Omaha in Douglas County, Nebraska — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
This Union Walk is a reminder to all of our citizens, as well as a salute to the unionized men and women from all walks of life, who invested their energy, the sweat of their brow, and sometimes even their lives to forge a better life for themselves and their families. The Omaha / Council Bluffs metropolitan community is a better place because of the contributions of every one of the unions whose plaques grace this walk, as well as many of the others that came before us. Let us never forget their sacrifices to improve our standard of living, advance our democratic rights, and enhance our sense of individual dignity. The history books never tell the whole story. Their efforts should never be forgotten.
Omaha Federation of Labor
In 1887, the Omaha Federation of Labor promised to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of working people and their families. Its mission was not only to protect the rights of the working men and women, but also to serve the community.
At the collective bargaining table, in the community, in the exercise of rights and responsibilities of democracy, the Federation serves the interests of all working families.
The Omaha Federation of Labor pledges to act in concert with working men and women to help ensure their unionization; to secure the full recognition and enjoyment
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 22
Local Union 22 received its charter on April 7, 1892. Our history has paralleled the growth and expansion of Omaha and the surrounding communities. Local members were involved in electrical wiring of the Omaha World Exposition of 1898, the construction of Offutt Air Force Base and its World War II bomber plant, as well as the continuing growth of Omaha’s downtown and riverfront corridor.
The Local is proud that its apprenticeship and journeyman upgrade training provides its contractors with workers who are able to use the latest technological advances. We also take pride in the union’s many civic and charitable contributions, some of which are the Potter House, United Way, Salvation Army, Rebuilding Together and the Creighton fountain. We take further pride in the many personal volunteer activities of our 1000+ members.
International Association of Machinists Local 31, AFL-CIO
The billows of the blacksmith’s fire and the constant clang of hammers rang throughout the machine shops that stoked the growth of railroads in Omaha. The International Association
Local 31 did not remain just a railroad local, but organized workers outside that industry. By 1946 the union had grown so large that it split separating the railroad workers from other industrial employees it negotiated for. Despite the loss of over 50% of its members to the new local union representing rail employees, Local 31 remained a powerful influence in the labor movement for many years to come.
After more than 110 years, Local 31 remains dedicated to advancing the interests of its members through political and legislative involvement, organizing the unorganized, negotiating fair contracts, community service, and solidarity with other labor organizations.
Service Employees International Union Local 226, AFL-CIO
Public school employees seeking professional representation outside of their employee association formed the Service Employees Local Union 226 in 1970.
Known as the organizing union, the Service Employees Local Union 226 has grown to nearly 1500 members that fall under an umbrella of 15 contracts that define the pay and working conditions for custodial & maintenance workers, food service workers, transportation workers, paraprofessionals and secretaries in public schools throughout the State of Nebraska.
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union #3
The following preamble was adopted at the First Annual Convention, held in Toledo, Ohio on Jan. 25-28, 1888.
Whereas, We, the journeyman TIN, SHEET-IRON and CORNICE WORKERS from the various towns and cities of the United States, in convention assembled, having seen the necessity of a thorough organization of our trade; and that a common cause and universal sympathy with all who work at our trade demands of us to urge the immediate unity and consolidation of all the various organizations throughout the United States and Canada; and believing that we should form a common bond of brotherhood, having for its object the elevation of our social and moral standing, not only amongst other branches of the industry, but in community at large, and the advancing of the material interests of our trade, we have formed this International Association, believing, as we do, that it will serve our employers,
Through the intervening years, the International Union grew and merged with other unions in the trade to eventually become the SMWIA in 1924. For well over a century, Local 3 has constantly striven to provide its employers with a highly skilled workforce and to improve the quality of life for its members and the community at large through its use of collective bargaining, political involvement and organizing the unorganized.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 554, AFL-CIO
Local union 554 received its charter in April 1937. Workers in the transportation industry have remained the backbone of the local since its beginning. Acknowledging the need to diversify its interests, Teamsters Local Union 554 organized wage earners in a variety of industries such as nursing, corrections, public employees, food and non-profit organizations.
Teamsters Local 554 is a strong union of men and women working to enhance the quality of life of our members in Nebraska and Western Iowa. We look forward to organizing and empowering many more working families who don’t yet have the opportunity to have an independent voice in their workplace.
