The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 was chartered on June 10, 1927 as a result of the merging between Twin Cities Local’s 84 and 86.  On December 31, 1938 our charter was re-issued to cover 300 hoisting and portable members in Minnesota, holding union meetings above Witts Grocery on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.

For nearly 20 years Local 49’s jurisdiction only covered Minnesota until the Hoisting and Portable Local 723 of Fargo, ND united with Local 49 on June 1st, 1946. Finally, on December 1, 1950 South Dakota became part of Local 49’s jurisdiction when Locals 560 and 560A in Rapid City, South Dakota merged with Local 49. Since 1950 Local 49’s charter includes Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

A pension plan for members working under the Builders and Highway-Heavy agreements went into effect January 1, 1967, followed by the Health and Welfare Fund exactly one year later. We thank and honor those members who had the foresight to implement these benefits that members still depend on and benefit from to this day. The Operating Engineers Local 49 Health and Welfare Plan is now nationally recognized as one of the most robust plans in the industry and the Central Pension Fund is flourishing allowing members to retire while still maintaining their quality of life.

Local 49 members also invested in their future with the inception of the Local 49 Training Center on July 1, 1978 in order to enhance their skills and ensure that they are the most qualified in the industry to not only get the job done correctly but most importantly safely.

Local 49 has also grown in more recent years. On April 14, 2010, the IUOE General Executive Board approved a report and recommendation that certain locals be required to merge with other IUOE local unions in order to further the objects and purposes of the organization as outlined in the IUOE Constitution. Soon after, IUOE General President Giblin ordered that Local 50 merge with Local 49 no later than June 22, 2010.  By virtue of this Order, Stationary Local Union No. 50 out of International Falls, Minnesota, merged with Local No, 49 on June 8, 2010.

On October 22, 2015, IUOE Local 35’s membership voted to merge with IUOE Local 49.  The merger was completed, and on November 18, 2015, one hundred fifty seven (157) Local 35 members transferred into Local 49D, and on October 3, 2017, IUOE Local 756’s membership voted to merge with IUOE Local 49.  On November 1, 2017, fifty-three (53) Local 756 members transferred into Local 49D.

Today Local 49 represents more than 14,000 members across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota in many different facets of the construction industry. We represent heavy equipment operators/mechanics and stationary engineers that work in the following industries:

Road, Highway and Bridge Construction

Building Construction

Housing Developments

River Dredging and Port Work

Oil and Natural Gas Pipeline Construction and Maintenance

Fiber Optic and Other Utility Installation and Repair

Mining – Iron Ore, Silica Sand, and Precious Metal


Sand and Gravel pits

Asphalt and Concrete Plants

Wind and Solar Construction/Maintenance

Coal, Nuclear, Natural Gas Power Plants


Equipment Rental/Maintenance Shops

City, County, School District and Township Construction and Maintenance

Water and Waste Water Plant Operators at Metropolitan Council and Other Locations

Our members are the most highly skilled workers in all the industries that they work in. Local 49 has earned respect in these industries among workers, within the business community, and within the political and regulatory arena. We are active, we are mobilized, and we stand together.