The history of LIUNA is the history of America and Canada. Born out of the struggle for better lives and fair, safe working conditions, the union formed in 1903, grew quickly, and then suffered during the Great Depression when wages plummeted. Out of this hardship came legislation designed to protect workers and help the economy recover. The laws passed in the 1930s are still crucial to the fight for labor rights today—they established prevailing wages, set minimum standards for working conditions, and enforced collective bargaining rights. During World War II, LIUNA members worked and sacrificed for war efforts, suspending dues and pledging support to the National Defense Program. After the war, the union helped negotiate fair contracts and safe working conditions for the infrastructure projects that helped form the U.S. and Canada, including the international highway system, dams, and pipelines. In the 1960s, LIUNA fought to end racial discrimination within unions, and members marched proudly beside Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1965, the union changed its name from The Hod Carriers and Building Laborers’ Union to LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) to reflect the tremendous growth and diversity of its membership. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, LIUNA increased training, safety, and services for members. After more than 100 years of fighting for workers and forging the highways, buildings and public services that shape American and Canada today, LIUNA is 500,000 members strong and continues its fierce commitment to improving the lives of workers. Together, LIUNA members wield their collective power to lead workers, employers, and policy makers in America and Canada toward growth for the new century and beyond.
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