The first attempt to form a national bond between insulator's came in 1900,when the Salamander Association of New York (which took its name from the reptile that according to legend had a skin that was impervious to fire) sent out an appeal to related crafts in other cities to form a "National Organization of Pipe and Boiler Covers". The initial appeal did spark interest and two years later a much more decisive action was taken by the officers and members of the Pipe Cover's Union of St. Louis, Missouri.
The St. Louis group sent out an announcement that it had affiliated with the National Building Trades Council of America, and invited other.pipe coverer unions and related trades to join with them in the pursuit of better working conditions, pay that was commensurate with their skills, and the strength that comes from unity. The first appeal of unity was sent to targeted cities where other asbestos workers already were enjoying the benefits of union affiliation such as New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit~\Washington and Boston. In all seven local unions from around the nation responded favorably, and the hard work of laying the foundation for an international union was begun.
With the St. Louis union leading the way, the interested locals met for their first convention on July 7, 1903 in the city of St. Louis. The results of that inaugural convention were impressive~ a constitution was drafted and approved; bymlaws were adopted; the first president was elected (Thomas Kennedy from Chicago) and a formal name was adopted. The National Association of Heat, Frost and General Insulators and Asbestos Workers of America. September 2nd of that year the American Federation of Labor issued an official charter designating the Asbestos Workers as a national union.October 1904 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania a Constitution was adopted and Local Union numbers were issued; St. Louis #1, Pittsburgh #2, Cleveland #3, Buffalo #4~Chicago #5~ Boston #6 and Washington #7.
Chicago #5~ Boston #6 and Washington #7.The charter issued to local #6 Boston contained the names of these charter members:
Emil F. Anderson
Local 6 has had many members of our local become officers of the International Association. Charles Uhr~ Peter Mortimer, Abram Fisher, Ernest Johnson, John Huff, and Robert Deady all were past officers. We also have the present General Secretary Treasurer James (Bud) McCourt.
Over the year's Local 6 has fought for better working conditions, better benefits,and better wages. We have established funds to help with medical expenses~ training building~ vacations and retirement. Our goals are to make our member1 s life's richer,fuller, and more rewarding.
Local 6 will continue to meet the needs of its members and we will push for better wages and safer working conditions.
The following is a brief account of what has transpired in Local 6 over the past five (5) years. We are proud of the many successes and achievements of our members and the Local over this period.
The year 1997 started, as have many other years over the last decade, with all the challenges our industry presents and a group of officers with years of experience in their positions. Things changed dramatically for Local 6, however, beginning in August with the International Convention. At the convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Business Manager, James "Bud" McCourt was elected to the position of International Vice President of the New York- New England States Conference. Our whole membership was proud to once again have one of our own elected to this position. As a result, the President of Local 6, William West appointed Business Agent, Francis C. Boudrow to the position of Interim Business Manager. A special election was then scheduled for November to fill the un-expired tenn of Business Manager. Nominations for this one position would lead to a total change of officers in the Local. Francis C. Boudrow was nominated and mmling unopposed was elected Business Manager. The position of Business Agent then vacant, President William West was nominated, as were two other Executive Board members. All three vacated their positions to run for the Business Agent's job. Vice-President, Scott Curry ascended to the remainder of the un-expiredtenn of President. As a result of Scott Cuny taking over the position of President, two additional Executive Board Members vacated their positions to nm for Vice-President.When all was said and done, the Local would only have one (1) top officer maintain his position.
Beginning 1998 with new dedication, direction and a new slate of officers, Local6 moved on. The International had directed Locals to develop a plan to organize in their areas. Our Local had already started COMET training of our members; and we organize dour first insulator in a long time that year.Our Market Recovery Program, put in place a few years earlier, began to paymajor dividends for us. We started to deveiopework opport mities and man-homs iIJ areas and facilities where previously we had been unsuccessful. The work in our areas also started to pick up due to a variety of other factors.This year we had our first Kids Christmas Party at our Union Hall. All the member's children received a personal gift from Santa and all had a great time. A new tradition has begun.
In 1999, Local 6 stepped up its effo1is in organizing insulators within our jurisdiction. In total, fifteen (15) new members were added to our roles. Primarily this consisted of stripping key men from various non-marion shops. Training all of our members in COMET became a priority.Late in the year we negotiated a tlu·ee (3) year contract effective September 1,1999 for a total increase of $7.00 per hour. This contract included the largest per year and total increase in the history of our Local.
Our workload continued to grow along with the demand for qualified insulators.We were able to increase our apprenticeship class dramatically. Also, we were fortunate to draw on many travelers to help man our work. Another significant event in our Local was the merger of Local 43, Springfield, Massachusetts pension flmd into the Local 6fund. This merger created much larger benefits for the participants of Local 43.The year 2000 and the new millennium began with the International merging Local 31, Providence, Rhode Island into Local 6 Boston. This merger presented all of our members with a number of challenges, which we are still working through.
In June 2000 Local 6 put on its first full-time organizer and kicked its organizing program into high gear. By the end of the year we had organized another twenty (20) new members. We brought the largest class of apprentices into our program ever. Again were lied on numerous travelers to help man our workload. We experienced a new phenomenon that flowed into the next year. A number of building, business and industry owners began offering incentives to the building trades in order to draw qualified craftsmen to complete projects on time. We had one project that paid a premium of$10.00 per hour over the negotiated rate to all trades. Many other sites offered all overtime at double time. During the year, the members of Local 43 in Springfield requested of our members and the International a friendly merger with Local 6. The International and our members supported their initiative. and the merger became of official on September 1, 2000. The new rate for the Springfield area was negotiated at eighty percent (80%) of the Boston area wage with 100% of the benefit package. This was an increase in total of approximately $4.00 per hour for the insulators in that area.2001 began and Local 6 appointed its second full-time organizer and doubled its organizing efforts. We had our first recognition election at the NLRB in a number of years. Though we did not win majority status we welcomed five (5) of our supporters in tour Local. We continued stripping insulators from our competition as well as bringing back a number of former members. By the end of the year these efforts had produced another thirty-five (35) newly organized members. Work in our area was better than most of our members had ever seen. The majority of our members made the most money they ever had in their lives.
In September of this, James "Bud"McCourt was appointed General Secretary Treasurer for the International Association. Everyone in our Local was extremely proud of Buddy to have him, one of our own members, in th.is very imp01iant position. As a result of this appointment, Fred DeMaiiino of Local 12, New York City was appointed as International Vice President of the N.Y.-N.E. State Conference. Fred is a great Labor Leader and Local 6 supports him 100%. Ifhe has a flaw it is being a Yankees Fan but we know that before he retires he will be wearing a Red Sox cap and consider Boston his second home.
Also, in September, our members voted to establish a scholarship fund for our members and their immediate families to be funded by a .05 per hour dues deduction.We expect to give out approximately $20,000.00 per year in scholarships starting in 2002.
At the beginning of the year the Health and Welfare Fund Trustees adopted a provision to allow an early coverage option to newly organized members and apprentices.All of the Local's funds and benefit funds are in the best shape ever and the benefits to members are increasing.