The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) is a labor union in the United States and Canada which represents bricklayers, pointers/cleaners/caulkers, stone and marble masons, cement masons, plasterers, tilesetters, terrazzo and mosaic workers. The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress.
BAC was founded in 1865 as the Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers International Union of America (BMPIU). It was established during a great wave of blue-collar union formation in the 1860s, during which the iron puddlers, locomotive engineers, cigarmakers, carpenters, tailors, painters and heaters' unions were founded.
The union's first Canadian unions were chartered in 1881, making the union truly international.
By the early 1900s, however, BAC was nearly bankrupt. In 1904, William J. Bowen was elected president. Bowen not only restored the union to financial health, but created the union's first widow's pension fund and strike fund. Bowen led the Bricklayers into affiliation with the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and himself later served on the National War Labor Board.
High officials of the Bricklayers are crucial for the history of the AFL and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Richard J. Gray was treasurer of the union in the early 1930s, and his staunch advocacy of craft unionism and his abrasive personality contributed significantly to the break between the AFL and the CIO. Later, however, BAC president Harry Bates was one of three AFL delegates to the committee which in 1955 helped merge the AFL and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
In 2000, the BAC created a "Canadian Congress" to give Canadian members a more powerful, effective voice in union affairs.