History


Local No. 584s predecessor was Local No.191. It was chartered in Tulsa, OK sometime during the Great Depression. However, due to the economic hardships of the era and the trusting nature/kindness of the Business Agent – Fred Graham – Local No. 191 had its charter revoked by the International Association because of the debt it had incurred by allowing members to purchase their dues stamps on credit.


Local Union No. 584 was chartered by the International Association on April 8th, 1938. Brother Fred Graham was appointed ‘acting’ Business Agent. The International would not allow him to become the actual Business Agent because of the past financial problems of Local No. 191.


The charter members of Local No. 584 were:

  • Fred Graham
  • Howard Killion
  • Walter Chapman
  • E. L. McPherson
  • Charley Mathews
  • Ira Watson
  • C. E. Dickerson
  • William Lee Mills

The first election of officers for Local No. 584 was held sometime in the month of Oct. 1938. The results were:

  • President – W. L. ‘Bill’ Mills 
  • Vice President – H. R. Killion 
  • Business Agent – R. W. Brown 
  • Financial Secretary – E. L. ‘Cowboy’ McPherson
  • Conductor – Walter Chapman 
  • Sergeant at Arms – Ira Watson 
  • Executive Board – W. L. Mills, E. L. McPherson, H. R. Killion, C.E. Dickerson, Dutch Shultz 
  • Trustees – Walter Chapman, Charley Mathews, Ira Watson

For a complete list of election results click here.


Feb. 18th, 1939 R. W. Brown resigned as Business Agent. He had contracted tuberculosis. M. G. 'Blackie' Steele was appointed to serve the remainder of brother Browns term. However, on April 14th, 1939, Clyde B. Judkins - a General Organizer for the International Association took over as presiding officer. This lasted until sometime between 5 and 24 Oct. 1939, during that timeframe, W. L. 'Bill' Mills was appointed Business Agent.


Under the leadership of brother Mills, the Grand River Dam and The Bomber Plant were organized. The money received in working assessments from these two very large projects allowed for Local No. 584 to pay the debt which Local No. 191 had owed to the International Association. Bill Mills also organized the shopmen in the area and was instrumental in attaining a charter from the International for Local Union No. 620 in July of 1940 (in 2002 due to declining membership, Local No. 620 was merged with Local No. 584; the former members of 620 are now members of 584S).


April 27th, 1942 saw devastation strike Eastern Oklahoma. The City of Pryor was almost completely wiped off of the map by a tornado. The Weather Bureau reported the cost of the damage to be $2, 015,000.00, stating that this was the worst tornado of 1942. The Red Cross reported 52 deaths and 181 treated for injuries. The Executive Board meeting for that day was canceled so that the officers could, along with several of the members, go to the aide of the injured and help with the clean up of debris.


At the International convention of 1952, all outside local unions (shopmen belonged to 'inside' local unions) were ordered to establish an Apprenticeship Training Program. Local No. 584 began its Apprenticeship Training Program in 1953 as a two year program under the direction of Jack Price who was Business Agent at the time. Classes were held at the Union Hall one evening each month. The first apprenticeship class graduated in 1955 (Pictured left, Chester Bailey, Philip Halpain, Perry Bailey, G. O. Bil Mills, Ed Rogers, Ira Bennett, B. A. Jack Price).


Sometime between 1946 and 1953, while LaVerne 'Smitty' Smith was the Business Agent, the officers and membership felt that the Union was on firm enough financial footing to purchase a building to use as a hiring and meeting hall. The Building purchased was at 432 N. Boston. It has since been torn down and I-244 passes directly over where the building used to stand. It was located across the parking lot, to the North, from the Cain's Ballroom. Prior to this, the official address and location for the meetings was the Tulsa County Courthouse.


In 1965, through negotiations with the signatory contractors, the members of Local No. 584 were able to start a Health and Welfare Fund. This was the first benefit ever received by the Ironworkers in this Local Union. The fund was started with $.10(ten cents) per hour.


In 1966, during one of Robert F. ‘Red’ Arric’s terms as Business Agent, the Union hall moved. Fleming Construction, a signatory contractor at the time, erected a Butler pre-engineered metal building at 7602 E. 46th street in Tulsa.


