Our History

A Legacy of Strength and Craftsmanship

Ironworkers Local 8 has been the cornerstone of construction excellence in Eastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan since 1896. Officially chartered on February 1, 1901, by the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers of America, we have cultivated a rich heritage grounded in skill, safety, and solidarity. Over the decades, our members have contributed to iconic projects, setting high standards in the industry. Our unwavering commitment to quality and worker welfare has built a legacy that continues to shape the future of construction.

Founding and Early Growth

The roots of Local 8 trace back to the tireless efforts of Frank J. Weber, an influential organizer who united Milwaukee’s bridgemen and ironworkers in the late 19th century. Harnessing Milwaukee’s booming industrial growth and strong union culture, Weber laid the foundation for our early members to advocate for better pay, safer working conditions, and collective bargaining rights.

Building Milwaukee

In the early 20th century, Local 8 ironworkers were instrumental in constructing Milwaukee’s iconic infrastructure. Our members tackled major projects such as the Water Street, Michigan Street, and Holton Street bridges, as well as key buildings like the Wisconsin Hotel and Milwaukee Vocational School. These projects not only showcased our technical expertise but also underscored our commitment to shaping the city’s skyline with integrity and excellence.

Leadership and Expansion

Under the visionary leadership of William E. Reddin from 1905, Local 8 experienced significant growth, extending our influence and membership across Wisconsin. Reddin’s tenure was marked by strategic initiatives that brought stability and cohesion, fortifying our union’s presence and setting a strong foundation for future achievements. His leadership was pivotal in navigating the challenges of the early 20th century, ensuring that Local 8 remained a formidable force in the ironworking industry.

Overcoming Challenges

Throughout our history, Local 8 has faced and triumphed over numerous challenges, from the economic strains of the Great Depression to intense union-busting efforts. Our resilience was reinforced by New Deal reforms and a steadfast commitment to worker safety and rights. These adversities strengthened our solidarity, forging a union that could withstand and overcome obstacles with determination and unity. Our dedication to protecting our members and upholding high standards has been the cornerstone of our enduring success.

Post-War Prosperity

The post-war era ushered in a period of remarkable prosperity and advancements for Local 8. During this time, we achieved significant improvements in wages, health benefits, and pensions, reflecting our commitment to enhancing the lives of our members. Local 8 ironworkers were integral to landmark construction projects, including the creation of County Stadium and Lambeau Field, showcasing our pivotal role in shaping Wisconsin’s infrastructure. Our contributions during this era underscore our legacy of excellence and leadership in the construction industry.

Modern Achievements

In recent decades, Local 8 has continued to lead in construction excellence. Our members have worked on significant projects like Miller Park, with its iconic retractable roof, and the ongoing maintenance of the Mackinac Bridge. Our unwavering commitment to quality, safety, and member welfare remains the bedrock of our operations, ensuring that every project we undertake meets the highest standards. As industry leaders, we continually push the boundaries of what is possible, reinforcing our reputation for incomparable craftsmanship and dedication.

Looking Ahead

Today, Ironworkers Local 8 stands as a testament to over a century of dedication, skill, and unity. As we move forward, we are focused on embracing new technologies and innovative construction techniques to stay at the forefront of the industry. Our commitment to training and education ensures our members are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge. We are dedicated to expanding our outreach and partnerships, fostering stronger relationships within the community and industry. With an unwavering focus on safety, quality, and solidarity, we look forward to building a brighter future for our members and the communities we serve.

For more detailed stories and to explore our full history, click here.

Get In Touch

Have questions or need more information? Contact Ironworkers Local 8 today to learn more about our services, membership, or how we can help with your next project.

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