Three electrical workers unions have dominated the industry in modern times. The IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), a trade union, was founded nationally on November 21, 1891 and first chartered in Pittsburgh in 1897. The UE (United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America) came on the scene nationally in the 1930s and locally won major organizing victories at Westinghouse Electric, Westinghouse Air Brake Co. and Union Switch & Signal among others. The University of Pittsburgh is the official repository of the historic national and district records of the UE and holds significant materials for many locals and localities across the country in addition to a rich collection of Western Pennsylvania labor records. The IUE (International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and Furniture Workers) emerged in the Cold War atmosphere of the late 1940s and challenged the UE in bitter union representation elections.
Tom Fitzpatrick addressing a UE rally
in East Pittsburgh, PA during the 1946 Strike.
(UE News Photo Files, UE Archives)