One hundred years ago a group of electrical workers met in Herrin, IL to discuss working conditions issues. They joined the IBEW to form Local Union 702, promoting safety, reasonable wages, industry friendship and dispute settlements in times of need. Their efforts prevailed, and now Local 702 celebrates l00 years of continued support from over 4,000 members, retirees and contractors.
Local 702/IBEW will be honored as the 2011 Corporate Honoree for HerrinFesta Italiana. The local was founded June 29, 1911 by a few men working in the electrical trade. The first Local 702Union Hall was in Herrin at Colombo Hall. In l928 the hall was re-located to West Frankfort, IL. In 1952 the current offices at 106 North Monroe in West Frankfort were dedicated.
Early organizers believed wages and working conditions should be that of a skilled craft. They felt the best way to achieve that was to organize. These early members are remembered with regard for their desire to advance their trade and make it better for all brothers. Local 702 embraces members from Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. They celebrate a century of great accomplishment this year.
The first officers from 1911-1912 were President, James Hanks, Vice-President, Lawrence Hundley, Financial Secretary, T. D. Springs, Recording Secretary, Ransom Little, and Treasurer, George Bullard
The first recorded contract between Local Union 702 and a utility dates to January, 1917 between Central Illinois Public Service Company and Local 702.
Local 702 represents workers in multiple service fields including utilities, inside wiremen, telecommunications, manufacturing, line clearance, sign erectors, instrument technicians, broadcast engineers and nursing.
Ronald Waldron is President of Local 702. Business Manager is Steve Hughart and Assistant Business Manger is Tate Wright. Business Representatives are Ed Phillips, Marsha Steele, Matt Hemenway, Dennis Peterson, Mark Baker, Richard Cunningham, Jason Woolard, Josh Holmes and Scott Kerley.
Jim Gentile, Executive Director of HerrinFesta, says, “I am proud to have Local Ibew/702 as our corporate honoree for 2011. As they celebrate their l00 year anniversary, we salute these hard working men and women who give every job 100%.”
A web site at www.ibew702.org has been created to celebrate the history of Local 702 and a list of activities for the l00- year celebration culminating with a special family event for members and their families on June 25 at the SIU Arena in Carbondale.
Officers of IBEW/702 will be honored at the Festa Honoree Banquet May 24 at 6 p.m. at the Herrin Civic Center and will ride in the Grand Festa Parade on May 28 in downtown Herrin.