Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Elevator Constructors

Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Elevator Constructors


Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the Elevator Constructors.

Name of Union: International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC)

Mission: To promote and protect the interests of elevator constructors, with a focus on dignity, skills and the well-being of members.

Current Leadership of Union: Frank J. Christensen serves as general president, with James K. Bender II serving as assistant general president and Larry J. McGann as general secretary-treasurer.

Current Number of Members: 29,000.

Members Work As: Elevator constructors.

Industries Represented: Construction sites across industries throughout the United States and Canada.

History: On July 15, 1901, 11 men met at the Griswold Hotel in Pittsburgh. They were all elevator constructors in the early days of that field of work and they came from several cities. They drafted bylaws and a constitution, elected officers and formed the National Union of Elevator Constructors, which would later become the IUEC.

They applied for a charter and membership in the National Building Trades Council of the American Federation of Labor and were approved. The total expense of the founding convention was $13.90 and the whole process, from the launch of the convention to approval from the AFL, took three days. The elevator constructors knew what they wanted to achieve and had a pretty good idea of how to get it done.

By 1903, the union had expanded into Canada and had become the International Union of Elevator Constructors. The growth of skyscrapers necessarily led to the growth of the elevator construction industry. Advancing technology created a need for qualified and well-trained constructors, and the new union helped establish its members as the best in the world.

Early meetings with manufacturers and the building trades led to a letter of mutual agreement that stated that only IUEC would construct elevators. The AFL granted IUEC’s charter not long after. While changes in labor law and jurisdictional disputes would present challenges for IUEC, the union fought through them to continue serving the best interests of its members and the industry. In 2001, IUEC celebrated its 100th anniversary and pledged to continue the founders’ commitment to the dignity, skills and well-being of its members.

Current Campaigns/Community Efforts: IUEC built a member memorial at its headquarters in Columbia, Maryland, and you can purchase a brick to help remember those who lost their lives in the trade. The National Elevator Constructors Political Action Committee works to ensure the industry’s working people are represented in the lawmaking process. IUEC issues regular safety alerts and maintains contact with members through IUEC Connect and the IUEC app, which is available on Android and iOS. 

Learn More: WebsiteTwitter, YouTube.

Kenneth Quinnell
Mon, 08/26/2019 – 10:00

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Updated: September 10, 2019 — 2:56 pm