Local 139 received its charter from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on April 2, 1901 and on October 18, 1901 a second charter was issued giving Local 139 jurisdiction of the inside and outside construction. The original charters are on display in our office at 508 College Ave, Elmira, NY.
The original charter members were Henry Georgia, John Dale, Henry Pitcher, F. A. Terwilliger, A. Thompson, Leo Shaugnessy, Albert Paultz, F. H. Pullman, Harry Costello, Charles Govern, W. M. Scott, Adam Killenstine, Judd Vorhis, Judd Robinson, Tim Horigan, John Strait and D. E. Bradley. A tremendous debt of gratitude is owed to these courageous men who sacrificed and endured hardships so that future generations of union workers could prosper. On September 3, 1946 our parent organization and the National Electrical Contractors Association, (NECA), negotiated a national pension plan, today the NEBF is one of the largest multi-employer pension plans in the United States. In June 1952, Local 139 and the Southern Tier Chapter of NECA negotiated one of the first Welfare Plans in New York State. In the year 2000, IBEW Local 139 Welfare Fund paid out more than two million two hundred eighty thousand dollars in benefits to our members and retirees. In 1957, the Education Fund was negotiated to fund an apprenticeship program and journeyman training. At any time we will have 60-80 members training at our facility. In 1961, a Pension Plan was started to improve the quality of life for our members at retirement. Today there are over one hundred pensioners receiving approximately one million dollars per year in benefits from the Local 139 Pension Plan. In 1966, an Annuity Plan was added to supplement retirement even more. All of these plans have been and will continue to be modified and enhanced to provide benefits for our members and retirees for generations to come.
On March 23, 1967 after Local 139 was certified by the National Labor Relations Board as the collective bargaining representative for the production and maintenance employees of Corning Natural Gas Corporation a contract was negotiated with the company. Many subsequent contracts have been negotiated with the company in the last forty years and a very friendly relationship exists between the company, the employees and Local 139
In the century that has passed, Local 139 has prospered and today our members and retirees and their families are reaping the rewards. As Local 139 embarks into the 21st century, many challenges face the Local Union, but with the courage and dedication of the members and the officers, IBEW Local 139 will just get stronger in the next 100 years.
No history of Local 139 would be complete without a special recognition of Ralph "Dutch" Halloren, Joseph Clements, Jr. and Charles "Charlie" Patton. Dutch was the big, tough, yet gentle and compassionate labor leader. He served a Business Manager of Local 139 for over thirty years. He was President of the New York State Electrical Workers Association for many years and also served as the International Executive Council member from the First District of the IBEW for twelve years. Dutch will always be remembered for his leadership and vision, not only for Local 139, but the entire IBEW.
Joe "Little Joe" Clements served as President and Business Manager of Local 139 for twenty years. He was influential in modernizing the benefit plans and his efforts on behalf of the members and retirees were tireless.
Charlie Patton grew this Local Union into what he always called the "Biggest Little Local in the International" His down to earth common sense and personality garnered our Local the recognition and respect of Local, State and National political leaders, leaders in the business community and the leaders of the IBEW within New York State and Nationwide. To this day, we are reaping the rewards of his influence.
George "Rick" Saltsman was appointed Business Manager at the retirement of Charlie. Rick got us through some very hard times after the events of 9/11 disrupted the country and the construction industry. He made the decisions necessary to keep this Local Union on track and our Funds healthy. Rick, as with all of the leaders before him, has worked on the goal of leaving the Local in better condition than when he got it. Their efforts on behalf of the members and retirees will always be appreciated.
Ernie Hartman was appointed Business Manager at the retirement of Rick Saltsman. Ernie has worked closely with the past two Business Managers and hopes to use the best practices of those two to keep Local 139 growing. Ernie was successful in doing something that the Local has tried to do for over twenty five years and that was finding a new site for our training center and fund offices. Ernie started with the Local in 1988 and spent several year on the Local's Executive Board. Before being appointed Business Manager, Ernie served as the Local's Organizer. Ernie is very active in the community and the political world of the jurisdiction. He is on the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Southern Tier, with whom he also sits as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Executive Committee. Ernie also sits on the Board of Directors to the Arnot Foundation, the Southern Tier Regional Planning and Economic Develpment Committee and REDEC. Ernie was elected to sit as a Commissioner to the Chemung County Civil Service Commission. Ernie was also elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Southern Tier Buiding and Construction Trades Council. Ernie was also appointed to sit on the Governor's Southern Tier Economic Development Council, where he also sits on the Executive Council for that organization. In 2014, Ernie was appointed by Governor Cuomo to sit on the New York State Apprenticeship Council to oversee apprenticeships for all trades. In 2015, Ernie was elected as President of the New York State Association of Electrical Workers at the retirement of Don Rahm. In 2017, Ernie was asked by International Vice President Don Siegel to replace retiring International Representative Larry Davis. IBEW Local 139 Executive Board appointed Membership Development Coordinator Robert Holden as the next Business Manager for Local 139, beginning on August 1, 2017.