Local #49 of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)

Our founders realized that In Unity There Is Strength. Unionized workers pledge to work together maintaining and improving their wages, benefits and working conditions through collective bargaining.

Only through unity can a trade union successfully fulfill its purpose and provide all workers the dignity, security and respect they deserve.

Our mission, as stated in our Constitution is, “to organize all persons working in the jurisdiction of this International Union without regard to race, creed, color, sex, religion, age, or national origin.

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Trade Unions, such as Operating Engineers Local 49, exist because workers want a fair share of the wealth their labor produces. We are not organized to be a social club or to build the prestige of individuals: Our sole purpose is to advance the welfare of workers and working families.

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Local 49 was chartered on June 10th, 1927 as a result of the amalgamation of Twin Cities Locals (84 and 86) which had been chartered in late 1901, with Local 42A which had been chartered on April 1st, 1927. On December 31, 1938 our charter was re-issued to cover approximately 300 hoisting and portable members in the state of Minnesota, holding meetings above Witts Grocery on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.

Hoisting & portable local 723 of Fargo, ND, joined Local 49 on June 1st, 1946. As 723 covered the entire state, so Local 49 now had jurisdiction over both states. Locals 560 & 560A (located in Rapid City, SD) with territorial jurisdiction over all of South Dakota, amalgamated with Local 49 on December 1st, 1950, and our charter now included all of MN, ND, and SD.

On April 12th, 1964 Local 80 located in Pierre, SD, was issued a Charter for jurisdiction west of Highway 73 in South Dakota. On February 1st, 1979, the former Local 80 was re-incorporated into Local 49.

A Pension Plan for members working under the Builders and Highway-Heavy agreements went into effect January 1st, 1967, followed by a Health & Welfare plan one year later. Those plans are flourishing, and our Health & Welfare Fund is not only among the most robust in the industry, but our members are now enjoying their 4th consecutive year featuring increased benefits without an increase in Health & Welfare costs.

Local 49 in the 21st Century

Today we are more than 13,000 men and women in Minnesota, North and South Dakota with contracts for highway/heavy and building contractors, well drillers, equipment repair shops, welding shops, sand and gravel suppliers, counties, municipalities, hospitals, school districts, cemeteries, and more.

We’re pulling our weight.

It is no accident that the prosperity and consumer boom of the 1950s – a period of unprecedented middle class expansion, broad business growth, increased home ownership, rising consumer spending, and the shared expectation that a college education was within the reach of everyone and that the lives of our children would be better than our own – followed the greatest sustained expansion of unionization in American history.

The mis-informed notion that greater unionization is harmful to the U.S. economy stems from overlooking that labor unions, as institutions, and the members that form them, are economically rational.

Unions do not pursue demands that force firms out of business, leaving an area after somehow sucking the local economy dry. Labor unions enjoy on-going, long-term relationships with the employers they work with, and seek to provide them with a competitive advantage by ensuring well-trained, proud, professionals in their work-force.

Local 49 members are proud of their work ethic, and dedicated to their craft; like other union members the results-oriented men and women of IUOE Local 49 simply seek a fair share of the rewards from the fruits of their skilled labor.