On November 14, 1919 a group of Labourers founded Local 506 under the banner of the Hod Carriers’ Building and Common Laborers’ Union. They were all Scottish and Irish descent.
Their mandate was to organize the unorganized. In those years’, workers worked in conditions that were less than safe and for wages less than fair. Since the beginning, the new Executive Board of Local 506 recognized the compelling need for these underpaid and overworked individuals to band together in Strength and Unity.
Following World War II, organized labour experienced a rebirth and membership grew. Construction jobs were plentiful, and unionized Labourers began to see their wages increase and their standards of living improved. The demand for new housing, schools, hospitals and churches created a boom for the Labourers.
In the 1950s and 60s, new immigrants arrived from Italy and in the 1960s and 70s, an influx of immigrants from Portugal changed the ethnic composition of Local 506. In the 1980s and 90s new immigrants from Poland, Africa and South America joined the multicultural ranks of our Union. It can proudly be said, that Local 506, is now ONE of the most multicultural Unions in North America.
While keeping an eye on the future, Local 506 has not forgotten the past. Since 1989, we have created a Recreation Centre for our Retired Members who gave a lifetime of hard work and loyalty to our great Local Union. As well, LiUNA Local 506’s commitment to providing formal education led to the creation of a Training Centre. Many improvements have also been made to the health and safety standards, wages, benefits and pension.
From about 140 founding members, LIUNA Local 506 has extended to its’ current membership of more than 8,000. More mergers and organizing have brought other sectors, from exhibit and display to hospitality and waste management into the LIUNA Local 506’s family. We will continue to organize and diversify in order to establish more opportunities for our members and increase financial stability for our Local.
100 years later, as LIUNA Local 506 continues to grow, the challenge is to ensure that its’ members will always have a Union that is strong and proud. The Executive Board of Local 506 will continue to carry on this proud tradition for decades to come! It’s a big accomplishment for the working class, for a Union to be around 100 years and still striving.