Celebrating America’s Lineworkers

Throughout the past year, our nation’s lineworkers have faced unprecedented challenges, including the most active Atlantic hurricane season on record, severe wildfires, derechos, damaging ice storms and recent severe heat waves — all while dealing with the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each day, nearly 75,000 highly skilled and dedicated lineworkers are on the front lines, ensuring that we have the reliable, affordable, secure and clean energy we need to power our economy and to keep us connected.

As we do every year on July 10, the Edison Electric Institute’s member companies — America’s investor-owned electric companies — and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are joining together to recognize the tremendous work of America’s lineworkers and to salute them for the jobs they do every single day for the customers and the communities they proudly serve.

National Lineworker Appreciation Day honors the life and work of Henry Miller, the first president of IBEW, who was killed 125 years ago on July 10 in the line of duty while working to restore power during an outage in Washington, D.C. On this day we also celebrate the extraordinary service and skill of the men and women who risk their lives to power our cities, communities, homes, and businesses. Their jobs are critical to our industry, and their work is essential.

We are happy to report that other voices are joining us in recognizing the immense contributions of America’s lineworkers: More than 100 members of Congress are co-sponsors for a bipartisan House resolution thanking lineworkers and recognizing their talent, dedication and service to their communities. U.S. Representative Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) — the first female IBEW member elected to Congress — is a lead co-sponsor of the resolution.

Our nation’s lineworkers are highly skilled and extensively trained to carry out their mission, which also includes maintaining and enhancing the energy grid and other critical energy infrastructure. Lineworkers are at the forefront of building smarter energy infrastructure and deploying new technologies that are central to our vision of delivering a cleaner and stronger energy future for all customers.

Not only are we focused on ensuring that today’s workforce receives the best-in-class training needed to do their jobs safely, we also are committed to attracting, training and retaining the next generation of skilled workers. That’s why IBEW and EEI are working together to enhance vocational education and awareness opportunities, identify and eliminate barriers to entry, and create tangible job opportunities. This includes programs like Troops to Energy Jobs, which helps veterans transition into rewarding careers in the energy industry. We know that jobs in our industry provide high-paying, stable and, at times, life-changing career opportunities.

At the same time, we are working to advance racial and social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to create new job opportunities for underrepresented populations. We are committed to helping ensure that those who are seeking jobs in the electric power industry can develop the skills they need to pursue a successful career in our industry.

IBEW and EEI have a longstanding and strong partnership dedicated to supporting our workforce and to delivering America’s clean energy future. We are proud of our lineworkers — and every worker in our industry. We hope you will join us on National Lineworker Appreciation Day — and every day — and #ThankALineworker.

Lonnie Stephenson is president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Tom Kuhn is president of the Edison Electric Institute, the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.

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