White text on an outer red background with an illustration in the center of blue, white and red shapes with tools on top
BASTIAN BROS. CO. ROCHESTER, N.Y.
In 1888, Thomas Talbot, a machinist in one of Atlanta, Georgia’s railway yards organized 18 of his fellow workers together and voted to form a trade union. At the time, machinists earned 20-25 cents an hour for a ten-hour day. Because it was formed in an era where employers were hostile to organized labor, the Order met in secret for several years. However, during this time “boomers” who were men that traveled the railway lines looking for work, spread the word about the union and soon there were 189 lodges organized. Over the next century the union numbers continued to grow and the organization became affiliated with the International Metalworkers Federation. Today, the membership numbers over 800,000.