The full-life oral history of Edward L. Barnes (b. 1933) was conducted by Jim Strassmaier in 2008 for OLOHP and contains twenty-one hours of recording.
Originally from West Virginia, the Barnes family moved west during World War II and settled in Vancouver, Washington. In 1955, Barnes joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48 and began work as an apprentice on The Dalles Dam construction project. He served locally on the union’s Executive Board, then as Vice President, President, and finally as Business Representative until he retired in 1995.
The Barnes interview is a part of OLOHP’s collection of histories from IBEW Local 48 members which thus far also includes Keith Edwards and Herman Teeple.
Enter to listen to excerpts from Barnes’ interview which highlight his experiences as a coal miner’s son during the Great Depression and as an elected representative of the IBEW during the economic recession of the 1980s. Topics include his childhood memories of Arthurdale, W.Va.; the IBEW’s Market Recovery Program and Apprenticeship Program.
The Barnes interviews were conducted by the Oregon Labor Oral History Program (OLOHP) and are archived at the Oregon Historical Society. OLOHP’s work is supported by ATU 757 members through a 2-cent per capita levy instituted in 2010. This contribution funds oral histories conducted by students, including subjects representing other unions.
Special thanks to Tracey Powers of IBEW Local 48 for her assistance in collecting images for this exhibit.