WATCH: Randy Bryce explains the importance of labor unions for America's middle class

The man known as the "Iron 'Stache" gives Salon the history of his union, and why membership is so important

Published July 27, 2017 4:59AM (EDT)

The Democratic challenger to House Speaker Paul Ryan is making a name for himself but wants the United States to know that labor unions are still important to the health of the economy.

"Often there are non-union workers on the same job site as union workers," Randy Bryce told Salon. "Which everybody benefits from." 

A labor leader, Bryce says he wants to bring the Midwest to Washington and is going after the top House Republican in that spirit. Bryce exploded on the national spotlight with a powerful two-minute ad directly challenging Ryan. Bryce said he's in the "Buy America" camp, and believes that Trump — with his anti-NAFTA and anti TPP stance — is following in his footsteps.

Bryce also gave Salon a history of the Iron Workers Union and how it was founded.

The Iron Workers Union was first formed over 115 years ago when a group of guys got together because they traditionally had a high fatality rate on the job. Still, that goes to this day, we are in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the country every year. A bunch of guys got together and pooled their money so they could provide a decent burial for each other when somebody did die. Staying together, it was found that if we use our numbers and we demand safer working conditions so that we don’t have to spend all this money on funerals — we can do that.

That’s how the Iron Workers Union was formed and why it was formed — we demanded safer working conditions. OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Act) came about as a result of that.

By Jeremy Binckes

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