The general executive council of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, AFL-CIO unanimously elected General Secretary Eric Dean as the union’s general president effective July 1, 2015 to succeed retiring General President Walter Wise. The union represents more than 130,000 ironworkers in the United States and Canada.
Eric Dean was born and raised in Chicago. His career as an ironworker began in December 1980 when he joined the apprenticeship program as a fourth generation Local 63 (Chicago) ironworker. He completed his apprenticeship program in 1984 and went on to become a journeyman, foreman and apprentice instructor. Eric became a local union officer in 1989 and held various offices within the local.
In 1999, he was appointed general organizer working in the Department of Ornamental, Architectural and Miscellaneous Metals. In 2005, he became president of the Chicago and Vicinity District Council. He was appointed general vice president in 2008. Effective February 1, 2011, he was appointed general secretary. In August 2011, he was elected by the delegates to the 42nd International Convention as general secretary for a five-year term. In February 2013, he graduated from the Harvard Labor Trade Program.
“I am and continue to be aware of how much work still needs to be done to effectively represent working men and women to achieve dignity in the workplace,” said General President Dean. “As a fourth generation ironworker it is hard to separate my Iron Workers family from my immediate family. I will double my efforts to keep the Iron Workers strong, growing and a leader in the industry.”
Eric Dean’s election as general president created a vacancy in the general secretary’s office and subsequently the general treasurer’s office. Eric Dean appointed General Treasurer Ron Piksa to be his successor as general secretary. Ron was initiated into former Local 114 (Tacoma, Wash.), in February 1974 and gained journeyman status in March 1976. His membership was transferred into Local 86 (Seattle) in April 1999. He served Local 86 as executive board member, recording secretary, president, JATC chairman, business manager/financial secretary-treasurer. Ron Piksa was appointed general organizer in September 1999 and he was appointed general vice president in March 2011. He also served as president of the District Council of the Pacific Northwest from 2000 until January 2014 when he was appointed general treasurer.
Eric Dean appointed General Vice President/Chief of Staff Bernard “Bernie” Evers Jr. as general treasurer. Bernie, a member of Local 15 (Hartford, Conn.) has been a dedicated and loyal ironworker, in the field and as an officer, for the last thirty-three years. A Boston native, Bernie began his membership in October 1981 in Local 7 (Boston) and served Local 7 as vice president, president and business agent/organizer. Bernie became a general organizer in April 2000, and later that year was appointed the executive director of organizing. In July 2012, Bernie was appointed as chief of staff/executive assistant to the general president and continued to serve as executive director of organizing.
Eric Dean stated he will continue with the agendas of General Presidents Joseph Hunt and Walter Wise, which is to create more work for our members and create safer and better working conditions so each member returns home safe every day.
Eric, Ron and Bernie’s term will run through December 2016 and they will stand for reelection at the union’s convention in August 2016.