Joseph P. Mazzola:
Building a Framework for Success and Security
Above: Joe Mazzola speaks out in favor of homeporting the battleship USS
Missouri in San Francisco.
No name holds a prouder place in Local Union 38 history than Joe Mazzola.
A business agent with Local 590 at the time of the merger, Mazzola continued as
a business agent in the newly merged Local 38.
After Local 38's first Business Manager, George Kyne, was elected in 1949, he
was quick to recognize Mazzola's vision, dedication and energy, and moved him into
his office to work with him.
From 1952 to 1954, under the leadership of Mazzola, who filled in for an often
ill Kyne, Local 38 negotiated some of the most remarkable collective bargaining agreements
in the history of the labor movement -- establishing for the first time on the west
coast such programs as paid vacations, health and welfare, and pensions.
It was not an easy time. Strikes were called over the proposed vacation contributions,
and later over the increased health and welfare contributions, and the newly established
But with Mazzola's dynamic leadership and the members' solidarity, the battles
were won, and benefits established which quickly spread throughout the industry,
providing the framework for virtually all future building and construction trades
When Kyne became the head of the Joint Industry Board in 1954, Mazzola moved into
the office of Business Manager of Local 38, a position he held with virtually unanimous
approval, until his untimely death in 1989.
It would be easy to simply list the accomplishments of Joe Mazzola here -- though
it would probably take up most of the Website. But that would hardly present a picture
of the man.
Fiery, dynamic and completely dedicated to the welfare of Local 38 members and
their families, Mazzola negotiated a series of contracts that provided wages, benefits
and working conditions previously unthinkable.
He fought endless political battles, championing issues which would bring work
to his members, improvements to his beloved San Francisco, and new standards of living
to working men and women throughout the entire labor movement.
Equally important, throughout his struggle, he always remembered why those victories
"I learned early on," he said, when telling his life story to labor
historian David Selvin, "that workers can obtain, through their unions, all
kinds of advantages and benefits that are beyond their reach as individuals."
Right: The plaque commemorating the dedication in September 1996 of Joe
Mazzola Place, the section of Market Street that holds the Local 38 offices. The
honor was the first such granted by The City.
Mazzola sat as a member of the Golden Gate Bridge Board, the San Francisco Housing
Authority and the San Francisco Airport Commission, and threw all of his strength
behind those political candidates -- Jack Shelley, Hubert Humphrey, Joe Alioto, and
countless others -- who would "understand and respect the working man's needs
It was no surprise to anyone that following his death he was among the first three
labor leaders elected to the Bay Area Labor Hall of Fame, and that his name continues
to be synonymous Local 38 and the struggle for workers rights everywhere.
Today, his son, Lawrence J. Mazzola, leads Local 38 as Business Manager.
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