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1961 – 1980

Leading the Way

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In 1962, LIUNA helped found the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department Safety Committee, and launched an effort to stop construction site cave-ins through intensive membership education and pushing protective legislation.

LIUNA was on the forefront of the Civil Rights Era. In 1962 when President John F. Kennedy called a conference to end racial discrimination in unions, LIUNA was one of the few organizations that sent an African-American officer to the White House, vice-president Robert E. Powell. Powell was also a founding member of the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

In 1963, LIUNA members proudly marched with Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1965, the International Hod Carriers and Building Laborers’ Union was rechristened as the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). As LIUNA members gained new benefits, it not only improved their quality of life—it helped the union achieve greater gains in other areas. The prospect of health, welfare and pension coverage became a vital tool in union organizing drives.

The explosive growth of health and welfare and pension plans did not end LIUNA’s relentless search for new innovations to improve the quality of members’ lives. For example, in 1964, Local Union 472 opened its own dental clinic in Newark, N.J.

The Laborers Political League was established in the 1960s to strengthen members' voices in the political process and encourage member participation in politics and government.

In 1970, Local Union 229 in Shreveport, Louisiana began offering legal services to its members. Three years later, the Massachusetts Health and Welfare Fund opened a vision center in Boston for Laborers, which it shared with the Teamsters.

In 1973, The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement was organized to help Latino workers speak out; the first president was Ray Mendoza, a Laborer.

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LIUNA Public Employees

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50 Year Anniversary

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Profiles in Courage


Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-class History, Volume 1. Edited by Eric Arnesen. 2007.

The Laborer: 100th Anniversary Edition. 2003

LIUNA History 1903 – 2003. Mike Matejka, Great Plains Laborers’ District Council. 2013.

LIUNA New England Region. Download April 2014.

Minnesota LECET Newsletter. December 2013. Edited by Dwight Engen.