International Union of Operating Engineers 571, AFL-CIO
The use of steam generator[s] to produce power introduced America to the Industrial Revolution. The large
The union kept pace with the changes in the industry. Steam was no longer the predominant source of power and in 1928 the union changed its name to the International Union of Operating Engineers. On April 1 of 1981 Local 571 absorbed members of Operating Engineers Local 38 whose members maintain stationary boiler systems in many of the structures in the Greater Omaha Area. Believing that diversity is key to the local’s strength 571 extended its reach to public employees in 2000.
Members of Operating Engineers 571 have been an indivisible part of Omaha’s growth since 1914. Its members have taken part in the construction of many of the buildings that grace Omaha’s skyline and the streets and highways that transport the goods produced and sold in the city. Local 571 will continue to provide the skilled craft[s]people that will be interlaced
United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 444
Local union 444 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America can trace its roots back to the first Carpenter’s Local chartered in October 1894. The Founder and first president of the national union was Peter J. McGuire who in 1882 got the New York City Labor Council to celebrate the first Labor Day as a tribute to working men and women.
Local 444 represents piledrivers, framers, drywallers, finish carpenters, ceiling installers, form carpenters, bridge and dock workers, hardwood floor layers, scaffold erectors, riggers[,] welders and others. We have helped construct many of the office buildings, interstates, bridges, houses of worship, power plants, waste water treatment plants, lift stations, parking structures, military structures, as well as multi and single family residences in the metropolitan area.
The local union adopted the following mission statement in 1999: The mission of Carpenters Local 444 is to represent all carpenters and their families in the fight to promote justice, dignity, safety, leadership and improved communication in the workplace. We will accomplish this by providing quality education and training, negotiating fair contracts, supporting community involvement, and encouraging political involvement.
Local 1521 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was chartered May 1, 1980. Local union 1521 represents the operational and clerical employees at the Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Nebraska. We serve the cities of Omaha, Bennington, Bellevue, Fort Calhoun, Yutan, Elkhorn, Springfield, Ralston, and LaVista.
As a public utility that supplies natural gas and water to Omaha and surrounding communities, our mission at the District is to serve the public to the best of our ability.
IBEW 1521 has diligently served its members by negotiating labor agreements that provide our members the best wages, benefits, and working conditions available in the industry. As members of IBEW 1521, we take pride in upholding our long history of providing excellent service at the lowest possible cost to the public. Union labor has given us a special pride and commitment to each other, to our jobs and to our community.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Local 109
Local 109’s roots run deep in Omaha dating back to its start in July 1889. While the international union started as a brotherhood, it changed its name to signal that it represents both men and women. Local 109’s members in Iowa and Nebraska are employed as painters; dry wall tapers; glaziers; sign painters; carpet,
The goal of Local 109 and all IUPAT’s Local Unions and District Councils is to improve the working and living standards of its members and all other working men and women by engaging in political action, negotiating fair contracts, building mutually satisfactory relationships with our employers, and educating the public about the positive role that organized labor has played in the history of our nation.
Road Sprinkler Fitters 669, U.A., AFL-CIO
Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 669 was, from its beginning, a primer in organizing and the union way of life. We are extremely proud of all this Local has accomplished and are very excited for the promising future. We have our predecessors to thank for the hard fought rights we enjoy today, and the strength of our current leaders to take Local Union 669 to even greater heights in the future.
Local Union 669’s offices are located in Columbia, Maryland. Our hardworking Business Agents and Organizers are protecting our interests and swelling our ranks. The agenda is to “organize the unorganized” and to improve the benefits and working conditions for sprinkler fitters across the nation. Nearly 11,000 members strong, we are proud of our affiliation with the United Association and stand firm behind the honorable union ideals
Local Union 669 is dedicated to the education and training of its members and will furnish our contractors with journey-workers and apprentices that have the aptitude, knowledge and skills to install a quality fire protection system. Our members work safely, proudly and reliably to assure our contractors and end users that fire protection systems will operate correctly every time.
Local Union 669 has made tremendous strides over the years and we will continue to work diligently on behalf of our membership through organizing, training, and political action; today, tomorrow and always.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1614, AFL-CIO
Local union 1614 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers received its charters in July 1980. The Local is part of IBEW District 11.
The Local is the bargaining agent for the manufacturing office workers at Avaya. In the past Local Union 1614 represented its members when their employer was Lucent Technologies, A.T.&T., and Western Electric. Through all these changes in ownership the local has remained strong and is growing stronger.
