Our Proud History

Tribute to our Founder, Joseph Virgilio

The late Joseph Virgilio served as President and Business Manager of Laborers’ Local 1033 and became one of Rhode Island’s most active and vocal labor leaders in the State of Rhode Island. Under his leadership, Local 1033 became the Laborers’ largest and most successful public employee local in the entire International Union representing over 3500 members. Before his death in December 1998, he had tirelessly served the labor movement and union members throughout New England for over forty years.

After serving as a Field Representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Virgilio began his career with the Laborers’ International Union of North America in 1966 as an International Representative in Providence. Soon after, he was elected Local 1033 President in 1974 and was also elected Business Manager in 1980.

Along with these positions, he also served as Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council President - a position he held from 1980 to 1998. As a leading labor representative in New England, Virgilio negotiated contracts encompassing free legal services, additional pension benefits, wellness programs, and no cost health care benefits for members and their families. He also led the way in organizing public employees in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, often putting his life on the line against strong anti-union forces.

However, one of the most prestigious positions was his appointment by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond to a seat on Rhode Island’s Labor Relations Board in November, 1996, expanding the number of members on the Board from five to seven.

Along with the positions mentioned above, Virgilio served as a Chairman/Trustee on both the Rhode Island Public Employees’ Health Services Fund and the Rhode Island Public Service Employees’ Legal Services Fund (Plan), and was also President of the Rhode Island School Lunch Program & Service Employees’ Local Union 226.

For his dedication to worker health and safety, Mr. Virgilio was the recipient of the Arthur E. Coia Safety Award in 1998, named in honor of his good friend. 

Joe Virgilio’s legacy continues in his five children and four grandchildren who were the lights of his life. His daughter Vicki now serves as President of Local 1033, as the local continues to thrive more than ever, thanks to the talent, commitment, and life of Joseph Virgilio.

Pasquale "Tom" D’Amico

The late Tom D’Amico personified loyalty and dedication to union values. His first concern was always our union family and every member of public employees’ Local 1033 was truly a sister or brother.

For many years Tom was employed as an Equipment Maintenance Supervisor for the City of Providence, Public Works Department until retiring in December of 2011. He served Local 1033 as it’s Secretary-Treasurer and Field Representative since 1973, served as the Chairman of the Providence Employees’ Retirement Board and Auditor of the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council.

Mr. D’Amico also was a Trustee on both the Rhode Island Service Employees’ Legal Services Fund and the 226 South Main Street Title Holding Company. In addition, he served as Chairman of the RI Public Employees’ Health Services Fund.

Along with his many other responsibilities and positions, Mr. D’Amico served as Vice President on both the RI Public Employees’ Education & Political Action Committee, as well as the RI Laborers’ Employees Political Action Committee. He was a Trustee on the RI Public Employee’ Benefit Funds and a member of the Providence Central Federated Council.

Retired Business Manager Donald Iannazzi

Don Iannazzi has spent his lifetime in public service. Beginning in 1972 as a Laborer and LIUNA Local Union 1033 member in the City of Providence’s Department of Public Works to his 1977 commissioning as an army lieutenant. Through his 2012 retirement as Business Manager of Public Employees Local Union 1033 and Chairman of the Rhode Island Public Employees Benefit Funds, Don Iannazzi has been committed to service with his city, our army and our Union.

As a young man, Don learned the importance of collective bargaining as a public employee and as a member of Local Union 1033. With a new shift preference for continuing education provision, the Local Union 1033 contract with the City of Providence afforded Brother Iannazzi the opportunity to complete his Bachelor’s Degree while continuing to earn a paycheck. After completing his undergraduate studies, Don entered the United States Army. Following completion of his initial tour on active duty, Don attended Suffolk University School of Law and earned a Juris Doctor Degree.

Brother Iannazzi continued his military service in the Army Reserve, entering active duty on several occasions including service in Iraq and Kuwait during the First Persian Gulf War and throughout the Balkans Theater to implement the Dayton Accord during Operation Joint Endeavor. Brother Iannazzi retired as a Colonel (06) with over 30 years of service and his service has been recognized with numerous military awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Award, the Army Meritorious Service Award with cluster and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

As an attorney, Brother Iannazzi has concentrated in Labor Law and has litigated hundreds of cases for employees and labor organizations in State and Federal Courts. As a Union Advocate, he has fought to secure and maintain worker rights in over 1500 arbitration cases. In addition to several LIUNA affiliates, Brother Iannazzi has represented affiliates of AFSCME, the Steelworkers of America, the Amalgamated Transit Workers and The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. He has served as Chair of the Rhode Island Bar Associations Committee on Labor Law and has been active in the American Bar Associations Section on Labor and Employment Law.

