You are now able to pay your Dues, by phone or in person, or purchase merchandise at the hall, by using your Credit/Debit Card.

(Applicable fees will apply.)

 

 

  

 

 

HISTORY

 

IBEW Local 55 was founded as an outside “A" member union. Seventeen men got together April 5, 1897 to organize the local. They elected officers and approved a charter which was signed by President H. W. Sherman and  Secretary/Treasurer J. T. Kelley. In its early years Local 55 members were primarily electric, telephone and cable car linemen.

The wage scale was low and accidents occurred frequently. Local 55 linemen working for Des Moines City Railway Co. and Des Moines Electric Co. made 53 cents per hour effective April 1, 1918. In 1919 the linemen began rebuilding the Fort Des Moines light Plant.

At that time, Fort Des Moines was a permanent army post used for treating wounded soldiers. That reconstruction job was completed entirely by union
workers. Also in 1919, the local’s initiation fee increased from $15 per member to $25.

Work prospered and declined as did the economy over the next several years. In 1957, Local 55 remained an outside “A” member local with jurisdiction over 9/10ths of Iowa. There was an increased demand for rural electrification during this time frame. In fact, by November 1957 over 1,000 miles of 115 KV and 161 KV high lines had been built. This was 3/4 of a grid which had been planned 10 years previously.

Another important step for the local occurred on June 24, 1957 when the membership authorized its business assistant to organize City Water Works employees.

Then in 1958 the members voted to incorporate “BA” membership hoping to organize tree trimmer and telephone REA workers.

That same year the local also started apprenticeship classes at Des Moines Technical High School, Adult Division. Classes met four hours each
Saturday morning and the Kurtz Lineman’s Handbook was the official reference manual. However, at that time line construction lessons compiled by the International Office and NECA were not yet available to individual students.

As membership continued to grow and the demand for labor increased, the members decided to build a new union hall in 1971. Local 55 has been located at the 1435 N.E. 54th Ave., Des Moines site since that year. In 1980 plans were underway to build an apprenticeship training area adjacent to the union hall. Those plans fell through, however due to the liability involved.

Local 55 now has over 750 members and its jurisdiction covers all but seven of Iowa’s 99 counties. It is an “A” and “BA” local with members in outside line construction, utility, tree trimming, and telephone, telegraph, municipal workers and CATV construction. Besides line construction, Local 55 now represents 28 separate units. As the Local continues to grow, so does its strength and ability to represent the membership. Future goals for Local 55 include building the membership to its richest capacity in which each and every member’s needs can best be served. New members joining the current brothers and sisters will provide the strength necessary to achieve this goal.