On Monday, April 16, the Governing Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) unanimously voted to install Sean McGarvey as its next president. It was a somber vote as this action comes just over one week after former BCTD President Mark Ayers’ unexpected passing from a heart attack. McGarvey served as BCTD secretary-treasurer until Monday’s meeting.
“Obviously everyone’s emotions about this action are greatly tempered by the loss of Mark,” said International Union of Painters and Allied Trades General President James Williams. “Yet, I’m proud to see Sean, who’s not only a fellow IUPAT member, but a friend as well, take on his new role with such respect for Mark and Mark’s vision for the department. The unanimous vote by my fellow presidents in the BCTD should be taken as a sign by all members of the Building Trades unions that their interests will continue to be ardently represented in Washington, DC and beyond by President Sean McGarvey.”
McGarvey is the first member of the IUPAT to serve in this position. He began his career in the Painters and Allied Trades in 1981 as an apprentice glazier in District Council 21/Local Union 252 in Philadelphia. He graduated to journeyman status in 1984 and worked in the field until he was elected business representative for his local in 1994. One year later, McGarvey was hired to work for the general president of the IUPAT and, in 2000, was elected general vice president at large of the union.
He continued to serve in that position until being elected secretary-treasurer of the BCTD in October 2005.