The Housesmiths and Ornamental/Architectural Iron Workers are the Grandfathers of Local 580. These organizations pre-date the Ironworkers International by many years. A predominantly German Jewish group in the late 1800's. This group was widely known in New York as a skilled and aggressive trade union. In 1896 the Ironworkers International was formed. Local 2 may have included the Housesmiths and NOT the Ornamental and Architectural organization at one time. This may have been because they worked for different employer associations.
The Architectural Iron Workers of New York did not affiliate and remained separate. On June 28, 1900, 300 of their members were locked out by the Architectural Iron Workers Employers' Association. At that time they had a treasury that by today's standards would be considered quite substantial. Nevertheless, six months later they were in debt. The Employers' Association apparently was able to obtain the use of the State Militia and other military organizations, because in July of 1901 a resolution was passed not to take such men into the union. A year later the predominately German union adopted English as the official business language, and again, like their Chicago tradesmen, choose a different direction and became Local No. 50 of the United Metal Workers' International. This proved ineffective and finally, to protect their existence in the shops, the Architectural Iron Workers drew up an agreement with the Housesmiths of Local No. 2.
Local 2 had both Structural and Housesmiths in it and it is unclear when exactly Local 52 Housesmiths/Ornamental and Architectural Local was formed. What is clear was that the Local was a strong one during the early part of the 1900's. Local 52 had a presence on many iconic skyscrapers while other union trades did not. The Empire State Building being one of those.
Legend has that the Local fell into disfavor with the International in the 1930's. The International sought to dissolve Local 52 and replace it with a new Ornamental Local No. 447. The officers and many members disagreed with this action and vowed to keep Local 52 going as an independent Organization. Both existed at the same time for some years. Legend and folklore have the two competing locals fighting over jobs, hand to hand, club to club and even supposed gun battles!
While we are not sure of the exact goings-on, the New York State Supreme Court did in fact order an amalgamation of two locals.
On February 11th, 1938 Local 580 was born.
Local 580 has been a leader in the Construction Industry ever since. Working on every major project in the Greater New York area.
Local 580 was the leader in starting Health and Welfare funds for its members. Today the Local 580 Insurance Fund is the finest in the industry. The Annuity Fund was one of the first of its kind and has helped countless members become homeowners and retire with a real "nest egg". Pensions so our retirees can live their golden years with dignity (They earned it!).
Local 580 has had an Apprenticeship in place since 1960. Local 580 now has a state of the art training facility in Long Island City that is second to none.