Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: Ironworkers

Get to Know AFL-CIO’s Affiliates: Ironworkers


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

Name of Union: International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers

Current Leadership of Union: Eric Dean serves as general president, a position he has held since 2015. Prior to that he served as general organizer, general secretary, general vice president, president of the Iron Workers District Council of Chicago and Vicinity and numerous positions for Iron Workers Local 63 in Chicago.

Other officers include General Secretary Ron Piksa, General Treasurer Kenneth “Bill” Dean and general vice presidents Marvin Ragsdale, Darrell LaBoucan, Bernie Evers, Stephen Sweeney, Kevin Bryenton, Robert Boskovich, Don Zampa, James Mahoney and Steve Pendergrass.

Current Number of Members: 130,000.

Members Work As: Ironworkers who work on bridges, structural steel, ornamental, architectural and miscellaneous metals, rebar and in shops. 

Industries Represented: Ironworkers are employed by every industry that needs construction and have worked on nearly every major construction project in North America, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Gateway Arch, the expansion of oil sands plant in Alberta, the World Trade Center and Freedom Tower, among many others.

History: The International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers of America was formed in 1896, when 16 delegates came together for the founding convention in Pittsburgh. By that time, steel had become the primary material used in the erection of bridges and buildings and the abrupt change from wood and stone drove demand for ironworkers. Ironworkers became known as “cowboys in the sky” for their daring and dangerous work. They joined together to ensure that their voices were unified and heard.

Current Campaigns: The Ironworkers promote standards of excellence for the industry and apprenticeships. Countdown to Zero promotes safety and prevention of death and injury. Iron Worker Women provides news and resources for ironworker women. The Ironworkers participate in the Helmets to Hardhats program that provides training and career opportunities for veterans.

Community Efforts: The John H. Lyons Sr. and Eric S. Waterman scholarships help the children of ironworkers go to college. The Ironworker magazine and IW mobile app are the primary communication tools for ironworkers across North America. The Ironworkers Relief Fund helps members and their families who have been affected by disasters and other traumatic events.

Learn More: WebsiteFacebookTwitter.

Kenneth Quinnell
Mon, 06/03/2019 – 09:52

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Updated: June 12, 2019 — 12:36 am