IBEW LOCAL 164 - A HISTORY
Established in 1891 when public demand for electricity surged, the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers sought to obtain an improved way of life for electrical linesmen whose death rate was one of every two hired. Without apprenticeship programs and safety standards, pioneering linesmen and electricians risked their lives for a mere 15 to 20 cents an hour. Although its first convention in St. Louis was attended by only 10 delegates representing 286 members, the nationwide brotherhood expanded by 1899 to include telephone operators and territorial jurisdiction in Canada. With 40 locals, the organization became known as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
Founded in 1901, Local 164 remains dedicated to the IBEW's original objective and programs to make life better for its members and those around them. Originally established with exclusive jurisdiction in Hudson County, Local 164 was expanded to include Bergen County in 1928 and Essex County in June 2000. Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
1901 - IBEW Local 164 formed to serve electricians in Hudson County. The Local was formed about 10 years after the IBEW national Union was created in St. Louis in 1891. The Seventh National Convention is held in St. Louis.
1913 - IBEW Local 164 continues to grow and offices are located in Jersey City … nationally, there are about 23,500 union members.
1917 - The 14th National Convention is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The United States enters World War 1. Demand for trained electrical workers increases substantially in conjunction with the war efforts.
1920 - Construction of the Holland Tunnel begins - Local 164 members play a major part in bringing the tunnel to completion.
1924 - The Holland Tunnel is completed, becoming the world's first ventilated highway tunnel.
1927 - Work begins on the George Washington Bridge, with Local 164 members involved in the overall construction process.
1928 - Local 164 absorbs Local 578 in Bergen County - the Local now serves both Hudson and Bergen counties.
1931 - The George Washington Bridge is completed - it is the longest suspension bridge in the world, twice as long as the next largest one ever built!
1933 - Nationally, the country is in the midst of the Great Depression. Franklin Roosevelt takes office and immediately begins "New Deal" legislation to launch the country on the road to recovery. One of the New Deal programs involving Local 164 members? The original Jersey City Medical Center.
1934 - Work begins on the Lincoln Tunnel, again drawing on the expertise of Local 164 members to aide in its construction.
1937 - The first tube of the Lincoln Tunnel is opened … it is the first major tunnel project in the country to be completed without a single fatality!
1941- United States enters WWII. Locally, members of the 164 become involved in projects supporting the war effort, such as the Curtis-Wright manufacturing plant in Woodbridge and the forerunner of the Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne. Nationally the IBEW, NECA and the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship establish the first National Apprenticeship Standards for the Electrical Construction industry.
1950's -With World War II over, work switches to peacetime expansion, and Members of Local 164 are put to work! New bores are constructed for the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and work begins on the nation's newest innovations - mega-malls, including the Garden State Plaza and Bergen Malls.
1960's - Work along the Hudson River continues to transform the New Jersey Waterfront. Elizabeth and Bayonne become major ports of entry for shipments to and from Europe. High rises appear all along the riverfront … all built with Local 164 hands!
1972 - Ground breaks for Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands area near East Rutherford, NJ. Local 164 members help turn a swampland into what is now considered to be one of the greatest sports and entertainment complexes in the world.
1975 - IBEW Local 164 creates the Telecom Division.
1970's - IBEW members construct the electroplating facility at the Ford Motor Plant in Mahwah. Ongoing work is performed throughout the remainder of the century on the Hudson River crossings into New York City.
1981 - Work completed on the Meadowlands Sports Complex, including the racetrack and what is now Continental Arena. In addition, Local 164's growth demands more space than can be accommodated in Jersey City, and the union offices move to Kansas Street in Hackensack NJ
1980's - major projects include the enclosure of the Garden State and Bergen malls … construction of the Riverside Mall … and the re-electrification of the Erie/Lackawanna Railroad
1987 - The JATC begins telecommunications training, in conjunction with its move from space adjacent to Union Hall into 3 classrooms in the Kansas Street offices.
1990's - This decade saw Local 164 moving from a focus on manufacturing to service oriented projects. These include construction of trading floors at 101 Hudson and the Pershing Building in Jersey City … modernization of the Jersey City Medical Center (originally built in the 1930's as part of FDR's National Recovery Projects) … and the construction of the Federal Reserve Bank off Route 17 near Wood-ridge.
1995 - Members of Local 164's Telecommunications Division install fiber-optics for the monorail at Newark Airport.
1998 - Local 164 and the JATC jointly purchase a facility at 65 Century Avenue in Paramus to house union offices and the training facility.
1999 - IBEW Local 52 is absorbed into Local 164 … Local 164 now represents members in Essex County, in addition to Hudson and Bergen Counties.
2001 - Local 164 celebrates its 100th anniversary.
2002 - Local 164 and the Joint Boards acquire their current offices at 205 Robin Road, directly behind the Century Avenue facility, which is taken over in its entirety by the JATC.
2000's - Telecommunication Division members complete work on converting the old Macy's store at 65 Halsey Street in Jersey City into a centralized exchange for internet traffic in the New York metropolitan area.
2003- Local 164 ratified a landmark electrical contract resulting in a 7.8 percent increase for members during the next four years.
2004- In partnership with key state agencies, including the N.J. Department of Labor, AFL-CIO, State Employment and Training Commission and State Department of Education, the Local develops a new college-credit program for skilled workers
2005- The New Jersey Board of Electrical Examiners (NJBEE) approves 10 skill improvement courses being offered by Local 164 to satisfy the continuing education credit requirement for electrical contractors.
2006- Local 164 electricians are dispatched to New Orleans' 9th Ward to volunteer as part of REBUILD 1000!, a national effort to rehabilitate 1,000 Gulf Coast houses affected by Hurricane Katrina, the worst storm in our nation's history.
2007- The new National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) 70E standard, adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is incorporated into Local 164's safety training curriculum, with an emphasis on arc flash protection.
2008- Local 164 launches the first-of-its-kind mandatory substance abuse testing program in the construction trades that includes all members, traveling electricians and telecom technicians and mandatory missed work and counseling for those testing positive for drugs or alcohol.