LiUNA represents members across North America with a long history that originally started in 1836 when the first recognized Laborers' Union was established in Philadelphia. Hundreds of Laborers' Local Unions existed across North America at the turn of the century but they were only admitted to the early AFL as "Federal Locals." But in 1903, Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), sent out a convention call to independent local Laborers’ Unions, urging them to join together and establish an international union of construction laborers.

On April 13, the International Hod Carriers and Building Laborers’ Union (IHC and BLC) was founded. The first convention, held in Washington, D.C., was attended by 25 delegates from 23 Local Unions in 17 cities, representing 8,186 Laborers. A Declaration of Principles was adopted during the first convention. The delegates elected Herman Lilien, a Belgian immigrant from Chicago Local Union 4, as General President and he served as General President until 1905.

Fast forward a 182 years later, our International Union now encompasses Locals in every Province in Canada and throughout the U.S. lobbying for worker related issues to be addressed at every level of government. We continually to work collectively with employees, our existing members and employers to raise the standards for workers on the job. Although we have a strong history built on the foundation of solidarity and hard-work, we know that the conditions we have achieved for workers can be stripped away. 

"Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected." - Samuel Gompers

LiUNA’s History
Local 1611 Building The Power History Book