The Kansas City Electrical Workers were first issued a Charter No. 18 in March of 1892 by the National Brotherhood of Electrical Works of America. This was a mixed local of inside wiremen and linemen. Its first president was F.J. Roth and the first financial secretary was L.M. Rose. The members experienced many difficult times but in spite of the many obstacles, they were determined to continue on.
Records of the early days of the local are very scarce – no minutes of Local No. 18 are available. In 1905, for reasons unrecorded, the local, then meeting at 1333 Grand Avenue, decided to regroup and requested a new charter from the International Office. The application was approved and on September 5, 1905, the local was chartered as Local No. 124 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for inside wiremen. The name of the brotherhood was changed from “National” to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1899.
Charter members of Local No. 124 were: Henry Aberer, Fred Geiss, Thomas J. Carrol, Riley Downey, John C. Carrol, Charles McCallum, Charles D. Calkins, Henry Boese and John A. Castelow.
Records of the early years of the local are very scant; in fact, no minutes of the Local’s meetings are available from 1905 until 1916. However, we have ascertained from records on hand, that the first elected President of the local was W.C. Welch and the first financial secretary was Harry C. Marshall. Meetings of the Local were held weekly and officers were elected for a period of six months.
In about 1907, the local moved to 1112 Locust, (the present site of the City Hall) and continued there until 1910 when the local moved to the new Labor Temple, then located at 14th and Woodland. The site is now part of Interstate Highway 70.
In 1915, during the construction of the Union Station, the Local voted to strike to improve conditions. Those were difficult times for the 231 members, as the strike lasted for a period of nine months. It was a very educational period and proved to the employers and the members the value of settling our difficulties through negotiations. Since 1915, to date of this writing, the inside wiremen have not gone on strike.