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1941 - 1960

War to Prosperity

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Membership reaches 200,000, one-half of which will serve in World War II


The membership of the International Union rises to 430,000


The Federal Highway Act is passed, creating thousands of new jobs for laborers


While a strike wave involving 4.6 million workers rolls across the country, Laborers opt to open discussions with employers on cooperating to increase the market share of union contractors

1947: The Taft-Hartley Act

Enacted by Congress to restore the balance in Labor Relations and to provide Employers protection against the unfair labor practices of the Union, it amends the Wagner Act to establish Union unfair labor practices.


The union breaks from its tradition of not making political endorsements; the same year Laborer Leonard Irving of Local 264 in Kansas City wins the congressional seat previously held by President Harry Truman.


Laborers sign the first National Pipeline Agreement, protecting wages, benefits and safety conditions for thousands of workers.


Laborers build their own training center in Kansas City, opening the era of high-quality training to help workers advance and find more opportunity for themselves and their families.


Chicago Laborers create a multi-employer pension plan, one of the first in the nation, ensuring retirement security for workers who regularly move from one employer to another.


Northern California Laborers strike successfully to win health care benefits.


The union launches an intensive education effort to promote development of health and pension programs in local unions.