October 5, 2015

From the Desk of Troy Garland:

In September, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers held its Convention in Baltimore, Maryland. The IUBAC Convention proudly commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of our great Union. The theme of the Convention; Build – Adapt – Change was a fitting tribute to BAC as the longest continuous construction Union in America. The Convention highlighted the re-election of Jim Boland as our International President. President Boland is a Local 3 member and our previous President. In attendance for Local 3 as delegates were Local 3 President Dave Jackson, Sec/Treas. Tony Santos, Vice Chairmen Peifer, Garland and Kantoniemi. Field Representative Randy Smith attended to receive the International Craft Award for “Best Use of Masonry Materials” for Levi Stadium. Congratulations to all our members and contractors who had the opportunity to work on the stadium. Field Representative Darin Compton was appointed as a judge for the National Apprenticeship Contest held in conjunction with the Convention. We would like to thank Local 3 tile apprentices David Salas, Ramiro Lopez and PCC apprentice Jose Gomez for proudly representing Local 3.

There were 50 resolutions presented at the Convention. These resolutions were assigned to the following committees; Affiliates, Apprenticeship and Training, Collective Bargaining, Communications and Education, Constitution and Laws, Finance, General Good, International Benefits, Member Services and Safety. The following resolution stood out as it recognizes our past, present and future as BAC members. Carry your Union card with pride as our Union continues to Build, Adapt and Change for centuries to come.


One hundred and fifty years ago, the United States was just beginning its long, painful recovery from the Civil War that had riven the nation for nearly half a decade. Working people, many whom had risked their lives and livelihoods in the war, saw their wages slashed by wartime inflation, and the nascent union movement of the 1850s – which had included the formation of bricklayer unions in several Eastern cities –was choked into dormancy by the conflict.

But the thirst of bricklayers and masons for fair wages, fair conditions, and justice on the job remained, and it therefore was no surprise when bricklayer unions once again became active toward the tail end of the war. One of these citywide unions, the Bricklayers Union of the City of Baltimore, called a strike in the spring of 1865, less than a month after the end of the Civil War. The Baltimore strikers received crucial mutual aid in the form of financial assistance from a sister union, the Philadelphia Bricklayers Association. Following the strike, leaders of the 2 unions agreed to discuss uniting into a national organization. And so it was on October 16, 1865, in a rented hall in Philadelphia – just a few blocks from where the Continental Congress had met to declare the birth of a new republic fewer than 90 years previous – that five delegates from Baltimore and four delegates from Philadelphia established the Bricklayers International Union of the United States of North America. Three months later, the International Union organized a convention in Baltimore attended by delegates from unions in nine cities. So began the story of North America’s longest serving continuous union.

One hundred and fifty years on, our Union has grown, and contracted, and grown again. We have chartered locals in the farthest flung regions of North America, and we have consolidated locals into conferences and councils. We have changed our name time and again, reflecting the always changing nature of our membership. Today, we are an International Union representing not just bricklayers and masons, not just in East Coast, United States cities, not just tradesmen, but trowel trades craftworkers across the continent from around the world.

If the delegates who joined together in Philadelphia in 1865 were to join us in Baltimore in September 2015, they might marvel at the technological change that has come to our trade. They might be surprised by the wide scope of our craft jurisdiction, and might even be astounded by the diversity of our membership. Yet they would still recognize our common goal, the passion that has united our organization for 150 years: our commitment to excellence and the thirst for fair wages, fair conditions, and justice on the job.

BAC members are united by that passion, by the union that embodies it, and by their pride in their craft. Whether they are tile setters and finishers or bricklayers, terrazzo workers, pointer-cleaner-caulkers or marble masons and finishers, our members can trace their trade back to the earliest builders of civilization. And they are committed to maintaining the proud traditions of the trade, and the independence of the union that promotes the trade, even as they embrace the technological and societal innovations that will continue to modernize not just the work we do on the job, but our Union.

So as we celebrate 150 years of unbroken service to the trowel trades craftworkers of North America, and as we prepare for the next 150 years, we remember that names change, people change, and the work changes – but our Union and the causes that we have pursued every day since October 16, 1865, endure. And we endure not in spite of, but because of, our capacity to change.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this 2015 Convention of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen offers its deepest gratitude to the members and leaders who formed, built, and changed our organization so that it might survive as the continent’s longest serving trade union.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we are committed to honoring the legacy of those who came before us by never ceasing to build, adapt, and change BAC so that it may serve future generations of trowel trades craftworkers, as an independent union, for the next 150 years.