2 Months Later, Electrician Strike in Washington Still Ongoing

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Well, it’s been about two months since I gave you guys the 411 on the IBEW Local 46 Strike and it’s still ongoing. More than 1,000 electricians in the Puget Sound region will remain on strike after voting to reject a proposal from the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) that would have offered higher pay but could have taken away the electricians’ right to strike.   

The strike, which began April 11, has lasted nearly 10 weeks and has disrupted construction at major job sites, including Microsoft and Amazon office buildings in Washington State.  

The offer from the NECA was not endorsed by the Limited Energy Electricians’ Union, and nearly 90% of the union’s members voted against it. 

The electricians are asking the National Electrical Contractors Association for paid holidays, higher pay, and increased safety measures like ensuring radios are available to workers on all job sites since electrical workers often spend their hours in hard-to-reach places. The contractors’ returned proposal included a note that they would potentially discuss paid holidays in the future, but not at this time, and a wage increase of $12.75 spread out over three years. 

“Part of the fight is about the holidays—we’ve never had paid holidays,” electrician Patrick Davis of Arlington said on the picket line outside the National Electrical Contractors Association office. “Holidays to us are just kind of an unpaid forced day off. So, we’d really like to spend time with our families and not worry about working more for that.” 

The full membership of the union’s limited energy electrician unit, which totals around 1,025, hasn’t gone on strike by themselves since 1945. They have a solidarity petition going around, as well as a strike fund to receive further support, though sources say that many members are struggling to get by. 

Strikes lasting over two months, involving over 1,000 employees, are rare in Washington, where most major strikes end within two weeks. Organizers emphasized that going on strike was a “last resort” and will continue until they feel they receive fair treatment.  

1 comment

  • Posted on by Benjamin
    Great update! I was just wondering about how this strike was going. Thank you for covering it.

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