Happy 110th Birthday Local 3, IBEW!!!

Collective Bargaining Agreement 1901

On February 7, 2010, Local 3 celebrates 110 years of affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO-CLC. First organized in 1887 as Local Assembly 5468 of the Knights of Labor, Local Assembly 5468 affiliated with the National Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (NBEW) as Local 3, NBEW.
The NBEW was organized on November 21, 1891 and became the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in 1899 when unions located in Canada affiliated. Local 3’s 1892 affiliation was short lived. In 1893 it disaffiliated over the issue of per capita dues payments to the national body and on February 7, 1900 it re-affiliated with the now IBEW and has remained so continuously. At the time of its 1900 affiliation there were approximately 1,700 members.


In 1904 the Building Trades Employers Association conducted a construction industry-wide lock-out of all Building and Construction Trades Council affiliates. The lock-out lasted 33 months. During the lock-out electrical employers vowed never to hire a Local 3 electrician again. As a result, at the end of the lock-out, Local 3 was issued a new charter by the IBEW as Local Union 534. At the end of the lock-out membership had fallen to 400. In 1917, ten-years later, the IBEW reissued a new charter and Local 534 became Local 3 once again.


In the early 1920’s a commission was created by the NYS Legislature to investigate practices within the construction ­industry, known as the “Lockwood Commission.” It’s final report exposed alleged widespread corruption within the construction industry. Soon after its report the IBEW put Local 3 into Trusteeship and the IBEW’s vice president was assigned to run the ­affairs of Local 3. During this period the responsibilities of the local’s officers were redefined and the position of business manager was established. The business manager became the chief officer of the union ­responsible for operations in the field. Business Agents who had been elected were now appointed and therefore under the direct control of the business manager. They were to be hired with the consent of the membership but can be discharge by the business manager without approval of the membership. The office of President became responsible for the overall administration of the day-to-day routine business of the ­organization and was charged to work in cooperation with the business manager on all matters.
Through the 110 year history as an IBEW affiliate, there are hundreds of families that are 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation members. These families, too numerous to mention, have all played an intrical part in the growth and success of Local 3. A number of families have been prominent in the development and success of Local 3. William Hogan was financial secretary from 1911 to his death in 1956 with a short break of 5 years in his service as an officer of Local 3. Lore has it that Local 3 was formed in his mother’s kitchen in the Yorkville section of Manhattan in 1887. The O’Hara’s held positions of importance. ­Richard O’Hara was president in 1922 and a business representative from 1934-1945, his son James O’Hara served as Executive Board member 1947-49; as a business represenative from 1949 to 1964 when he became Assistant Business Manager until his retirement in 2000. The McSpedons were a significant family. Howard McSpedon was a business representative in the 1930’s and 40’s and became the president of the NYC & NYS Building and Construction Trades Council. His son, Dennis, served as a business representative from 1980 until becoming president of Local 3 in 1987 and served as president until 2003. George McSpedon, Daniel McSpedon and Joseph McSpedon, served as business representatives. Daniel also served as vice-president of Local 501. Local 501 was merged into Local 3 in 1992. Presently, ­Richard McSpedon Jr. serves on the Executive Board.
No single family has been responsible for the success of Local 3 but there is one family that has been a guiding force of Local 3 over the last 100 years. That family is the Van Arsdale family. The Van Arsdales have been active in every aspect of Local 3. Harry Van Arsdale Sr., served as an executive board member in the early 1900’s. Harry Van Arsdale Jr., served as business manager from 1933 to 1968 and as financial secretary from 1968 until his death in 1986. Thomas Van Arsdale began his service as an executive board member in 1953, assistant business manager and then as business manager from 1968 until his retirement in 2006. Christopher Erikson, grandson of Harry Van Arsdale Jr., is the present business manager and has served in that capacity since the retirement of Thomas Van Arsdale. Prior to being business manager Erikson served since 1989 as a business representative and became an assistant business manager in 2001.
Over the 110 year history, Local 3 has grown from a union of 1,700 to a union of 30,000 members. Originally representing construction inside electricians exclusively, presently it represents electrical workers employed within every facet of the electrical industry from industrial, manufacturing, maintenance and construction. It has a long, proud history of ­improving the wages, hours, benefits and conditions of labor experienced by electrical workers throughout the New York Metropolitan area.
It has been a leader in establishing innovative benefits for workers within multi-employer industries including the first ­pension plan for such workers, first multi-employer Deferred Salary Plan 401(k) and Health Re-Imbusement Plan for such ­workers.
It has led the way on many legislative protections for workers including the strengthening of New York State’s prevailing wage law, workers compensation laws, the Wicks law and many other pieces of legislation that have resulted in a positive impact upon all workers.
Much has been accomplished over the last 110 years. None of it was possible without the cooperation of the membership and the enlightened employers who are signatory to collective bargaining agreements with Local 3.
Happy Birthday Local 3 and may we enjoy 110 more years of advancement!!!!

Prominent Families of Local 3

William Hogan
Financial Secretary

James O’Hara
Assistant Business

Howard McSpedon
Business Representative

Dennis McSpedon



Harry Van Arsdale Sr.
Executive Board Member

Harry Van Arsdale Jr.
Business Manager
Financial Secretary

Thomas Van Arsdale
Business Manager

Christopher Erikson
Business Manager