November 2014

Live, Work, Be Union

Local 63 (Chicago) has been leading the way in ornamental and specialty projects for over 100 years. I am proud to hail from Local 63. In addition to the curtain wall scope of work, they are also proficient in miscellaneous steel and the fence industry. There are many signature buildings covering our lake front area! While recovering from a tough recession, Local 63 is rebounding for the future! Thanks to all members for sticking together in tough times. 

Live, Work, Be Union!

Hubbard Place
Hubbard Place, located at 360 West Hubbard in Chicago, is a 43-story residential building standing 449 feet tall. Mid-States Glass and Metal, Inc. installed approximately 110,000 square feet of aluminum and glass window wall supplied by Custom Window. Installation of the pre-glazed unitized wall included head and sill receptors with slab edge covers at each floor. Over 300 terrace swing doors and 1,600 operable vent windows were included within the window wall system. Mid-States also installed the sliding glass patio doors and screens.

At its peak, Mid-States employed 29 Local 63 ornamental ironworkers to ensure its schedule commitments were met. Local 63 members Ken Schraub and Ron Deuter served as foreman and as steward, respectively.

Additional contractors working on the 360 Hubbard project are: McHugh Construction, general contractor, also did the rebar and post tension; CKII Contracting Inc. erected the curtain wall on the store front, parking garage and penthouse and installed the lobby glass railing; Heritage Steel Construction LLC erected steel stairs, balcony railings, trellises, cupolas, pool deck, shower stall, elevator divider beams, which were installed by Local 1 members; Security Industries\TAG erected the parking garage, guard railings and fencing; and Union Fencing of Illinois erected the planter box railings.

Lowes Chicago Hotel Tower

Lowes Chicago Hotel Tower is 52 stories and located at 435 N Park Drive, Chicago. Lend Lease is the general contractor. Arch Walls installed curtain wall support steel; M & M Steel Erectors LLC and Mid America Steel Erectors installed the miscellaneous metals; Metropolitan Steel erected the structural steel and trellises; MTH installed the TRACTEL-Swing Stage (permanent suspended access system); Door Systems Inc. installed the rolling shutter doors; and Jangho erected the curtain wall.

Total man hours as of August 22, 2014, is 115,142 with 66 Local 63 ironworkers on the project. There were three setting crews utilizing three Vallas at one time. The superintendent is Bill Cook and the steward is Herb Mueller.

Local 63 Apprenticeship Training Center

Unitized Curtain Wall Training
The architectural and ornamental ironworkers from Local 63 have installed the storefronts and the pre-glazed curtain walls of Chicago for decades. It was time for all the locals of the Chicago district council, along with Local 63, to show their contractors they train their members to install pre-glazed unitized curtain wall. A request was put into IMPACT and an 800-square-foot, pre-glazed curtain wall was purchased. It was designed to be installed on a pre-existing steel structure 30 foot by 30 foot by 20 foot tall.

The skills necessary to install a unitized curtain wall are: 

• Print reading – The ironworker has to set up an erection sequence, determine the distance from column centers, elevations, panel sequence, proper caulking and joint preparation to prevent leaks.

• Surveying and Layout – The ironworker has to mark all the anchor centers using a Total Station, and chain the elevations from floor to floor.

• Welding – Curtain wall anchors (dead load and wind load) may be welded or bolted. Sill starter installed and set to elevation with an auto level. 

• Rigging – Unitized glazed panels are sent to the jobsite in various sizes. Sometimes 400-pound panels crated three to four in a crate, or 1000-pound panels sent in single crates. Either way these panels are unloaded with a crane and brought to the proper floors, uncrated, rolled to the location to be installed, then are set using a manipulator or larger panels are set right from the truck using a crane with power cups or lifting bar. All this is accomplished without damaging or scratching the panels.

Thanks go to the trustees of Local 63’s joint apprentice committee who were instrumental in setting up this curtain wall training.

History of the Architectural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union of Chicago
Richard Rowe, Local 63 (Chicago)

The history of Architectural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union 63 begins with a catastrophic event, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Post-Civil War Chicago was the most rapidly growing city in America due in part to commerce through Great Lakes shipping, the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the railroads. The summer of 1871 was long, hot and dry. Autumn brought little relief and a disaster was waiting to happen. Fire broke out on October 8, 1871 and burned for three days destroying over one-third of the city, including the entire downtown business district.

Civic leaders decided to rebuild the city bigger and better than it ever was utilizing fireproof construction methods. Tradesmen with metalworking or masonry skills began to arrive in Chicago looking for work. Many of these workers were European immigrants and East Coasters who had been blacklisted back at home due to their union sympathies.

Gilded Age employers had little concern for the welfare of their employees and many Chicago workers toiled long hard hours in dangerous conditions for little pay. By the early 1880s, architectural ironworkers began to organize for their own protection. These were usually small independent unions confined to one shop or foundry.

The Haymarket Affair of 1886 and the martyrs struggle for the eight-hour day radicalized many Chicago workers, especially the European immigrants. In 1890, the small independent architectural ironworker unions banded together to form the Architectural Iron Workers Union of Chicago. This independent union had 1,500 members in three separate locals. One local conducted its business in English, one in German and one in Bohemian. On May 1, 1892, this union went on strike for recognition and the eight-hour day. The strike was lost and the fledgling union was crushed. The architectural ironworkers re-organized and once again went on strike. This was during the building of the 1893 World’s Fair commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. The strike was won earning recognition from the employers, the eight-hour day and a raise in pay.

During the 1890s, a technological revolution was taking place in the construction industry. Buildings were beginning to be framed in structural steel. Railroad bridge builders were brought into Chicago to erect these new “skyscrapers.” Jurisdictional disputes soon arose between the bridge and structural ironworkers and the architectural ironworkers. In 1896, Chicago’s bridge and structural men were among the founders of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers and became Local 1 of that organization. The Architectural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union of Chicago did not immediately affiliate with that organization however, and would remain independent. 

In 1900, they would affiliate with the much more radical United Metal Workers becoming Local 14 of that organization. The United Metal Workers were associated with Eugene V. Debs’ American Socialist Party and would later become one of the founding organizations of the Industrial Workers of the World or I.W.W. In 1902, the Architectural Iron Workers Union of Chicago would disaffiliate with the United Metal Workers and once again be independent.

In 1903, our president at the time, O.H. Hill, entered into negotiations with Iron Workers Local 1 over jurisdictional boundaries. Once all parties were in agreement, the Architectural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union of Chicago affiliated with the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers and was chartered as Local 63 of that organization.

At the 17th International Convention held in 1914 delegates from Architectural and Ornamental Iron Workers Union Local 63 submitted a resolution to change the name of the organization to the International Association of Bridge Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers. The resolution was passed by the delegates in attendance and was later amended to include Pile Drivers, but that’s another story.