Insulators Local No.2 History
Frederick Emmett Rust Senior's life coincided with some of the stormiest squalls which rocked the first half of the 20th century for Local Union 2. He took these tempests with the firm reliance of a pilot who knew his course and would not deviate from it. To have had the opportunity of recapitulating these chapters of his life in this brief biological sketch has been both gratifying and a distinct pleasure.
Fred Rust's father Augustus, a German nail maker, brought his slender bride, Ella, a school teacher, to New Castle, Pa. in the late 1870's hoping for a better life in a new town.
Like countless others who came to New Castle from older cities, the Rusts had high hopes of opportunity and plenty for all. What they found was the primitive environs of a new town and the hardships of building a new community.
The Knights of Labor Union, the groundwork of the A.F. of L., was the only focal point in their life which linked the Rusts spiritually, and brought some sense of security to them. It was the mainstay of the family.
Their second son, Fred, was born in New Castle, Pa.
There was always enough to eat, with few luxuries and life in the town was simple. Fred collected pennies, marbles, and chalk in games of poker. (Conn Volz later told us that Fred was nearly unbeatable at poker. -ed)
Nothing ever happened to cause excitement, except the run off of a team of horses; a gruesome standby of a small town, .
Upon the unexpected death of his father, Fred began earning money from the time he was 8 years of age. Young Fred began attending night school from 7 to 9 P.M. and day school when not working.
His brother Al, a night clerk in a Steubenville, Ohio hotel introduced Fred to a Mr. A. K. Williams of Cleveland, Ohio, and in doing so introduced Fred to the pipe covering business. He became Mr. William's assistant. A beginner was not known as a helper or improver in those days.
When he was 36 years old, he married Mary Lambert of Mt. Pleasant, Pa. She joined him in Rochester, N.Y. were Fred was working, and they were married in Little Valley. They would have two children; Frances Mary and Frederick Emmett, Jr.
Lessons in practical unionism started early for young Fred as he plunged at once into active union work. The Asbestos Workers mold of trade unionism was not built according to theoretical blue prints. It grew from a deeply imbedded revolt of free men against the raw inequities of booming industrialism. Men began to reject both the "pie in the sky" visions and counsels of despair alike.
Fred learned to speak up, ask questions, and make suggestions, and soon became a member of several Local committees. Then, in quick succession, the local members began electing him to office as Business Agent, President, and executive board member. Although it was well known some regarded him as a radical, he was a persistent and effective negotiator who counseled the middle of the road and blunted extremists. His influence grew.
Fred Rust grew to be a good parliamentarian, for without rules of order, union meetings in the old days turned quickly into mobs of strong men who paid little attention to union business.
Fred Rust was in the forefront of dozens of campaigns for social justice and human welfare. He articulated the aspirations of many members who could not speak for themselves. He furnished leadership that was good. —Jack Kane
Fred Rust Sr. was local 2 Business Agent for 22 years from 1937 to 1959. His registration number was #73, but he was not a Charter member of Local #2, and it seems possible that he transferred into Pittsburgh from Cleveland. He died in 1971 at the age of 90. He was succeeded by Willard Mansfield for one term, and then by Fred Rust Jr. who served 12 years, followed by Jim Connolly.Fred Junior passed away in 1978.
Bob Allan, retired agent and Business Manager, is grandson of Fred Sr. and Nephew of Fred Jr.
Local 2 has outlasted contractors and companies. Old Fred left a marvelous legacy and much to be proud of. He would be amazed to see us today.If anybody can add to our Local History, please share with us.
The 20,000 members of today’s International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers proudly trace the history of their union to the earliest days of the modern industrial era.
The first attempt to form a national bond between the existing insulators, associations came in 1900, when the Salamander Association of New York City (which took its name from the reptile that, according to legend, had a skin that was impervious to fire) sent out an appeal to related crafts in other cities to form a “National Organization of Pipe and Boiler Coverers.” This initial effort by the Salamander Association’s Joseph A. Mullaney and John Boden met with little enthusiasm. That initial appeal did not spark interest, and two years later a much more decisive action was taken by the officers and members of Pipe Coverers’ Union Local No. 1, of St. Louis, Missouri.
Local No. 1 sent out an announcement that it had affiliated with the National Building Trades Council of America, and invited other pipe coverer unions and related trades to join with them in the pursuit of better working conditions, pay that was commensurate with their skills, and the strength that comes from unity. The first appeal for unity was sent to targeted cities where other Pipe Coverers already were enjoying the benefits of union affiliation-New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit.
The interested locals who had responded to the call for formation of an international union met for their first convention on July 7, 1903. Local No. 1 President J.W. Shearn called the convention to order. Thomas Kennedy of Chicago was elected the first president of the organization. In 1904, at its annual convention, a formal name finally was adopted by the organization- The National Association of Heat, Frost and General Insulators and Asbestos Workers of America.
A massive, national open-shop campaign was waged, one that was at least equal to the initiatives being pushed by these same interests today. But the early leaders of the Insulators knew from the beginning that they would have to fight for mere survival, and this determination was expressed in the earliest conventions by providing funds for organizers.
In 1910 several Canadian local unions added their strength to their American brothers and the organizations name became The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Asbestos Workers. Through the years, the International has enjoyed exemplary leadership from its elected officers-from the first President, Thomas Kennedy; to the 43-year tenure of Joseph A. Mullaney; to Carlton Sickles, who served as secretary-treasurer for 21 years before holding the office of president for another 13 years; to the late Alfred E. Hutchinson, The current General President, James A. Grogan, has led the International since 2001.
At the 2007 Convention the organizations name became the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.
General President Term of Office
A.J. Kennedy July 7, 1903-August 6, 1912
Joseph A. Mullaney August 6, 1912-December 25, 1954
Carlton Sickles December 29, 1954-May 9, 1967
Hugh Mulligan May 9, 1967-September 5, 1967
Albert E. Hutchinson September 5, 1967-June 19, 1972
Andrew T. Haas June 19, 1972-January 11, 1989
William G. Bernard January 11, 1989-September 1, 2001
James A. Grogan September 1, 2001-August 2015
James P. McCourt August 2015 - Present