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Season 5, Episode 36

Iron Workers Union fight for zero fatalities on the job



Guest Name:

Eric Dean

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General President of the Iron Workers Union, Eric Dean, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss what the union is doing to meet the growing needs in the workforce. Dean also discussed the exceptional safety training that members must undergo and their efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the organization.

The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers has grown to 129,000 members across North America. Much of their membership comes from the Baby Boomer generation, who are starting to retire in waves. Organizing and recruitment are near the top of Dean's priority list to help match the number of members retiring and meet the workforce needs with increased work coming from increased Federal spending. Training the new apprentices is the key to succeeding at replacing the retiring members, and as the Chairman of the National Training Fund, Dean has overseen a more than 20 percent growth globally in their apprenticeship program.

As part of being an Ironworker, apprentices, journeymen and newly organized members are being put through a world-class training program, Dean said. It’s been a long campaign for improving safety in the workplace for the Iron Workers, but with the “See something, Say something” Safety Campaign, they’ve made great progress. Last year saw the least number of workplace deaths for the Iron Workers, and as the membership continues to improve through training, Dean is hopeful to continue their improvements. They will not stop fighting to improve workplace safety until they’re down to zero workplace deaths.

For too long, the Iron Workers relied on word of mouth to recruit and grow, which Dean believes created workforce gaps. As part of their efforts to recruit new members, the Iron Workers are focused on bringing in more women and people of color to the trades. Through NABTU’s pre-apprenticeship programs, the union is seeing more women and minority applicants than ever before. Soon, Dean said that the membership will better represent the melting pot that is the American and Canadian populations. 

For more from General President Dean, please listen to the show above.

America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.


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