The 1970’s brought some good changes for the members of Local No. 584. The Apprenticeship Fund was started with $.04 (four cents) per hour. The first 3 year election was held and the membership voted to join the Ironworkers Mid-South Pension Fund. On July 1st 1970, the pension contribution was started with $.15 (fifteen cents) per hour. Then, in 1971, the newly funded Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) bought land to build a training facility. It was located about one mile to the East of the Union Hall at 8620 E. 46th street. On June 1st, 1974 the members voted to start a Death Benefit Fund. This fund, for the members who chose to join it, would help relieve the financial problems of their loved ones after the member passed away.


The 1980’s started out with a bang, work was good throughout the most of the country, and Tulsa was no exception. Local No. 584 started an annuity in 1980 with $.50 (fifty cents) per hour going into the fund. In 1982, there were 1300 Union Ironworkers working in this geographical jurisdiction. The Local had about 980 members. Then Reaganomics and the oil bust both caught up with Tulsa and work stopped, period. Within 3 years the membership had taken a $2.00 per hour cut in their wage & benefit package to try and make the signatory contractors more competitive in the depressed market and allow them to secure work for the Ironworkers. This is viewed by most members in the Local to be a mistake. Part of the cut included the loss of the annuity started just 5 years before.


Things started to turn around in the mid-90’s, work began to pick up and as a result money began to flow back into the Local Union. In 1993, an annuity was again started with $.75 (seventy-five cents) per hour. A Local Union newsletter was started to keep members informed of important dates and information in 1994. An annual picnic and pin ceremony was started in 1995. Also in 1995, the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was the target of a terrorist attack. Ironworkers from Local No. 584 volunteered their time and aided their brother Ironworkers from Local Union No. 48 in the search & rescue effort. Jim Minx, Executive Director of the Oklahoma State Fire Fighters Association said, “We couldn’t have done our jobs if it had not been for these very brave and very skilled Ironworkers.”


In 1996, the membership passed a targeting fund as a means of trying to recover some of the lost market share of the 1980’s. Also in 1996, Brother Jerry McClain, a second generation Ironworker out of Local No. 584 who also had sons which later became members, carved a ‘tribute to the trade’ statue. The statue was featured on the cover of ‘The Ironworker’ magazine and is in the lobby of the Union Hall for all to view. In 1997, the JATC bought 1.5 acres and hired Williams Construction – a signatory contractor - to build a new training facility at 14712 East Pine in Tulsa. It had outgrown the old location and the new site had potential for more than just the Apprenticeship Program. The members volunteered countless hours to help reduce the cost of the building. By 1998, the Death Benefit Fund, due to its voluntary nature, was in danger of going bankrupt. The officers and members took action and voted to make the death benefit mandatory.


The hall moved again in 1999, this time during one of Harvey A. Swift’s terms as Business Manager. The Local Union bought ¾ of an acre from the JATC and built, like the JATC did using Williams Construction and volunteer labor, a new hiring/meeting hall at 14716 E. Pine.


2001 was a busy year for the Union Ironworkers in Tulsa, OK. We cannot mention the year 2001 without wiping away tears for all of the Americans who were killed by the senseless destruction on September the 11th. We will also take this space to thank all of the Ironworkers, from across the country, which traveled to ground zero and aided in the recovery and clean up effort. Oklahoma became a ‘Right to Work’ state on Sept. 25th. Also in 2001, the members took action again to save the Death Benefit Fund, voting to increase the benefit and the assessment to prevent it from becoming obsolete. To help the families of members, a Local Union scholarship endowment was started.


In 2005, Local Union No. 584 became signatory to IMPACT.


We the members of Ironworkers Local Union No. 584 would like to humbly take a moment to thank all of the men and women who have given of themselves in service to this great nation. Whether they served in a time of peace or war, whether they lost nothing but time away from their families or if their loss was greater, a loss of limb or the greatest sacrifice, loss of life, we thank you all.


In 1943, our E. Board recommended that a plaque (pictured here) be “bought and place in the Union Hall for the members in service.” The names of our brother Ironworkers who had left home to fight for their country in World War II were memorialized on this plaque. It “Pays tribute to those who have left our midst to fight for peace and freedom”. Later, the names of the brother Ironworkers who had gone to fight in Korea were added.


It is sad that the plaque is not large enough to place all of the members who have served this country and defended it from all enemies, foreign or domestic. Hopefully this webpage will allow us to properly thank them all for their sacrifices and for their patriotism.


To see a complete wage and fringe history Click Here.  To see local IW’s who moved on to the International Association
Click Here. 
For a complete election history
Click Here.