Frank J. Christensen
International Union of Elevator Constructors
Frank J. Christensen became general president of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) on September 11, 2012, upon unanimous election by the IUEC’s General Executive Board. He was appointed vice president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO in December 2012.
President Christensen joined the International Union of Elevator Constructors as a member of Local 2, Chicago, IL, in 1979, upon high school graduation. After gaining 15 years of solid work experience, Frank sought elected office within Local 2, serving his first two positions concurrently—Executive Board member and vice president—from 1994 to 1998. He went on to become secretary of the Executive Board, Local 2 vice president, acting business representative, Joint Apprenticeship Committee Board member, and acting Local 2 president, a position he held until his appointment to business manager in September 2001. Frank was elected business manager in a special election in November 2001 and was reelected to the three-year position four more times. Brother Christensen was the longest serving business manager in the more than 100-year history of Local 2, an honor that still stands today.
While serving as Local 2’s business manager, Frank was appointed three times to serve as the IUEC’s 1st vice president and served as a trustee of the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). While in Chicago, he was highly involved in state and local labor boards and committees, serving as the first chairman of the Illinois Elevator Safety Review Board for 10 years, vice president of the Chicago and Cook County Port Council, 1st vice president of UNICO National’s Chicago chapter, director of the Illinois Italian American Labor Council, director of Amalgamated Bank’s Illinois Labor Council and director of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Labor Leaders Council. Brother Christensen was a member of the National American Society of Mechanical Engineers A17.1 Committee and helped create the first Qualified Elevator Inspection testing program, which has served to improve the quality, integrity and safety of the elevator industry.
Throughout his career, Frank has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Dollars Against Diabetes Service Award, the U.S. Marine Corps Commander Award, Shriner’s Hospital’s Gold Book Society Award, the U.S. Army Employer Partnership Award, the Chicago and Cook County Labor Man of the Year Award and Illinois Maritime Labor Man of the Year Award. He has also received special recognition from the Special Olympics, VFW Post 7539, Helmets to Hardhats, the R.O.T.C. and the 5th District S.W.A.T. Team.
A staunch believer in the power of education, Brother Christensen has participated in continuing education at Chicago-Kent College of Law, at the George Meany National Labor College, through the Department of Labor and OSHA and via the IUEC’s National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP). He has also served as a substitute teacher for NEIEP, and has taught wrestling and martial arts, skills he honed, and for which he received numerous awards and honors, in high school and right after graduation.
Since his earliest days working with the tools, when he was forced to stand up for his rights to his employer at the expense of his job, and even to his local union leadership, Brother Christensen has been a fierce advocate for his fellow union members, in fact all working people. As business manager Frank, on behalf of Local 2, won several major NLRB rulings regarding work jurisdiction and hiring practices that set a powerful precedent for future labor negotiations for not only the IUEC but for other trade unions as well. He routinely put himself on the line in defense of his local union, his International union and in the name of truth.
President Christensen feels a deep sense of obligation to those less fortunate and has dedicated himself to a number of charitable causes, most notably Chicago’s Toy Box Connection which provides toys and books to children in need, and the Marine Corp’s Annual Toys for Tots Campaign. He is also fully involved in DAD’s (Dollars Against Diabetes) Day and the Diabetes Research Institute as well as the Green Ribbon Rally, which benefits the Walter Payton Liver Center at the University of Illinois Medical Center.
Frank and his wife Lynn, high school sweethearts, have been married for over 30 years and are the parents of four children. They are proud to be part of a large, loving extended family (some of whom are also IUEC Local 2 members) that includes five siblings on each side of the family, 27 nephews, one great nephew and two great nieces.