International President, Stephenson, Closes 39th International Convention ‘I am a member of the greatest union in the world. I am IBEW.’

The 39th International Convention was gaveled to a close by International President Lonnie R. Stephenson on Friday, Sept. 23.

The seventh IBEW convention in the union’s home town of St. Louis began with a focus on the past. Stephenson, International Secretary-Treasurer Sam Chilia and nearly a dozen other IBEW leaders used side cut pliers to cut the ribbon — a thick copper wire– of the Henry Miller Museum on Sept. 15.

More than a week later, the work of the more than 2,100 delegates and alternates to chart the union’s future was complete.

convention_floorStephenson took the podium Friday to address the men and women seated at tables stretching hundreds of feet away in front of him.

“This week, we came together as one union and one IBEW. We came together unified with one goal: to keep Henry Miller’s dream alive,” Stephenson said. “And that dream has remained the same since 1891: to organize all workers in the entire electrical industry in the United States and Canada.”

Friday, Sept. 23 was still a working day, and delegates listened to speakers and continued making crucial decisions for the Brotherhood.

The Final Gavel

“If we don’t organize and we don’t grow. It’s not just us who fails It’s the failure of the entire American and Canadianstephenson_with_gavel_looking_down dream,” Stephenson said. “And we can’t let that happen.”

Before Stephenson gaveled the convention to a close, he said to the thousands of men and women in front of him.

“We’re going to keep going on and on until every worker in every one of our branches can say with pride: ‘I am a member of the greatest union in the world. I am IBEW,’” he said. “So come Monday morning, be ready to work like hell and organize, organize, organize.”