Our members have kept pace with the technological changes that have swept through our niche within the industry. Our ability to serve as the communications
Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 1140, AFL-CIO
Local Union 1140 of the Laborers’ International Union of North America was chartered in 1939. The union represents workers in Omaha’s construction industry who helped lay down countless miles of interstate highways. Our members helped broaden the roads of state commerce by helping to build the bridges that connect Nebraska and Iowa. Laborers help ensure Omaha’s [s]treets are lit at night while our members provide assistance at the electric power plants. We build major factories, houses of worship, hospitals and office buildings in Omaha and the surrounding areas. The results of our work can be seen at Omaha’s Convention Center and Area, the First National Bank Building, Woodmen Tower, and nearly every other major building project that takes place in the Greater Omaha Area.
We, the men and women of [L]ocal 1140, will continue to organize the unorganized in order to strengthen our union both economically and politically for the benefit of our members, our community, and our country.
Baker[y] Confectionary and Tobacco Workers International Union, Local 50G, AFL-CIO
Local 50G was chartered on August 18, 1948 as Local 50 of the
On January 1, 1999, the American Federation of Grain Millers International Union merged with The Bakery Confectionary and Tobacco Workers International Union. But while our name has changed our mission has not. To bring economic justice in the workplace to all workers in our jurisdiction and social justice to all workers throughout the United States and Canada.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 763, AFL-CIO
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 763 charter was granted June 22, 1918. When chartered, the jurisdiction of Local 763 was in Douglas and Pottawatamie Counties. Today. Local 763 represents the employees who work at Omaha Public Power District.
Our members operate and maintain the generation, transmission and distribution facilities within 13 counties in Nebraska. We are available to work 24 hours a day to repair power lines, maintain the cables under Omaha’s downtown streets, housing and subdivisions. We also construct and maintain electrical substations as well as operate and maintain electrical generating plants.
Local 763 [is] reaching out to other public sector worker[s] and is pleased to represent the facility maintenance supervisors who are employed at Metropolitan Community College [to] gain an independent voice in the workplace.
IBEW Local 763 is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States and Canada (IATSE) Local 42 AFL-CIO
IATSE Local Union 42 is one of the oldest unions in Metropolitan Omaha having received its charter in 1896. The union represents members in the entertainment industry who work primarily behind the scenes such as lighting technicians, carpenters, sound technicians, special effects technicians, riggers, prop handlers, audiovisual technicians and wardrobe personnel.
Local 42 has a rich history having worked shows over the years at such local landmarks as Ak-sar-ben, the Orpheum Theater, the Civic Auditorium and Music Hall, the Rose Theater, as well as outdoor events at Memorial Park, Rosenblatt Stadium and Levi Carter Park.
Local Union 42 and Local Union 40 representing the Sioux City area merged in 1992.
Brick Layers and Allied Craft Workers Local Union 1, AFL-CIO
A construction boom hit Omaha in the late 1800’s. As the pace of construction increased, so did the demand for skilled bricklayers. These same bricklayers formed a union to protect the craft and those earning a living from it. Bricklayers’ Union 1 was chartered on May 1, 1881. It was the 14th local union organized in the nation by its international union.
Before the union, the prevailing wage rate in Omaha was $3.00 for a ten hour day. After its formation, the union quickly negotiated a raise to $3.50 per day. By 1894, union Bricklayers were earning $4.50 for a nine hour day.
The local understood that solidarity meant strength and in 1919 the Tile Layer’s Union consolidated with the Bricklayers Local 1 to create an even stronger local union.
Today, Local 1 is nationally recognized for the high level of skill maintained and taught in the trade. The local’s apprenticeship program is intense. Apprentices acquire the skills to lay block, brick and stone, cut, grind and tuck point masonry and set tile. Many of the century old brick structures in Old Town Omaha are a testament to the skills of
The strongest commitment of the members of the union is the preservation of union masonry construction. Union Bricklayers understand that skill, productivity, dependability, and unity will keep our union strong forever.
International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 28
Local Union 28 was awarded its charter from the International Union in 1910. Since the beginning of the last century our members installed electric elevators and escalators in buildings throughout Metropolitan Omaha.
The electric elevator was the technological innovation that made high-rise, steel-frame practical. The introduction of the technological innovations known as the electric elevator and its cousin the electric escalator moved people rapidly up and down steel-frame, high-rise buildings making them practical and ubiquitous.
When you ride an elevator or an escalator in public buildings in the Omaha area you are using a device installed and maintained by this union’s proud membership.
The Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons International Association of the United States and Canada Local Union 538, AFL-CIO
The Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local Union 538 was chartered on September 1, 1933 and represents one of the world’s oldest crafts. Plasterers and Cement Masons members are the proud carriers of a tradition that predates
Today, the standards of workmanship established by our forefathers continues through an apprenticeship program that teaches cement finishers and plasterers how to plaster walls and apply ornamental plastering, install exterior insulated finish systems, install fireproofing applications, epoxy applications, skimcoating, place and screed concrete, power toweling, concrete cutting, hand finishing, form setting, grouting, and waterproofing.
Members of our craft have played a key role in shaping the world that surrounds us for centuries. The Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local Union 538 will continue to carry on the traditions and artisanship of our craft and is dedicated to be an integral part of shaping Omaha’s future. Our monuments are Omaha’s bridges, roads, interstates and highways, houses of worship and the buildings that grace Omaha’s skyline.
Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers, Local 83, AFL-CIO
The Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, & Helpers Local 83 was chartered on June 30, 1913 under the name of Kaw Valley Lodge 83. The local was chartered as a contract and construction lodge and has expanded into manufacturing. Boilermakers construct large boilers, metal towers, tanks, smoke stacks and pressure vessels.
The basic skills required of a boilermaker include all styles of welding, plasma cutting, acetylene burning, arc-gouging, fitting, blue print reading and rigging of boilers, smoke stacks, tanks, and pressure vessels.
Members of Boilermakers Local 83 practice their trade in Western Missouri and all of Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska repairing chemical and oil refineries, boilers in electrical generation facilities, and many other locales that require the construction and placement pressure vessels and towers. Boilermakers performed their work at area landmarks such as, the North Omaha and Nebraska City power generation facilities of the Omaha Public Power District, the Lake Manawa Power Generation Facility of MidAmerica Energy, Griffin Pipe Products in Council Bluffs, Iowa and many other locations throughout the Midwest.
Communications Workers of America Local
Since receiving its charter on December 10, 1950, Communications Workers of America Local 7400 has been an advocate for the social and economic welfare of its members. This has been achieved through organizing, collective bargaining, educating the members of Local 7400, along with community and political involvement.
Not content with improving the welfare of just telecommunication workers, Local 7400 expanded their influence to other companies. Currently, Qwest Communications has the largest number of members represented by CWA 7400. The Local also represents workers from Centris Federal Credit Union, Qwest Choice TV & Online, Unionist Printing, DEX Media and Avaya.
Local 7400 realizes that while companies change, workers concerns for dignity, security and hope for the future will never change. Through collective bargaining, education and political involvement, Local 7400 has successfully fought for these concerns for the past 50 years and will continue to do so. This successful strategy ensures that Local 7400 will not just continue to be a strong advocate for the worker, but increase its membership and representation when and wherever needed.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 1974, ALF-CIO [sic]
Local Union 1974 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers received its charter in
Members of 1974 manufacture state of the art telecommunication equipment whose quality is known the world over. Its employees comprise the largest union in the state of Nebraska with a peak membership of over 7,000 wage earners.
For nearly half a century Local Union 1974 has raised the standard of living for its members and those in the telecommunication industry. The tradition of the local’s leadership to represent the membership is unparalleled and is reflected by a long standing tradition of maintaining nearly 100% of all eligible employees represented by Local Union 1974 as members in the union; a significant hurdle for a union located in a state where unionism is voluntary.
Plumbers Local Union 16, AFL-CIO
Omaha experienced its greatest period of growth during the 1880’s. Increases in population created demands for improved urban services. “It was no longer enough to have a few ‘jerry-rigged’ sewers, or wooden water pipes.” Craftsmen arrived to take on the work of building the city, to labor under difficult and dangerous conditions at low pay. For these workers and those that would follow, union organization was the only protection from unjust and injurious conditions.
The United Association
For over one hundred years local 16 has weathered changes and obstacles. Neither economic reverses nor anti-union activities could dampen the organization[’]s dedication to the education and welfare of its members. Contributions through involvement in community activities stand as testimony to the local’s commitment to Omaha. Indeed, the entire modern history of the city bares the imprint of its workers’ skilled hands.
International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 21, AFL-CIO
The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Local 21 was chartered on June 24, 1901. Since its beginning, the union has helped the Greater Omaha Area prosper into a magnificent community – building bridges, office buildings and stadiums throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa including the tower at First National Center, the Nebraska State Capit[o]l and University of Nebraska Memorial Stadium. Our members
Iron Workers Local 21 is dedicated to promoting the material and intellectual welfare of its members and their families. We will do that by bargaining for fair wages, working conditions and opportunities for employment; organizing the unorganized in our craft; and encouraging full participation in the political process to improve the quality of life for all wage earners in both the workplaces and the community.
