North America’s Building Trades Unions

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North America’s Building Trades Unions
North America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL–CIO
Bctd logo2.png
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Key people
Sean McGarvey, president

North America's Building Trades Unions, AFL–CIO (NABTU) is a constitutionally mandated department of the AFL–CIO. It was founded on February 10, 1908, as a way to overcome the jurisdictional conflicts occurring in the building and construction trade unions. It was largely unsuccessful in this task; conflict ended only after the Taft–Hartley Act largely outlawed jurisdictional strikes.

The NABTU coordinates the activity of building and construction trade unions belonging to the AFL–CIO by establishing jurisdictional rules, coordinating how work is assigned at construction sites, mediating jurisdictional and work assignment disputes, and coordinating interaction between the AFL–CIO's construction unions and employers. It also coordinates the efforts of local unions in the building trades, including contract negotiations with employer organizations and apprenticeship and training programs.

The NABTU also conducts research into construction workplace health and safety issues. It lobbies the United States Congress and executive branch agencies (such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) on health, safety, wages (e.g., the Davis–Bacon Act of 1931), and other legislative and regulatory issues. The organization also helps its affiliate unions establish, coordinate and uphold minimum educational standards for apprenticeship and journeyman training programs.


  • Palladino, Grace. Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits: A Century of Building Trades History. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8014-4320-2


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