Electrical Workers Minority Caucus


Forever Lifting Up – Always Moving Forward

The history of the EWMC has its roots in the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for equal rights for minority workers in the IBEW. Minority Electrical Workers Minority Caucuscommunities wanted greater opportunities to join the IBEW and minority members in the IBEW saw the need to strengthen and grow IBEW membership.

In 1974, African American and Hispanic delegates met during the 30th IBEW International Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and formed the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus to address the lack of minority representation and other inequalities within the IBEW.

The EWMC believes that the IBEW must embrace principles and actions of Diversity and Full Inclusion to organize, prosper and grow. Minorities, women, and communities of color must be mobilized and organized to grow the trade union movement.

Due to many years leadership by EWMC President Robbie Sparks, an IBEW Business Manager from Atlanta, Georgia, resolutions at IBEW International Conventions were adopted that committed the IBEW to Diversity and Full Inclusion. The success of the EWMC is essentially due to a strong vision and belief in the abilities of people of color, and that all must be included to strengthen and grow our IBEW.

The EWMC is a strong advocate for equal rights, opportunities, and greater minority representation in the IBEW. The EWMC is well respected by the IBEW and the labor movement because of its strong commitment and vigorous pursuit of social and economic justice for minority workers.

The Caucus serves as a support and networking system, and provides education and training for its members. The membership reflects a broad-based coalition of dedicated IBEW men and women who work within the IBEW structure to forge changes that will benefit minorities and the entire IBEW membership.

The EWMC Executive Committee is comprised of twelve elected officers: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and eight (8) At-Large members. The rules governing the EWMC are contained in the organization’s national operating bylaws.


Electrical Workers Minority Caucus’ Mission:

  1. Promote equal opportunity and employment for minorities at all levels of the IBEW structure;
  2. Foster leadership development and empower minorities to become active participants and leaders in the IBEW;
  3. Assist IBEW minority members who have discrimination complaints;
  4. Promote, support and assist the organizing of minority workers in the IBEW;
  5. Encourage minority workers to be greater activists in community and political affairs; and
  6. Be actively involved in AFL-CIO Constituency Groups, human, civil, and women’s rights organizations to advance the cause of minority workers.

EWMC Membership Form

EWMC on the Web



Diversity and Inclusion in the IBEW

IBEW Local 1439 adopts the mission statement of the IBEW on Diversity and Full Inclusion

Our mission, as members of the IBEW, is to provide a safe, inclusive, diverse, and respectful environment that unifies the membership and strengthens our union. As an organization, we strive for excellence, by acknowledging and building upon the uniqueness of each individual. 

The IBEW encourages and offers equal opportunity for all; regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or occupation. We, as members of the IBEW, encourage you to be advocates for dignity, inclusion and respect in your workplaces and your communities.

Combined, we are all the strength of the IBEW.

What is Diversity?

Diversity includes but is not limited to: Race, religion and spiritual beliefs, cultural orientation, color, physical appearance, gender, sexual identity, ability, education, age, ancestry, place of origin marital status, socio-economic circumstance, profession, language, health status, geographic location, group history, upbringing and life experiences.

Read more about how IBEW Local 1439 is leading the way on diversity and inclusion at this address.

EWMC Annual Coat Drive

By Tim Rowden, originally published in the St Louis/Southern Illinois Labor Tribune

Electrical Workers Minority Caucus coat drive warms little hearts

Each year in December, the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) collects coats for needy and homeless children in the greater St. Louis. Over the past five years, they have collected and donated more than 10,000 coats.Brown BurksJIM BROWN (left), longtime member of the EWMC and IBEW Local 1 and Carl Burks, secretary of EWMC and a member of IBEW Local 1439 with some of the donated coats. EWMC donated approximately 250 coats to needy and homeless children this year.

Members of the IBEW Locals 1, 1439 and 1459 conduct the annual drive to help children and young adults who are in desperate need of coats, hats and gloves for the winter but whose financial conditions are such that they can’t afford them.

The annual event is topped off with a dance and coat drive, where partygoers donate coats and the price of admission is donated back to the charity. This year’s dance was held at IBEW Local 1 Union Hall. About 250 coats were collected, and the drive – for coats and cash donations – is continuing.

“Any money we raise goes back to the charity,” said Carl Burks, Sr., secretary of EWMC District 11 in St. Louis and a member of IBEW Local 1439.

“When you see these kids, they’re just happy to have a coat,” Burks said. “It’s just sad that we take so much for granted.”

The reaction of one little boy, he said, was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

“He’s just happy to have a coat on,” Burks said. “You don’t know if he’s sleeping in the street or sleeping in a car. It makes us happy it makes our organization grow.

“As much as we take for granted a kids just wants a coats. It keeps them warm it makes them feel loved. That’ what we do, what we love to do, and we’re going to keep on doing.”

The coats are distributed through dozens of local organizations, including the Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center, Tandy Community Center, St. Vincent’s, ECHO, local city schools and several groups serving disabled children.