Graphic Communication International Union 543M, AFL-CIO
On April 14, 1890 printing pressm[e]n from the Omaha area met to create Local Union 32-C, to provide a stronger and more democratic voice for their craft. With their affiliation with the International Printing Pressmen’s Union and with the inclusion of press assistants seven years later and through mergers in 1973 with the Stereotypers International Union and in 1983 with the Graphic Arts International Union they became the current Graphic Communications International Union.
On June 17, 1942 Local Union 412-S was created to service the needs of the Printing specialties and paper products segment of our trade. On November 7, 1964 Local Union 203 was formed by the merger of Amalgamated Lithographers of America Local 38-L and the International Photo Engravers of North America Local 43-P. On June
On August 1, 1994 Locals 32-[C], 412-S, and 520-M merged to create Graphic Communications Union Local 543-M. For over 100 years we have fought diligently to better the working and living conditions for those who labor in the proud tradition of the craft.
International Union of Heat & Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers Local 39, AFL-CIO
The need for skilled insulation mechanics first arose with the advent of steam-powered factories. Workers insulated steam boilers in an effort to conserve the precious energy being piped to residential and industrial facilities. The union’s work rapidly expanded to insulating using a variety of materials for heating, ventilating, cooling, and acoustic purposes.
Omaha’s Local Union 39 received its charter in April 1914. Union members have applied their craft in factories, power plants, office and residential buildings throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa since its founding.
Throughout its history, the Local Union has not only worked to advance the trade and promote the labor movement in Omaha, but also has given back to the community by volunteering both their time and monies to improve the quality of life for all residents.
The early 1900’s brought about a tremendous period of growth in the building construction trades in the United States. Skilled pipefitters consolidated their strengths with The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. The United Association chartered Steamfitters Local Union 464 of Omaha on April 3, 1915. Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 88 of Lincoln, Nebraska, was merged into Local Union 464 on December 1, 1998. This changed our name to Steamfitters and Plumbers Local Union 464.
Steamfitters learn the trade in an intense 5-year training program. They learn to lay out assemblies, install and maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in residential and industrial settings. Apprentices also learn to install lubricating systems, medical gas systems and welding. Our work can be found in Omaha landmarks such as the historical Central High School, the original First National Bank and the new tower, Union Pacific, the Federal and Douglas County Court Houses, ConAgra’s Campus, West Roads shopping center, and many more to[o] numerous to mention.
The warrant and charter of Local Union 464 empowers it to perform such acts and to enjoy such privileges as are prescribed in the laws and usages of the United Association, and the
Fidelity, Education, Benevolence and Protection.
Transportation Workers Union of America 223
Local 223 of the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) received its charter on September 8, 1941. Its organization was the outcome of an unsuccessful Omaha streetcar strike five years earlier in 1936.
Local 223 represents transit workers in the [sic] Omaha and the surrounding communities. We are affiliated with the Omaha Federation of Labor AFL-CIO and the Nebraska State AFL-CIO.
We are a living example of our union’s motto: “United-Invincible” and are proud to be an integral part of the labor movement.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 271
From our beginnings amongst the packinghouse workers in the 19th century through the struggles of the 21st century, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has been the voice for working America and an advocate for Omaha-area workers. Through the UFCW, generations of workers have been able to raise their families and built this community. Workers in Omaha’s packing and food processing industries along with health care and other area workers have found their way to the American Dream – through the UFCW union
Erected by Omaha / Council Bluffs Unions.
Location. 41° 15.653′ N, 95° 55.406′ W. Marker is in Omaha, Nebraska, in Douglas County. Marker is on Riverfront Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Markers are at Lewis and Clark Landing. Marker is in this post office area: Omaha NE 68102, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Captain William Clark and Private Reuben Field (within shouting distance of this marker); Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition of 1898 (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Omaha Firefighters Memorial (about 800 feet away); Missouri River Flood (approx. 0.2 miles away); Labor (approx. 0.2 miles away); People, Places, and Stories (approx. ¼ mile away); Preserving Our Heritage (approx. ¼ mile away); Westwardly by the Waters (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Omaha.
Categories. • Labor Unions •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 23, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 638 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. submitted on February 24, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.