The AFL-CIO Executive Council mourns the passing of Ed Hill, longtime Electrical Workers (IBEW) international president.
Hill was a trade unionist to the core, always doing what was best for his members and all working people, across backgrounds and borders.
Hill started as a second-generation journeyman electrician and member of IBEW Local 712 in Beaver, Pennsylvania. He rose to regional prominence as the local’s business manager and vice president of IBEW’s Third District, covering Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. In 1997, Hill was appointed international secretary and assumed the newly created position of secretary-treasurer one year later. He became international president of the IBEW in 2001 and served until his retirement in May 2015.
Hill was a statesman. He chose solutions over sound bites, common ground over conflict. At the 2005 AFL-CIO Convention in Chicago, he delivered a memorable and eloquent speech about the need for labor solidarity, a message that still rings true today.
In response to the Great Recession, Hill implemented a market recovery program that established alternative job classifications in electrical construction. That effort helped boost man-hours and market share that had been lost by the union’s signatory contractors during the economic downturn, while getting idled journeymen back on the job.
He also spearheaded the IBEW’s Code of Excellence, a groundbreaking initiative to demonstrate the skills and professionalism of union members to employers, customers and communities.
Hill helped build the IBEW into an undeniable powerhouse, a mass movement of skilled professionals dedicated to hard work, solidarity and full lives. And he did it all with a smile on his face, displaying a wonderful sense of humor and fierce loyalty to his friends, family and fellow trade unionists.
All working people owe a debt of gratitude to Ed Hill. He will be sorely missed.