We Are

Did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge was built by ironworkers? What about the testing and building facilities for the Stealth Fighter and Space Shuttle or the famous "Gateway to the West" - the St. Louis Arch? How about the Oil Sands Plant Expansion in Alberta? That's right - ironworkers erected those projects too. Think about it. Nearly every structure you can think of - schools, sports stadiums, shopping malls, hospitals, bridges, office and industrial buildings - all required the skills of trained ironworkers.

If there were no ironworkers, cities like New York, Chicago, Quebec and Los Angeles would look very different than they do today - no skyscrapers, no bridges, no office buildings. Transportation would be radically different too. How would the millions of commuters every day get to work without the bridges built by - you guessed it - ironworkers. Without ironworkers to erect the skeleton of a structure, no other trade would be able to install their work. That's why ironworkers are the most respected tradesperson in the construction industry.

When you're an ironworker, you're building North America's infrastructure. The possibilities of training, earning, providing, advancing, building are endless. There is no limit to what ironworkers can do!

Ironworker Facts

  • In its 123-year history, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers has been led by just thirteen general presidents-Edward Ryan, John Butler, Frank Buchanan, Frank Ryan, James McClory, Paul Morrin, John Lyons Sr., John Lyons Jr., Juel Drake, Jake West, Joseph Hunt, Walter Wise and Eric Dean.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of ironworkers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. The need to rehabilitate, maintain, and replace a growing number of older bridges is expected to drive employment growth, as will the ongoing construction of large projects, such as high-rise buildings. Job opportunities should be best in metropolitan areas, where most large construction projects take place.
  • With the completion of every job, it has been a tradition of the Iron Workers to celebrate with a “Topping Out” ceremony when the last beam of the building or bridge is set in place. The tradition is usually done with a Christmas tree, a flag, and an Iron Workers banner, which are hoisted and displayed on the final beam. Traditionally, the last beam is signed by all the ironworkers who worked on that project, representing both their skills employed and their pride in the completed structure.
  • The first shop local of the International, Local 40 (Newark, N.J.), was chartered in 1902 and was designated as "Inside Architectural Bridge and Structural Iron Workers."
  • Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

    While only 19 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 78 percent of union workers do.

    More than 84 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 64 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

    Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

  • Over 10,000 participants have completed approximately 400,000 hours of training during the 30 years of the Annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 22 percent increase in ironworker employment opportunities from 2012 to 2022.