Local 25 was originally a division of Local 825 until it was granted its orginal charter by the International Union of Operating Engineers on November 1, 1959. The charter covered marine construction workers on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. as well as the Great Lakes area. Specifically, most of Local 25's work has been and still is in the dredging industry. The first official headquarters was at 675 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY in the SIU (Seafarers International Union) union hall, set up by President / Business Manager Stephen J. Leslie. In 1960, another office was opened in Fairview, NJ before moving to the SIU Hall in Philadelphia, PA in 1963. This office stayed open until 1999. The close relationship between Mr. Leslie and SIU president Paul Hall would continue for years and the two unions are strong allies to this day.
While the headquarters was in Brooklyn, it didn't take long for our leaders to discover that putting on an organizing campaign in the southern states was essential. Local 25's vast jurisdiction is very unique as we cover the dredging industry from Maine to Florida, probably the largest geographical area of any union Local in the I.U.O.E.
Under their new charter, Local 25 organized several new companies in the early 1960' s in the South. This was the beginning of the Standard Southern Agreement and the Tampa, FL Hall. Jack Stewart was the chief organizer during these early organizing efforts and became the first business agent in the Tampa, FL Hall. He would eventually become President / Business Manager. Having a presence in the North and the South guaranteed our members fair representation anywhere in our jurisdiction.
As the demands of a growing membership became clear and the number of signatory contractors increased, the decision was made to open another office. In the 1970s, a third Union Hall was established in Norfolk, VA. This office became a vital stop not only for members, but also for Local 25's business agents as they visited job sites within the union's vast jurisdiction.
In 2006, in order for Local 25 to better serve its members in a fiscally responsible way while moving in a new direction, the Norfolk, VA office was closed, while keeping the NJ and FL Halls going strong.
Since those early days we have seen many changes in this industry such as larger dredges, new technology and an ever-changing economy. But through all the diversity, Local 25 still shines as the proud and hardworking manpower source for the dredging industry. As we are moving in a progressive direction with our negotiated labor contracts, a bright and unprecedented future for our members continues to be forged.
PICTURED ABOVE FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Charlie Strynar, Bert Sutton, Willie Zenga, Bill Hoch, Joe Caccarillio, Vinnie Motzel, Steve Leslie, Einar Scheibelien, Bert Langley, Allen Pat Francis, Tony Melore, Floyd Vallancourt, James Hindle, and Pete Buono .