What was it like 100 years ago?

On June 29, 1908, 19 electricians, aged 19 to 31, petitioned the I. B. E. W. Head Office in Springfield, Illinois, for a charter to cover Halifax, Nova Scotia. The charter application was signed by the Local's first President, Howard J. Smith, and Secretary,William Francis Spruin. On July 24, 1908 the charter was approved by I. B. E. W. Grand Secretary, Peter W. Collins.

That same year:

  • Wilbur Wright flew for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
  • The Chicago Cubs won their second World Series in a row and their last!
  • October 1, Henry Ford introduced Model T ($825.00).
  • An average person needed to work 4696 hours to earn $825.00.
  • A Treaty was signed between His Majesty and the United States regarding the demarcation of the international boundary between the United States and Canada.
  • Lucy M. Montgomery penned Anne of Green Gables.
  • General Baden Powell founded the Boy Scouts.
  • May 10, the first Mothers Day was observed (Philadelphia).


The Certainty of Change

If there is one thing that history teaches us it's that change or evolution is constantly occurring. Just as a person is born to grow to adulthood, while adapting to each challenge he or she faces, so too has the IBEW and Local 625. When IBEW Local 625 began in 1908, the main modes of transportation were horse and buggy or the train as Henry Ford and Harley Davidson were in the early stages of revolutionizing transportation in North America. No one can argue that the clothes worn by those members, the tools they used, the food they ate, the houses they lived in, and the manner in which they communicated or spoke bears any resemblance to today. In fact, there have been many stages of change since that time, driven in no small part by two World Wars, the major economic and social depression of the 1930s, the industrialization period in a post Second World War North America, and the ever increasing demand for energy while protecting the environment and governments. During all this change throughout the decades, nothing has impacted the IBEW and Local 625 as much as governments. We have experienced the best and worst of times because of governments of the day as well as our reactions to the situation these governments created. Yes, there is a measure of blame we have to acknowledge in order to learn from our mistakes. Looking to the future it is important to respect and understand our past. If we are to secure a better future for ourselves, our families and our society, we must become knowledgeable and politically active. This is the only manner in which we can be proactive as change occurs instead of adopting the reactive manner we seem to have experienced too many times.

Since our 100th birthday in 2008, IBEW Local 625 has experienced a considerable increase in market share, implemented a completely new dispatch system complete with sweeping rule changes and has implemented a new computer-based system for maintaining The List. All of this is due to recognition that these changes were imperative to meet our current and future requirements. In closing, I have offered my view on this topic in a condensed manner with the intent of highlighting the relentless motion of change that affects all of us. History continues to demonstrate that it is not the strongest that survive but rather the most adaptable to change. The IBEW and Local 625 have experienced enormous change and I am convinced that the process is never ending. It is my hope that we never lose sight of this reality and God Bless the IBEW.

Tim Swinamer
Business Manager

IBEW Local 625