The St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council was originally formed in 1864 as the Building Trades Association and was reorganized in 1890 and again in 1895. In 1898 delegates from around the country met in Pittsburgh, PA to organize the original National Building Trades Council. The Saint Louis delegation played a major part. Patrick Coughlin of IBEW #1 of St. Louis was elected the first president and Peter Steinbliss of Painters District Council #2 of St. Louis was elected its first secretary. The National Building trades, headed originally by leaders from St. Louis, later became known as the National Building Trades Department (BCTD) of the AFL-CIO.
The St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council was officially chartered by the AFL-CIO Building Trades Department on March 2, 1910 and re-chartered in 1961.
The unions making up the St. Louis Building Trades have long been recognized as leaders both in St. Louis and on the national level. Many of the international unions have selected union leaders from the St. Louis unions to lead their organizations. In 1966, the St. Louis construction industry launched the Construction Training School on Knox Industrial Drive, the first of its kind in the nation to ensure a skilled workforce for carpenters, cement masons, operating engineers, iron workers and laborers. At the opening ceremonies the president of the national AGC (Associated General Contractors) said “There are no other educational facilities like it in the nation”.
In 1972, leaders in the St. Louis construction industry launched PRIDE of St. Louis, Inc. - the nation's first voluntary construction labor-management organization. PRIDE - Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development and Employment defines its mission. PRIDE forges a spirit of cooperation among the groups whose members build St. Louis. PRIDE has been the model for other groups across the nation.
In 2007, Pride launched the RUCC, Regional Union Construction Center. The RUCC was created to help minority and women owned construction companies to develop the capability and capacity to handle commercial and industrial projects. The program was another first in the nation and is fully supported by the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council.
More than 100 years ago Samuel Gompers, president of the American Federation of Labor was quoted in a 1893 speech. "(In short), we want more school houses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more constant work and less crime; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright. When we accomplish this, labor unions will no longer be necessary.