Local 520 History

Based on the research compiled by many, this is a brief history of Local 520 International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO.

The charter for our International Union was granted on May 7, 1897 by the American Federation of Labor. This year marks 124 years of continuous leadership to the many thousands of members past and present of this great organization.

Local 520 of the International Union of Operating Engineers came into existence in 1933. The geographical area of Local 520 includes the counties of Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair and Washington. In earlier years, before merger, they were the jurisdiction of several different locals, some of which were located in Granite City, Alton, East St. Louis and Belleville to mention a few. Some of these locals were stationary and some were hoisting and a few were a combination of the two. All of these Locals eventually merged with what was then Local 315 in St. Louis MO.
With this merger Local 315 became Local 513.

In 1933 a group of men made a request to the International Union of Operating Engineers for a new Charter and for the new Charter to be located in East St. Louis, IL. Eleven 513 members petitioned the International Union of Operating Engineers for a new charter to be located on the East side of the Mississippi River. Most of the operators living in Illinois later joined in the petition. The International Union of Operating Engineers granted this request on July 1, 1933. On this date Local 520 opened its doors for business and has served its members well for the last 86 years.

In 1965 Local 520 moved into a new Office and meeting hall located at 520 Engineer Rd., Mitchell, IL 62040.

Local 520 is now made up of six (6) different charters. Local 520 represents many different types of work. The first charter issued 1933 was for journeymen operators. On April 1, 1937 a charter was granted for 520A, to cover Oilers. On June 3, 1937 a charter was issued for Local 520B to cover sand and rock recovery. A charter was issued September 2, 1941 for Local 520C for mechanics. The charter for Local 520D was issued September 2, 1958 for owner operators. Through organizing efforts, many other units have become a part of Local 520. To mention a few are the cities of Collinsville, Cahokia, Maryville and many small and large mechanic shops in our sixteen (16) county area.

Local 520 has always recognized the need for a Union to negotiate fair wages and conditions for its members, no matter how large or small a unit may be. Also of great importance to our members are Health and Welfare Plans and a good pension plan.

Each generation of Local 520 members have stood united to improve our lives and to expand and improve wages and fringe benefits.

Local 520 members today have inherited so much from the members who preceded us. The members today have an obligation to protect what has been given to us as well as the obligation of leaving the same for those who will follow us. All members of Local 520 have the responsibility to unite and in union to continue to improve the lives of our members today, as well as the lives of those members who will follow us.

In union is strength!


Business Managers over past 88 Years

In 88 years local 520 has had 16 Business Managers. Listed in order from the first to the present:

  • Wm. (Whitey) Stuhr, Sr.
  • Ralph Wright
  • Frank Covert
  • Marshall Galloway
  • William Stuhr, Jr.
  • Ted Dressel
  • Erv Taylor
  • Jerry Wray, Sr.
  • Dale Parkinson
  • Dan Ellis
  • Earl (Bucky) Gruber
  • Doug James
  • Delbert Birkner
  • Ronald Johnson
  • Ronald S. Kaempfe
  • Mark Johnson