The Irish have a deep rooted history in the American labor movement. Every year, one Irish American labor leader is celebrated by the Irish Echo with the Labor Leader of the Year award.
This year, Laborers Local 310 Business Manager Terry Joyce was awarded the honor thanks to his commitment and dedication to representing the Local 310 membership. He joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss the award and the influence of the Irish in the American labor community.
Growing up in an Irish labor household
Joyce said he quickly learned the values of labor from his father, an Irish immigrant who was deeply invested in the advancement of working people of all backgrounds. He recalled kitchen table conversations about the importance of work and being treated fairly.
Quickly rising through Laborers Local 310, his father was able to help other immigrants find work. While he pushed them to join Local 310, he was pleased to see the amount of immigrants spreading out throughout the trades.
After high school, Joyce attended Loyola University. Upon graduation, he gravitated towards the labor movement, joining Local 310. He would eventually work his way into the office and later serve as Local 310 Business Manager, a position he holds today.
Irish Echo Labor Leader of the Year and community work
In December of 2020, Joyce was honored by the Irish Echo as the Labor Leader of the Year. Growing up reading The Echo, Joyce is incredibly honored.
The Echo recognized Joyce for his dedication to both the labor movement and his Irish heritage. They cited charitable work done by Joyce, such as his annual “Sending It All Back Home” recording, which collects proceeds to be donated to the Pope John Paul Center in Galway City, Ireland.
They also recognized Joyce’s leadership on a Purple Heart Home project near Cleveland. Members of Local 310 and the other area building tradesmen and tradeswomen came together to fully repair the home of a service member, who was unable to do so themselves.