BEGINNING OF BROTHERHOOD
The nucleus of our Brotherhood formed in 1890. An
exposition was held in St. Louis that year featuring a glorious
display of electrical wonders. Wiremen and linemen
from all over the United States flocked to Missouris queen
city to wire the buildings and erect the exhibits which were
the spectaculars of their era.
The men got together at the end of each long workday
and talked about the toil and conditions for workers in the
electrical industry. The story was the same everywhere. The
work was hard; the hours long; the pay small. It was common
for a lineman to risk his life on the high lines 12 hours
a day in any kind of weather, seven days a week, for the meager
sum of 15 to 20 cents an hour. Two dollars and 50 cents
a day was considered an excellent wage for wiremen, and
many men were forced to accept work for $8 a week.
There was no apprenticeship training, and safety standards
were nonexistent. In some areas the mortality rate
for linemen was one out of every two hired, and nationally
the mortality rate for electrical workers was twice that of
the national average for all other industries.*
(more to come, check back)
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