Third-Generation Laborer Brent Booker Takes the Helm of One of the Largest Construction Trades Unions in North AmericaMay 1, 2023 - CLDC
Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2023) – Brent Booker, a third-generation laborer, today became General President of the half-million member Laborers’ International Union of North America.
Booker was appointed to the position by the union’s General Executive Board. He replaces Terry O’Sullivan, who served as General President for nearly 24 years. In addition to the appointment of Booker, also effective May 1, Michael F. Sabitoni is LIUNA's incoming General Secretary-Treasurer, following Armand E. Sabitoni's retirement.
“It is an honor and a challenge to follow in the footsteps of Terry O’Sullivan,” said Booker, 48. “I aim to build on his foundation. We will continue to strengthen the power of LIUNA and create opportunities for the men and women who build the United States and Canada.”
Booker started in the LIUNA Construction Department in 2001 and went on to serve as the department’s director from 2007-2012, overseeing agreements to ensure that Laborers’ work was protected and strengthened on jobsites.
In 2012, Booker went on to pursue an opportunity to serve as Secretary-Treasurer of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), the umbrella organization for construction unions representing more than 3 million workers. While at NABTU, Booker negotiated key labor agreements resulting in hundreds of thousands of workhours for building tradesmen and women on projects building offshore wind, construction of chips and semiconductor manufacturing plants, rail, and other major infrastructure. In his decade at NABTU, he also served as Secretary-Treasurer of Helmets to Hardhats, an organization dedicated to helping veterans transition to construction careers. He is passionate about the importance of training and apprenticeship as a tool to strengthen communities from the inside-out and he helped lead TradesFutures, which launched efforts to bring under-represented workers into the industry. He also served on the board of the Center for Construction Research and Training and several labor-management cooperation boards. He returned to the union earlier this year when he was named Vice President and Special Assistant to the General President.
In the last decade, LIUNA has become a powerhouse in politics; fighting for and winning transformative investment in infrastructure, as well as, strengthening its position as the number one infrastructure and energy union.
“We’ll continue to fight for the union rights and livelihoods of each and every LIUNA member while expanding our organizing efforts to protect more workers with union contracts,” Booker said. “We will seize the opportunity presented by historic infrastructure investments with strong labor standards coming online to rebuild our country’s transportation, water, energy, and other infrastructure with strong, proud union laborers.”
Booker said he is steadfast in his belief that LIUNA can continue to bring prosperity to workers and their families and promote equity and diversity in the construction industry, while at the same time partnering with contractors to solve workforce challenges.
“LIUNA is a leader in training thousands of workers every year through a world-class network of classroom and hands-on skills training and apprenticeship programs that open the door to opportunities that strengthen communities,” he said. “Now more than ever, these programs are crucial to not only workers and their families, but also to construction industry employers who depend on our recruiting and training expertise, and our ability to get jobs staffed and completed on time and on budget.”
In addition to representing Construction Laborers, LIUNA is also one of the most diverse and effective unions representing public employees, federal workers, and service contract workers as well as Mail Handlers through our sister union, the National Postal Mail Handlers Union.
“Our cause and goals are united. And, together, Laborers, LIUNA public employees and Mail Handlers we will stand back-to-back and shoulder to shoulder to build and strengthen pathways to the middle-class,” said Booker.
In the coming months, Booker said he intends to meet with local LIUNA chapters across North America to share priorities. He also plans to visit jobsites and training centers, and to reach out more broadly to the public to share the union’s mission and its positive impact on workers and their families.