Laborers 1091 to Celebrate 80 Years of Achievements in the Northland

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June 15 Open House and BBQ will highlight the past, present, and future of Duluth’s labor-rich landscape.

The Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 1091 today announced plans for a special open house and media event on Thursday, June 15 at the Labor Temple in Duluth, celebrating 80 years of the achievements of Building & General Laborers Local 1091 in the Northland.

Local 1091 was organized at a very pivotal time in American history. The union got its start at the end of the Great Depression in 1937 when jobs were at a premium. The official charter date for the Local was June 5, 1937.

“To organize workers at that time, in the late 30s was a very big deal, said Larry Sillanpa, Editor of the Labor World Newspaper, Duluth MN. “That set the tone for the next 80 years. If a union could be successful in the depression era it was born to survive.”

And survive it did. Over the next eight decades, Local 1091 has grown to be the largest and most-recognized in the area with nearly 1,000 members. These skilled construction craft Laborers provided the expertise and effort to build several of the iconic structures that dot the landscape of the Northland.

The Local, in partnership with its highly regarded Union contractor employers, have had a rich history in building and maintaining the entire infrastructure of the Northland including: roads and bridges, sewer and water systems, the Lake Superior sanitary district, colleges and public schools, medical facilities and supporting the construction and maintenance needed to maintain the Twin Ports vital shipping industry. The local was also instrumental in rebuilding areas of Duluth affected by the devastating floods of 2012 involving new bridges, roads, sewer and water collection systems.

Over time, the Union and its members have played an important role in maintaining Duluth’s most iconic projects. More recent notable projects include the newly built Amsoil Arena, the Duluth Airport, Interstate 35 road and bridge improvements, Maurices headquarters and Pier B resort. These are prime projects built with integrity and high quality craftsmanship evident throughout the membership of the Local.

“The Duluth area has the second largest density of union labor in the nation thanks to Local 1091,” said Silanpa. “The stretch of this organization is large with work being completed all across northern Minnesota and stretching into the northern tier counties in Wisconsin.”

On June 15, union members and community leaders will celebrate 80 years of achievements. The day will start with an open house and an open to the public BBQ that runs from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. At 2:00 p.m. a press conference, hosted by Local 1091 Business Manager Dan Olson remarking this special anniversary occasion.

“We are really looking forward to commemorating 80 years of success in building and maintaining the Northland, said Olson. “We have met all of our challenges head-on and it’s time to pause and celebrate those achievements.”

Olson will be joined at the press conference by several local leaders including a Representative from Congressman Rick Nolan’s office, LiUNA Vice President Terry Healy, David Ross, CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce and the Duluth Building & Construction Trades Council President Craig Olson. Mayors Emily Larson of Duluth and Jim Paine of Superior are also expected to attend.

“Over the years we have built a workforce that exceeds the needs of owners and the community,” said Olson. “Safety and training are the cornerstones of all we do. We take pride in each and every job we have done over the past 80 years.”

“This will be a great day to celebrate the history of our organization that helped build much of the modern day Twin Ports region,” said Olson. “There is much more to be done and our members welcome the opportunity.”

Press Conference celebrating 80 years of Local 1091 At-A-Glance:

What: Laborers Local 1091 celebrates 80 years of building the Northland

Where: Labor Temple, 2002 London Road Duluth, MN 55812 (Wellstone Hall)

When: Thursday, June 15: Open House & BBQ 12 p.m. to 6p.m. –Press Conference starts 2 p.m.

Who: Duluth and Superior area civic leaders; Local Union leadership, signatory Union contractor representatives, news media. Event open to the public.

Why: Laborers Local 1091 80th Anniversary Celebration 

About Us

The Laborers International Union of North America, LiUNA, is a labor union that has represented American and Canadian workers for 114 years, since its establishment in 1903. The AFL-CIO affiliated Laborers International Union has over 550,000 members. Building and General Laborers Local 1091 is affiliated with the Laborers District Council of MN & ND. For more information check out their website or Facebook page or,

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Robb Leer