History of Local 509

In the late 1880s, steel had virtually replaced wood and stone as the primary load-carrying material in the erection of bridges and buildings. This abrupt change in structural materials brought about a demand for a new type of worker-bridgemen and architectural ironworkers. Ironworkers became known as "cowboys in the sky." As these daring, young, independent men aged and became husbands and providers, their thoughts turned to providing for their families during sickness, injury and death and the realization by joining together, their voices became stronger, unified and heard. Thus, the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers of America was established on February 4, 1896 by 16 delegates who attended our founding convention in Pittsburgh.

Shop Ironworkers originally referred to as Blacksmiths or Housesmiths fabricate the individual steel components, which form the structural steel framework for buildings, airports, stadiums, and bridges. Other areas of metal fabrication include rebar manufacturing, building metal stairs, handrails and various ornamental metal products using steel, aluminum, copper, and brass which are manufactured by the shop ironworker. Shop Ironworkers also perform handling of raw steel components and steel peening of airplane parts.

Shopmen Ironworkers Local 509 was chartered March 23, 1937 in Los Angeles, CA. Local 509 has had a prideful 80-plus year history of fighting for members ability to provide decent wages and benefits for all our families all done with safety, production, and pride in our workmanship. As we look towards the future, we want to educate the members of the importance of organizing the un-organized, politics that represent our needs, training for industry needs and safety so we can live a long enjoyable life.