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March 12, 2024

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I am hoping that you and your families are doing well. These are very challenging times. We must remain vigilant.  This past January we celebrated more than 50 years of struggle, success, determination, and steadfastness. Just like the struggles led by A. Philip Randolph and others in the union movement, our struggle continues. Sometimes the labor struggle appears to take on the identity of a social struggle. Often the two are inextricably bound together.

The challenges of being Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, Asian American, female, LGBTQI+, or any other underrepresented cohort don’t end or even become impeded by joining a union. In fact, those implicit biases are too often supported by the ‘gentlemen’s club’ attitude of the union environment.

The underrepresented cohorts are the most loyal and dedicated union members. The EWMC started a national movement at the International Convention of the IBEW in Kansas City, MO in 1974. Those Black and Brown individuals were involved in an effort not to take over the IBEW, not to tear down the IBEW, but to make the IBEW better. They wanted what every IBEW member wants, to be respected and treated fairly and equally.

That mission is still at the forefront of our movement today. In that quest, the EWMC has been the genesis for the current Civic and Community Engagement Department in Washington, D.C. The IBEW Strong diversity, equity, and inclusion program is a direct result of the EWMC seeing a need for this program in the IBEW. This is considered the third leg of the stool. Organizing is at the core of the IBEW Strong program as the EWMC felt the need for every member of the IBEW to be accepted as the “OBJECTS” as stated on page iv of the IBEW Constitution. The other two legs are COMET/MEMO organizing programs initiated by IP Jack Barry and the Code of Excellence initiated by IP Edwin Hill. Note: Both of these programs were and are mandatory for IBEW members.

The EWMC has other issues to address as well. One being the solidarity of our membership. The EWMC has been the flagship and core of the quest for equity, inclusion, and diversity. In the beginning and throughout this endeavor, African Americans have led this struggle, not unlike the civil rights movement. And like the civil rights movement, many other cohort movements have either joined or started their own organizations. They all have the same interests and goals; to be treated not specially, but with dignity and respect.

The EWMC has a very large tent. In recognition of strength in numbers, common cause and a unified voice, we have been a welcome place for African Americans, Hispanic, Indigenous, Asian American, women, LGBTQI+, and white members.

Too many of our leaders and many of our members want to hoard information as if it belongs to them only. They are misguided in believing it is about them and not the membership. Our members want to see leadership that looks like them. When someone joins an organization, they don’t just want to be told there are no barriers. They want to see there are no barriers.

In solidarity,


Keith Edwards

EWMC International President

Page Last Updated: Mar 12, 2024 (08:10:33)
Electrical Workers Minority Caucus
P.O. Box 821462
Vancouver, WA 98682

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