The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is an organization run by its members and for its members. We are a union dedicated to the basic principles of organized labor and are the largest, strongest, and oldest union devoted to electrial workers.

We are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, giving us the combined strength of 10.5 million workers. There are more than 700,000 members of the IBEW in more than 900 local unions established throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.S. territories.

Our Jurisdiction covers all branches of utility, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, railroad, manufacturing, and government. The International Office is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with the district offices throughout the United States and Canada.

IBEW Local 31 represents workers in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin.  Our main office is located in Duluth, MN. 

C.J. Sutter of Duluth, MN was one of the original 10 IBEW (NBEW) founders present at the first convention in 1891, St. Louis, Missouri.  A Local 25 was chartered in Duluth, MN on July 27, 1892.  That local union became defunct on March  5, 1897.  The current Local 31 was chartered on August 20, 1899.  On April 1, 1976, the local was split into two.  Local 31 remaining as utility workers and construction inside wiremen becoming Local 242 with a new charter.  Both are still in existence.  To learn more about IBEW history and founders, check out the link on the bottom of this page.

Local 31 has a staff of 4 full time employees: Business Manager, Assistant Business Manager, Business Representative, Office Manager and a Part Time Assistant Office Manager.  Today our membership consists of approximately 970 active members and over 400 retired members.  It has 10 elected representatives; the elected positions are the Business Manager, President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, 5 Executive Board members, and Treasurer.  Local 31 represents 19 different contracts.

The local has union Stewards in all of its contracts and within most individual departments and locations.  The task of your union Steward is to make sure that you are receiving all the benefits specified in your agreement.  Your Business Manager and/or Steward will only know of an issue if you let them know one exists. Under the terms of the agreement, you are entitled to grievance and arbitration procedures. Give your Steward the information and what issue you would like resolved as well as a resolution and they will process the issue.  You may contact your local union office at any time.

Regular monthly meetings allow our members to meet and speak directly to our officers, participate in group discussions, have individual problems and questions addressed, be informed of local policies and affairs, and vote on matters that affect the union. Your participation at these meetings allows us to maintain close ties with the membership and enables our union to work.

The Local Union portion of the dues is used for negotiation and administration of the contract, officers’ salaries and benefits, lost time wages, arbitration, steward training and court cases just to name a few.  In addition, all IBEW locals are affiliated with, and pay dues to the AFL-CIO in the state as well as Central Labor Councils and the National Safety Council.

By being a member of the IBEW and the AFL-CIO you have additional benefits such as a union member credit card, union member mortgages, discounts of the purchase of union made goods such as computers, and the ability to consult an attorney for free and discounted rates for legal service. You can also find information on Union Plus programs at www.unionprivilege.org.

The Local requests that every member and every eligible voter in your household register to vote as well as taking the time to vote.  Each state AFL-CIO has voter registrations available. A new voter registration must be filled out whenever you change residence or change marital status or a name change. Your local union researches and endorses labor friendly candidates; however your vote is your choice.

Local 31 is politically active. Many of the members, as well as the general public, feel that they do not have an impact on what happens in government. We have been fortunate in Minnesota to have a labor movement that is well organized under the direction of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and is gaining strength financially. To continue to increase our position with the elected representatives, we ask that the members contribute to the Local’s Committee On Political Education (COPE). Sign up by contacting a steward or the Local Union office. The choice is yours. Your donation helps the Local contribute to the elected officials that support working families, regardless of the party. The Local encourages you to donate a small amount to help fight for your interests.

The goal of the Local is to do as much as we can to represent each IBEW member so you and your family can enjoy the benefit of union affiliation. All the Union Representatives of Local 31 encourage your participation whether as a representative or offering an opinion.  Please get involved- it is your career.


Learn more about the IBEW founder and president.....