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Our Proud History

Construction and General Laborers’ Local Union 271’s rich history began at the turn of the century as European immigrants flocked to America for a better way of life. Faced with starvation wages, dangerous and demoralizing working conditions, workers came together to form unions.

In1903, Samuel Gompers sent out the convention call for Building Laborers. On April 13th, delegates from 17 cities across the U.S. met in Washington D.C. to form the International Hod Carriers, Building and Common Laborers Union of America with Herman Lilian as its first President based in Chicago, Illinois.

Five years later, union organizer Domenico D’Alessandro became the first New Englander to lead the union as General President. His skill in languages and his understanding of the needs of immigrant workers was paramount in growing new Locals here in New England.

Encouraged by these events, Building Laborers working in Providence, Rhode Island founded Laborers’ Local Union 271 of the International Hod Carriers, Building and Common Laborers Union of America in July, 1912.

In the early years, the Laborers’ Local Union 271 carried on the dangerous and difficult work of building many of Rhode Island’s monumental structures that we can still be proud of today. They include the Mount Hope Bridge; Rhode Island's very first airport terminal and concrete runway at Hillsgrove Airport, now called T. F. Green; the original Jamestown Bridge; the Bank of America Building, (the tallest building in the city of Providence also known as the Superman building), and the Biltmore Hotel.

All are a testament to the skills, sweat and toil of the Laborers who came before us. The work was back breaking throughout the early twentieth century. Laborers relied on each other to keep the dream of economic and social justice alive in this new land. They took great pride in every new project.

Our work is a concrete testament to the progress and achievement of all laborers. We have erected more than monuments and buildings ~we have raised the working person to an honored place in our society. We continue our legacy by being heard in government, raising standards for workers and employers on the job, and reaching out to a new generation of workers yearning for a better way of life. By remembering our proud past we give wings to our hopes for continued success for working men and women everywhere.

Construction and General Laborers Local Union 271 Leadership:

*Vincent DeFalco, * Paul DeFalco *Ralph M. Coia *Arthur E. Coia *Arthur A. Coia *Armondo Sabitoni*Armand E. Sabitoni * Edward DiRissio, * Ronald M. Coia, *Michael F. Sabitoni

*Find the link to our Local 271 100th year history video on the Media Page.