KENNETH COOPER, International President
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Kenneth Cooper was appointed IBEW International President in 2023. He resides in Clarksburg, Maryland, with his wife, Gina. Together they have raised five successful and intelligent children, three daughters and two sons.
Cooper began his career in 1985 at Local Union 688 in Mansfield, Ohio, where he served a four-year apprenticeship to become a journeyman wireman. He served many roles at his local union, including steward, vice president, president, chairman trustee for the Pension Fund, chairman trustee for the Annuity, and chairman of trustees for the Health and Welfare Fund. In 1993 he was elected business manager.
Under his leadership, the local prospered, market share for construction grew, and organizing increased, including a successful organizing campaign at a manufacturing plant that added nearly 200 members to the small local.
He was also active in his community, taking on roles such as vice president of the Richland County AFL-CIO, co-chairman of the Richland County Building Trades, board member for the American Red Cross, United Way, Catholic Charities and Richland County Woman’s Shelter.
In 2002, Cooper relocated to Las Vegas, where he worked for Local Union 396 as the assistant business manager. While there, he was instrumental in organizing five new units of workers at Nevada Power Company and a new power-generating plant in Apex.
In 2006, IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill recognized his leadership skills when he asked him to serve as an international representative for the Fourth District of the IBEW, which covers Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
In May 2011, his hard work and dedication to the IBEW was again recognized when President Hill recommended to the International Executive Council that Brother Cooper be appointed as the international vice president for the Fourth District.
Delegates to the 38th International Convention elected him to a full term in September 2011 and re-elected him in 2016 at the 39th International Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2017, through his persistence and leadership, the IBEW celebrated one of the biggest organizing wins in its 125-year history when 1,418 Baltimore Gas and Electric Employees voted to be represented by our great brotherhood. He also successfully organized 39 out of 42 elections in 6 states for Asplundh tree workers.
In May 2017, then-International President Lonnie R. Stephenson asked Kenny to join him as International Secretary-Treasurer and serve the IBEW as his partner. Delegates to the 40th International Convention overwhelmingly elected him to a full term in 2022.
Under his stewardship, the National Electrical Benefit Fund grew from $13.9 billion to $16.1 billion. It earned an average investment return of 7.2%, placing the NEBF in the nation’s top ten percent of Taft-Hartley pension plans during his time in office.
IST Cooper also spearheaded NEBF’s investment in $650 million of infrastructure and private equity funds that generated superior investment returns and created jobs in the electrical industry.
Brother Cooper headed up the IBEW’s successful campaign to pass the Butch Lewis Act, which ensured the retirement security of millions of working people enrolled in troubled multi-employer pension plans.
He serves on the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO and the Governing Board of Presidents for North America’s Building Trades Unions .