President James Callahan’s Bio

James T. Callahan
General President
International Union of Operating Engineers

James T. Callahan is the General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, a diversified trade union that represents 400,000 operating engineers working as heavy equipment operators, mechanics and surveyors in the construction industry, and stationary engineers, who work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes.  IUOE also represents nurses and other health industry workers, public employees in a wide variety of occupations, and a number of job classifications in the petrochemical industry.He was elected to a full term as General President at the 38th General Convention on April 28, 2013 after fulfilling the term of retired General President Vincent J. Giblin.

Callahan, a 33-year member and third generation operating engineer, moved up the union’s ranks from member to Shop Steward, Foreman, Trustee, and Business Representative to ultimately lead Local 15 in New York City as its 4th President and Business Manager in 2003.

Callahan began his career as an operating engineer in 1980.  Proficient in all mechanical aspects of maintenance and repair, he was initiated as a shop mechanic in Local 15C.  By 1993, he had worked his way up to maintenance foreman and was an integral part of the team that worked on the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the terrorist bombing of the parking garage that killed and injured dozens of people.

Eight years later, as a local union Business Agent, Callahan found himself back at the World Trade Center.  This time, he was one of the many operating engineers who responded immediately to the September 11 tragedy and he stayed on to work through the entire recovery effort at Ground Zero.

Callahan was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Board in March 2012 and also serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Committee.  In addition, he has been an Executive Board member of the New York City Building and Construction Trades Council, the New York City Central Labor Council, and the New York State AFL-CIO.

He and his wife, Fran, are the proud parents of three sons, James, Ian and Patrick.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the IUOE represents 400,000 men and women in the U.S. and Canada who run the heavy construction equipment to help build both nations, and who also operate and maintain commercial complexes and buildings, such as schools, hospitals, offices, powerhouses, sports arenas and the like, in both countries.