President's Corner


January 2021 Light at the End of the Tunnel

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Local 150 Officers

James M. Sweeney – President-Business Manager

As President-Business Manager, James M. Sweeney is the chief executive of the union. In addition to administering hundreds of agreements and managing the union’s day-to-day operations, James serves as chairman of the fringe benefit funds.

James joined the union in 1978 and worked for contractors on sewer, slag, paving and deep tunnel projects. He is a second-generation member of Local 150, following in the footsteps of his father, Martin Sweeney, and uncle, John Carroll.

In 1987, James was hired by William Dugan to serve as Local 150’s first full-time organizer. Over the next 20 years, the union’s membership doubled from less than 10,000 to more than 23,000. He pioneered the use of the inflatable rat and led some of Local 150’s most successful industry-wide organizing campaigns, including “Operation Wrench,” a successful campaign to organize the industry’s equipment rental and repair shops.

James has been President-Business Manager since 2008 and steered Local 150 through the recession while maintaining wage and benefit levels and implementing temporary healthcare subsidies and the Local 150 Food Bank to offer assistance to members in need. James led members through industry-wide strikes in Illinois in 2010 and Indiana in 2011 to preserve healthcare benefits.

In 2011, James Sweeney was named to the Board of Directors of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, where he spent 4 years advocating for the efficient modernization of the nation’s most advanced network of toll roads. James also serves as a General Vice President on the International Union of Operating Engineers General Executive Board, and has negotiated nationwide agreements in this position. James is on the Board of Directors of Amalgamated Bank of Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times.

James and his wife, Marilyn, live on the south side of Chicago with their three sons – Joseph, Kevin, and James. He is a faithful White Sox fan and coached all three of his sons in baseball and football.

James also serves as President of the IUOE North Central States Conference and as a Vice President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. In addition, James is chairman of various Midwest Operating Engineers benefit funds, including the Health and Welfare, Pension, Apprenticeship, Construction Research and Information Technology Funds. 

Michael Kresge – Recording Corresponding Secretary

Michael Kresge joined Local 150 as a dozer operator working for Ryan Central in District 3 in 1994. As a member in the field, he worked on mass dirt projects across Northeastern Illinois.

In 1999, Michael was brought on staff as a member of the Task Force, where he worked on various campaigns before being promoted to an Organizer. As an Organizer, Michael was instrumental in organizing medium and small paving companies in District 3 as part of Operation Blacktop. Michael was promoted once again in 2002 to Business Representative. In this role over the next decade, Michael served the members in Districts 1, 2 and 4.  

Michael was promoted to Director of Organizing in 2014, where he has developed strategy for campaigns with Future Environmental, Cranemasters, MacAllister Equipment, Hollywood Crane and dozens of other non-union companies across our entire jurisdiction. He oversees more than a dozen Organizers and Task Force members. He also served as Assistant to the President-Business Manager.

In December 2018, Michael was appointed as Vice President, and in 2021, Michael was appointed Recording-Corresponding Secretary after the retirement of Steven Cisco.

Michael is married with three children. He enjoys old muscle cars and is an avid outdoorsmen, hunter and fisherman. His greatest hobby, though, is organizing the unorganized. He considers the membership his family, and immensely proud to serve as Recording-Corresponding Secretary.

David A. Fagan – Financial Secretary

David Fagan is the Financial Secretary of Local 150, responsible for collection of all funds for the union and for maintaining correct financial account of all members. David started working as a Local 150 Operating Engineer in 1978, and worked in building construction, mass excavation, and the slag industry in northwest Indiana. David is a second-generation member. David’s father is a Lifetime Member who worked as a heavy equipment mechanic.

David came onto the union’s staff in 1989, when William Dugan appointed him to work as an organizer.  David was a very successful organizer, and his campaigns have included such as mass excavation, construction mechanic shops, asphalt plants, heavy equipment dealerships, heavy equipment rental and repair shops, railroad wrecking and construction companies, quarries, landfills, and various steel mill service providers.

In 2005, the officers of Local 150 unanimously elected David to serve as Financial Secretary. In this role, David has worked diligently to prevent the erosion of the wages and benefits the Union has worked so hard to establish.

David has been active in Indiana politics. As the Chairman of the Indiana Lunch Pail Republicans, he has been a leading labor voice in opposition to Indiana’s “right to work” law. He previously served on the Ports of Indiana Commission. He also served two terms on the Portage City Council, and served on the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. In this capacity, Dave worked to ensure that Indiana police officers understand and respect the rights of labor.

David and his wife are active in their community and have been foster parents for many years. They live in Portage with their son, Ryan.

Marshall E. Douglas II – Treasurer

Marshall E. Douglas has been a member of Local 150 of the Operating Engineers since 1993. A graduate of the Midwest Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Program, Marshall represents the new breed of Operating Engineers who cut his teeth at the craft at the Local 150 Apprenticeship Skill Improvement Program Training Site. Marshall earned most of his work experience in excavation and other dirt work including operation of scrapers, finish dozers, and loaders of all kinds. Marshall gained crane and overhead experience working at the ALCOA Plant in Bettendorf, Iowa, and at the construction of the IPSCO Steel Mill in Montpelier, Iowa.

In 1997, Marshall began working as a Task Force Organizer for Local 150. For the next year, he worked in Districts 1, 2, 3, and 7 on campaigns to organize the heavy equipment and rental and repair shops in the Union’s Operation Wrench Campaign, and in the campaign to organize small pavers. As Marshall remembers, it was hard to be away from home for all that time, especially after he got married in 1997. But the experience organizing was tremendous, and learning from people like Jim Sweeney, Bob Paddock, and Dave Fagan was invaluable.

Marshall’s experience in organizing proved most important, however, when he returned to District 8 in 1998. For the next several years, Marshall did double duty as an organizer and business agent policing the Illinois side of the Mississippi River and organizing the unorganized. Throughout that time, Marshall headed campaigns where Local 150 successfully organized RSC, Martin Equipment, Road Machinery and Supply, and Heckett MultiServ.

Marshall Douglas has gained valuable contract-negotiation experience, both in the first contracts with companies he organized as well as doing master Agreements for both Heavy Highway and Building and municipal contract negotiations.