Local 18 History

Learn about Local 18’s rich history

The International Union of Operating Engineers grew from the dismal conditions under which construction and stationary workers labored in the late 1800s. In December 1896, 11 pioneering individuals met in Chicago to form the National Union of Steam Engineers of America, the forerunner of today’s IUOE. A year later, the first Canadian workers joined.

As the years went by, IUOE members made their mark on North America’s landscape.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Panama Canal, Chicago’s Sears Tower, Toronto’s CN Tower and SkyDome, New York’s Empire State Building and Holland Tunnel, the Statue of Liberty and Hoover Dam all are monuments to the skills of IUOE members.

Local 18 traces its beginning to 1939, when six autonomous local unions came together as the Hoisting and Portable Branch of the International Union of Operating Engineers. The local’s territory spanned 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties, plus four counties in northern Kentucky – the same footprint as today.

Through the years, Local 18 has remained a progressive, diversified trade union. Today, Local 18 represents 15,000 members who build Ohio as heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the heavy construction industry, and stationary engineers who work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes.


Local 18’s mission is to maintain and improve the employment opportunities and security of our members by providing state-of-the-art training, protecting and securing work, and providing quality healthcare, pension and other benefits, thereby maintaining an unparalleled reputation of our membership in the workplace.