Without knowing about our past, it is impossible to know where we are headed. Here is a brief history of the story of IUOE Local 701: 

“As a road has to be tailored to the landscape, so the members of Local 701 have had to adjust to their own 'landscape' – the economy, labor politics, social currents, and changes in leadership. Each member of the local must make his or hers unique contribution to the union, some by serving in union leadership, others advocating for the local while on the job, others simply by doing union work. The union has been built, like a road, layer upon layer. Usually we only see the top surface, the flat grade, the union of today. But Local 701 runs much deeper than that. Its foundations are anchored deep in the past.” - Kirsten Bovee, The Story of Local 701


Local 701 was formed in 1918, the first union in the International designated as “Hoisting, Portable and Shipyard Engineers.” Through the temporary withdrawal of operators fighting in WWI, and the uphill battle of finding work for the members during the Great Depression, the union kept on going. Our members built the Bonneville Dam and the Pacific Highway during these difficult times.

During WWII we built bunkers, bases, shipyards and Hanford. Local 701 members served mightily in the war effort!

In the 1950s and 60s Local 701 Operators built much of Oregon’s postwar infrastructure: dams, highways, and bridges. By 1960, Oregon was the 5th most Unionized State in the Nation. As of 1969, 5,200 of those union members were Operating Engineers with Local 701.

Through the 1970’s work on Oregon’s infrastructure continued, but the political climate was changing along with the nation’s economy.

The 1980s economy was tough on the Local, but then Mt. St. Helens erupted and the 701 was called in for duty. For two years after the eruption, the cleanup and rebuilding work fell under the jurisdiction of Local 701. Our membership doubled to 6,000. Operating engineers dredged the Toutle, Cowlitz, and Columbia Rivers of the volcanic ash, mud and debris from the floods of the eruption. Local 701 members worked around the clock, close to the crater in the “Red-Zone” around the still active volcano.

In 1993 a monumental change to Local 701 took place, the merging of Local 87, Stationary Engineers, with Local 701. Throughout the last 100 years, Local 701 has continued on through economic good and bad times, paving the way for those members who would follow us. Hard work, family, tradition, and loyalty have built Local 701!


Page Last Updated: Dec 22, 2023 (09:53:04)
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