History of the U-9 Council

In 1973 Local Union leadership saw a need to coordinate efforts of organizing, strategizing, negotiating and contract protection against a huge company that was growing and expanding in Appalachia, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. American Electric Power was Gobbling up competitors at an alarming rate. Companies that had once been small and employee friendly were now a subsidiary of the Corporate Giant, AEP. Thus the UCC-2 was born.

“The objects of this Council shall be to further by all lawful and proper means the employment and earning opportunities of the membership of the affiliated local unions, and to achieve coordinated action and to maintain harmonious relations and unity between them.” -Bylaws UCC-2, 1973

The council started meeting twice a year then to 3 times a year as things heated up. The best that most Locals could do during this time was to hold their own against a Corporate Giant. AEP was not known for its friendly treatment of its employees nor customers.  Strikes, job actions, court cases and NLRB rulings did not deter the AEP mind set.

In 1998 AEP proposed a merger of the utility company Central and Southwest (CSW) with AEP. The new company would be called ……………….AEP.  Finally an instrument had arisen that could lead to somewhat leveling the playing field.

Under the direction of the IBEW International Office, The IBEW Locals of CSW and AEP banded together to form the IBEW System Council U-9. The System Council Locals and the International intervened in the merger in order to preserve the rights and affect positive change in the working lives of the merged employees. For the most part we were successful. We gained things that we unable to achieve in all the years leading up to the merger. Union Security clauses, Time off for Union business, Leave of absence for Union Officials, contract completion for initial contracts that were stalled and wage equalization,  to name a few.

Fighting the merger was one thing, it was easy to pull together to fight AEP, the common threat. It turned out that it was much harder in subsequent years to pull together and operate day to day together. One of the goals of the U-9 was to negotiate together for the benefit of all. The premise being that there is strength in numbers.  The U-9 continued in the coordination mode as set forth in the UCC2 for several years until a window of opportunity arose once again.

In 2004 AEP changed CEO’s. Michael Morris had a philosophy that was foreign to AEP, respect for their employees and their Unions. One thing that came from this new mind set was that the IBEW and AEP started working on a Master Union agreement. This agreement would move the items from the Local Union agreements that were similar into one contract that covered all of the bargaining Units together. The Local bargaining Units would still maintain a Local agreement that set forth items not found in the Master.  This was finally accomplished in 2009. The System Council was now the Exclusive Bargaining agent for the Master agreement and Yearly wages.