MINNEAPOLIS — They plow city streets, fill potholes, take care of parks, maintain public housing — and more. They’re the members of Local 363 of the Laborers International Union of North America and January 22 the local celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Local 363 is comprised of public sector employees who work for the cities of St. Paul, Minneapolis, St. Francis, and Becker, as well as the St. Paul Public Schools, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, St. Paul Public Housing Agency, Kanabec County, and Metropolitan Mosquito Control District.
“It’s fair to say most folks aren’t aware of the vital services our members provide,” said Tony Kelly, Local 363 business manager. “The proud members of Local 363 are there day in and day out.”
Local 363’s anniversary celebration filled the main meeting room at the United Labor Centre in Minneapolis, where St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter was on hand to read a proclamation which declared January 26 as “LIUNA Local 363 Centennial Day.”
Local 363’s original charter was on display, dated January 26, 1920. Local 363 today includes just over 900 full-share members from its various public sector bargaining units, including 430 who work at the City of Minneapolis, 213 at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and 60 at the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.
About 140 members were on-hand at the anniversary celebration, which followed Local 363’s monthly meeting and featured a dinner catered by Kowalski’s as well as doorprizes. “Give yourselves a round of applause,” Local 363 business manager Tony Kelly told the crowd. “You are the union.”
The week after the celebration, Kelly reported to the Labor Review that an average of 93 percent of the full-time workers represented by the various bargaining units are full-share members.
In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus decision, which effectively imposed open shop on public sector unions, “to achieve such strong membership numbers and such energy from the members has proven the power of the local and of labor,” Kelly said.
“Last week it was just wonderful looking at our numbers and where we’re going,” Kelly told the Labor Review. “That has everything to do with the power of our membership.”
“If we keep up our energy and determination despite all the landmines we can’t yet identify from Trump and his judges, we’ll have the energy to keep going for another 100 years,” Kelly said.