986 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15220


IBEW Local Union 1919
Line Clearance Tree Trimmers


About Local 1919

Line Clearance Tree Trimmers



Local 1919 was not the first form that the organized tree trimmers in Pittsburgh took. Some early dreamers had the idea for union representation in 1952. The American Federation of Labor was the first to respond to the call from John A Taylor, Jacob S. Beeson, Thomas J. Walsh, Paul G. Douthett, R. Lichtenwalter and Walter E. Saber.


In 1952 the Federal Labor Union No. 24848 represented what is now known as IBEW Local 1919.


Our charter was granted as Local 1919 and signed by-

   Walter Saber

   William F Heim

   Neil V Hinkle

   Harry M Dice

   Paul W Rassau

   Gerald Wauchter

   Raymond R Sauers

   Louis M Reis

   Richard H Kaiser       

   James F Kelley

   Richard Helm

   Paul Douthett

   Thomas J Walsh

   John A Taylor

   Robert W McDonald

Some of these names were easily recognized well into the 1990's. Walter Saber was the first Business Manager and was closely followed by Tom Walsh who continued as Business Manager from 1955 until 1999.


The officers often met at each other’s homes for E-Board meetings and planning. This type of personal commitment resulted in the first contract of Local 1919 from May 2,1955 to May 1, 1956.


Local 1919 continued to set the standard in the face of company opposition, things weren't so different then after all. During that time the men routinely switched from Line Clearance to Residential work, and back again. Often Crew Leaders supplied the trucks and equipment to the companies that won the contracts on Duquesne Light Property.


It is important for the new member to realize that your employer has not granted the benefits you enjoy from the goodness of their hearts - they were fought for and won! The only thing that keeps them continuing from year-to-year and contractor-to-contractor is our solidarity and the Collective Bargaining Agreement.


IBEW Local Union 1919

The goal of our Local is to do as much as we can to represent each IBEW member so you and your family can enjoy the benefit of union affiliation.

On April 27, 1966 a special meeting was held to discuss this new piece of equip­ment that had just showed up on the property. The Bucket Truck!


Carl Carpenter, Paul Pitt, Bob Morehead, and W.F. Heim represented the Davey Tree Company. Tom Walsh, Fran Murray, John Taylor, Richard Bujak, Charles Conway, and Paul Douthett represented Local 1919. Safety rules were discussed and these items were agreed to:


  1. The crews would be two men, a Crew Leader and 'journey-man' trimmer
  2. No climbing tools or ropes allowed in the basket except one 1 /2" rope.
  3. No saws allowed in the basket except the 'airtext' saw
  4. Buckets will remain folded when-


-Chipper is in operation

-Crew Leader is securing permits

-Crew Leader doing time reports or other reports

-If the job required the use of power' saws and ropes, then another crew will work with the bucket.

-There would be no decrease in the work force because of the bucket truck.


The greatest accomplishment for Local 1919 came about on October 1, 1990 when the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training recognized that Line Clearance Tree Trimmers were worthy of Apprenticeship.


We contacted the Department of Labor and set the wheels in motion for this recognition of our trade. Standards were compiled and recognized and where none existed they had to be drawn up and adopted. It took many years.


Finally all the paperwork was completed, the Trust Fund Document was written and signed, the curriculum compiled and printed. On January 22, 1992 the first class of the only certified Line Clearance Journeyman Tree Trimmers in the United States graduated.


These members were of that first graduating class:

   Tom Walsh

   John Primrose

   Ed Budkey

   Thomas Carrola

   Dave McQuaid

   Richard Kurtek

   Paul Milbert

   Steve Bosynak

   John Moore

   Robert Schutte

   James Troutman

We realized our mission of establishing a permanent professional work force to serve the contractors awarded the Utility contracts during a very difficult time. The original charter for LU 1919 was for the jurisdiction of all line clearance and maintenance in the Pittsburgh area for Duquesne Light. This included work in both Allegheny and Beaver Counties.

Our brothers in Local 126 transferred the Tree Trimmers from Allegheny Power Systems and Penn Power to us. The International changed our jurisdiction and the mem­bers voted on massive by-law changes to accommodate the new structure.

Some of the things we have been successful in accomplishing in the past are best understood by examining what we were the first to accomplish. Local 1919 was the:

  • First to establish a Health and Welfare fund for our members and their families. Life insurance, health insurance and death benefits for our families were successfully negoti­ated.
  • First to create a pension.
  • First in the United States to establish a federally certified apprentice program and train­ing fund. The recognition of Line Clearance Tree Trimmers as an apprenticable trade is one of 1919's greatest accomplishments. Our members can be proud to carry a Jour­neyman card with the seal of the "Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, United States Department of Labor".

The card-carrying Journeyman Tree Trimmers of Local 1919 are in demand every­where they go. They are consistently the last to be returned to the utility when out of town on storm work. They suffer less lost time accidents than their contemporaries because they are better trained. They are at the forefront of the Line Clearance Industry.

IBEW Local Union 1919 - Line Clearance Tree Trimmers Logo

Local 1919

We Care

Local 1919 Helps Union Brothers & Sisters

Live the American Dream !

IBEW Local Union 1919

Best Safety Training in the Industry

Safety is a critical issue for Line Clearance Tree Trimmers. Our working conditions are not only difficult, but can also be dangerous.

IBEW Local Union 1919

Best Trained Line Clearance Tree Trimmers

Offering Apprentice classes, First Aid / CPR / AED classes, flagging classes and Pesticide Applicator Training classes to members.

IBEW Local Union 1919

Professional And Skilled Work Force

Our skilled work force receives continual opportunities for new and up-to-date training and technologies.

Original Agreement and Charter of the IBEW Local Union 1919 -

IBEW Local Union 1919 - Agreement

Click the charter above for a larger view.