On May 1, 1994, IBEW Local 15 was chartered as the exclusive bargaining representative for employees of Commonwealth Edison and its successors by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Previously, seventeen different independent local IBEW unions, bargaining together as System Council U-25 represented Commonwealth Edison workers. Employees had formed those unions in the late 1940s at the end of World War II.
During the deregulation trend of the 1990s, utility companies changed radically. National policies that had empowered the US to build the largest and most reliable electrical system in the world gave way to various schemes depending on each state’s laws. In the midst of uncertainty and facing a resurgent anti-union movement, the IBEW amalgamated system councils representing utility employees across the country.
Commonwealth Edison formed energy holding company Unicom in 1994 and sold off their fossil generating stations. Unicom merged with PECO Energy company to create Exelon in 2000.
Edward MacDonald was Local 15’s first President-Business Manager. Bill Starr was elected to that position in 1995, followed by Bobby Joyce in 2002, then Dean Apple in 2007. Our membership elected Terry McGoldrick as President-Business Manager and Bill Phillips as Vice-President in 2019.
Through it all, our solidarity has enabled us to collectively bargain for the wages and benefits which are our fair share of the wealth that the electrical industry creates. As our industry and its regulations continue to change, we must keep our place at the bargaining table to maintain fair wages for the essential work that we do.