The next major project to be completed was the Mariners’ Stadium - Safeco Field, which opened in 1999. Both were Union built.

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1999 - WTO Rally at the Stadium

The Rally, in protest to the WTO ministerial meeting, was held at Memorial Stadium in Seattle Center. The Stadium was full, and after the speeches and entertainment, about 40,000 trade unionists and their allies marched in protest, led by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. Many other International Union Presidents marched that day, including the President of the Canadian Labor Congress (equivalent of the AFL-CIO).

It seems a fitting way to end the Century in the same way it was begun.

In 1919, IBEW Local 46 members were on strike at the shipyards and the rest of the Local 46 members voted to support their struggle and join a General Strike.

In 1999, Local 46 members could see a continuing decline of the American working class, and the Union movement, through these brokered trade agreements negotiated by corporations and then voted into place by their political allies in office.

Once again, Local 46 members took to the streets peacefully and made their voices heard. Read on!

On April 11, 1990, a recommendation was sent to the pension trustees from the General Membership that we sell or liquidate all assets or shares in Royal Dutch Petroleum-Shell Oil Company due to their ties to South Africa’s apartheid government.

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August 1990 - Jack Perry Memorial Park

At the August 8th meeting it was reported that the Port of Seattle was naming a park in memory of Local 46 member Jack Perry, who had been tragically killed on one of the waterfront cranes in 1988. The park is between Pier 46, the Coast Guard Pier and Pier 30. When the Union Hall was in Belltown, once or twice the Local held outdoor General meetings at the park.


January 9, 1991 meeting, it was motioned and carried that Local 46 send three African-American delegates to the first National IBEW African-American Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Since then, the Local has consistently sent delegates of all races to the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus Annual Leadership Conference, which is held in a different city every year.

One of the unique features of the Leadership Conference is the volunteer participation of the delegates in projects within the community where the Conference is held.

At the June 12, 1991 meeting, it was motioned and carried to concur with the Wireman’s unit to request that the Seattle-King County Building Trades and the King County Labor Council observe Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as an official holiday.

In 1986, delegates to the IBEW International Convention had voted to change the Constitution and have conventions every five years. This change would save resources by only meeting every five years and the next Convention would then coincide with the 100th anniversary of the IBEW in 1991.

The Convention in 1991 was held in St. Louis, the place where the IBEW first met. The membership of Local 46 had increased to 3,146 and the delegates to 34th convention were as follows: S. E. Anderson, M. C. Hendrix, J. D. Andrew, W. E. Kaske, L. A. Ayson, R. V. Keller, J. S. Balliet, H. R. McGuire Jr, J. T. Freese, and P. T. Schwendiman.

For the next couple of years there was intense discussion about the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Members expressed their concerns about this proposal and the Local actually hired a Business Representative to research and educate the members on this flawed deal.

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May 1992 - First Organizing Blitz

On May 13, 1992, there was a report of the first organizing blitz the Local’s organizers arranged. Thirty-three members, plus staff, went out and knocked on doors for five days and talked with almost 500 non-union electricians about the IBEW. That year, and the following year, the Local ran four campaigns in the whole jurisdiction including knocking on trainees’ doors with Local 46 apprentices. This was the beginning of reaching out in a personal way to the electricians who weren’t yet Union members.

At the May 13th meeting, it was motioned and carried that Local 46 send four women to the Summer School for Trades Women at the Evergreen State College in Olympia. It was also motioned and carried to send four delegates to the Women in the Trades Fair. The Local was certainly changing and moving in a different direction, sending folks to conferences, members volunteering for organizing, and child care was being provided at the General Meetings.

Build Them in Washington!

The Unions came up with a slogan ‘Build Them in Washington’ and a partnership was formed with the People for Puget Sound, an environmental organization that supported doing the work with environmental controls to protect the Puget Sound.

Local 46 had a button maker and we made hundreds of ‘Build Them in Washington’ buttons and pretty soon everyone in Olympia was wearing the buttons. You were really out of place if you weren’t wearing a button. The legislation passed and Todd Shipyard, and a consortium of other local shipyards, bid the job. Todd won and went on to build the best ferries the system has ever had.


At the January 11, 1995 meeting, the Local donated $500 to the fund for the firefighters who lost their lives in the Pang food products plant on S. Dearborn St. The Pang fire had been set deliberately and four Union firefighters lost their lives when the building collapsed. Martin Pang, the arsonist, is serving a 35 year sentence for this horrific act.

Around 1995, the first discussions were happening about the building and whether we, as a Union, should be looking at some other options. Building on the property, or even looking for another site. The members directed the Business Manager and Building Managers to prepare a detailed plan of the options that could be made available. There is a very eloquent seven page hand written piece (inserted in the minutes) by a member, who reminds us to be very careful in our choices with our historic building.

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1996 - International Convention in Philly

The 1996 International Convention took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The membership remained the same with 3,153 members.

The elected delegates were: J. F. Alexander, M. C. (Mike) Hendrix, S. E. (Steve) Anderson, N. J. (Nancy) Mason, J. S. (Jennifer) Balliet, W. A. (Bill) Mirand, E. P. (Pat) Dimico, R. W. (Dick) Nelson, E. O. (Elwood) Evans and B. M. (Brett) Olson

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1998 SafeCo Field Completed

The Mariners’ Stadium (Safeco Field) breaks ground in 1997 and another stadium (football) is in the planning stages; Local 46 goes on record supporting the new proposed football stadium. That same year, voters approve building Seahawks Stadium (Qwest, now CenturyLink Field). Work is plentiful for most units at this time. The Local also goes on record supporting the apple orchard workers in their attempt to organize a Union.

At the November 10, 1998 General Meeting, a Central Labor Council staffer gave a report about the World Trade Organizations (WTO) meeting coming to Seattle in November of 1999. So the AFL-CIO began organizing early for this event.

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1999 WTO rally

During the October 3, 1999 General Meeting there is much discussion amongst members about the upcoming WTO Rally and March on November 30th. Many members expressed the idea of shutting the city down. Little did they know what was about to happen!

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1999 WTO Rally/March 

Although Labor led the Rally and March, there were other folks outside of Labor (aka anarchists) who had other ideas (vandalizism) and put them into practice, essentially shutting down the WTO. The city went under martial law for a while and the whole week was filled with marches and protests. Labor was credited with keeping the peace and trying to get others to keep the peace.

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King Conservation District Monthly Newsletter
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01-26-23 IBEW Local 46: It’s Union Time!!!
01-20-23 : IBEW Local 46: Come Meet and Greet your Business Representatives.
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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. 
For meeting and activity info, please e-mail ewmcfsseattle@gmail.com



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