Our History

History of Local 623

In 1909 Standard Oil Company came to Baton Rouge and started an oil refinery. In the 1930’s the refinery started producing high octane aviation fuel and in the 1940’s began making synthetic rubber. Both the aviation fuel and the synthetic rubber became very important to the World War II effort thereby creating a thriving economy in the Baton Rouge area. Soon, Baton Rouge became known as the” CRADLE OF SYNTHETIC RUBBER INDUSTRY”. Also in 1940, construction began on the Huey P Long Bridge, a bridge spanning the Mississippi River and creating a quick access to the west side of the river. With the expansion of Standard Oil Company and the construction of the Huey P. Long Bridge, a new union was born.

In 1940 Ironworkers Local 623 received its charter from the International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Ironworkers. The wages at the time were $1.37 ½ per hour for Structural Ironworkers and $1.25 per hour for Reinforcing Ironworkers.

The first officers of the Local were as follows:

  • Business Agent – Percy A. Turner
  • President – Mr. Kuntz
  • Vice President – Joe Rabb
  • Financial Secretary and Treasurer – W.D. McClosky
  • Recording Secretary – J.C. Kelly
  • Sergeant-at-Arms – Mr. Smith
  • Trusties – R. Blom, C. Baker, W.E.Melton
  • Conductor –S. Ronal