Brother Iannazzi's vocation of choice has been representing LIUNA Public Employees and he has done so wearing many hats. In the decade of the 80’s, Don’s talent was recognized by New England’s Joe Virgilio who asked Don to assist in developing a Public Employee Health and Welfare Fund. The Trust Fund was organized and then New England Regional Manager and General Secretary Treasure Arthur E. Coia and Brother Virgilio began educating Rhode Island’s municipalities on the advantage of joint buying power for healthcare benefits. Brother Iannazzi was selected by the Board of Trustees as the Fund’s Administrator and the Fund has grown to provide over 15,000 beneficiaries with health, dental, prescription, vision, wellness, life insurance and short term disability insurance benefits.

Shortly thereafter Brother Iannazzi began assisting Brother Virgilio as a Representative of Local Union 1033, negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements. Brothers Iannazzi and Virgilio were a tandem to be recognized and Local Union 1033 grew in size as its collective bargaining agreements became the most innovative in the public sector.

In 1985, Brother Iannazzi led the organizing committee that brought collective bargaining to employees of the Rhode Island Court System; he signed the Petition for Charter of Local Union 808 and became that Local’s first business manager. In the two year period that followed this initial success, Local Union 808 became the representative of Public Employees working in Rhode Island’s Public Defender’s Office and 911 Emergency Telephone Services. In 1992, Brother Iannazzi’s efforts led to the successful affiliation of four local unions of Rhode Island’s Independent Association of Employees. Over 1000 new LIUNA members assigned to Rhode Island’s Department of Transportation, Emergency Management Authority, Justice Commission, Registry of Motor Vehicles and the civilian workforce of the RI State Police gained zealous representation with Locals 808 and 1033.

In the mid 1990’s, Brother Iannazzi and Brother Virgilio turned their efforts to a new organizing campaign for food service, and custodial and maintenance personnel of the Providence School Department; individuals who had previously been represented by AFSCME but who’s positions were privatized through subcontracting. Rhode Island’s AFSCME Council made a short sighted decision not to represent employees in the private sector and the security of over 500 working families was challenged. Utilizing the political clout of Local Union 1033’s City of Providence and Providence School Department membership, the tandem of Iannazzi and Virgilio convinced the Providence School Committee to insert a new provision into its contract with the private vendors that required the vendors to offer employment to all former Providence School employees who had performed the work. And shortly thereafter the employees, in a unanimous representation election, voted to selected the Rhode Island Laborers' District Council as their bargaining representative. Following this effort, Don Iannazzi signed a Petition for the Charter of LIUNA Local Union 226 and he became the first Business Manger of this new Local and Brother Virgilio served as the Local’s initial President.

In 1998, our LIUNA family lost an irreplaceable leader in Brother Joe Virgilio. The Local’s Executive Board looked to the remaining half of the tandem to fill a giant’s shoes and Don Iannazzi became Local Union 1033’s Business Manger. During Don’s tenure as Business Manager, and in spite of the worse economic times since the great depression, Local Union 1033 continued to lead the way in negotiating innovative contracts, providing zealous representation to its members and assuring that every member of the Local Union 1033 family enjoyed the economic security and stability that they had earned. Don also created the Rhode Island Public Employees Training and Apprenticeship Fund, a first in the Public Sector and the Fund continues to be a valuable tool to four municipalities and two School Districts who rely on the Fund to maintain their employees skill level, prepare the Local’s membership for advancement and introduce a new generation to the privilege of Public Service and Local Union 1033 membership. The Rhode Island Public Employees’ Benefit Funds, consisting of the Legal Services Fund, the Health Service Fund and the Training and Apprenticeship Fund have prospered under Brother Iannazzi‘s leadership.

In the late 1980’s, Don served on LIUNA’s Jurisdiction Department’s Section of Public Employees and he along with Brother Virgilio and National (Industrial) Pension Fund Administrator Henry Moreschi, conducted public employee organizing seminars in every LIUNA Region. In 1992, he joined General Secretary Treasurer Arthur A. Coia and Vice President Max Warren in serving as LIUNA delegates to the AFL-CIO National Convocation. And in 1998, Don joined Vice President Ray Pocino and LIUNA International Affairs Director Mike Boggs in assisting Public Education Teachers and Allied Professionals form the first non-political party charted labor organization in the Republic of Portugal.

During his tenure as Business Manager, Brother Iannazzi remained an active member of LIUNA’s Public Employee Department’s Strategic Planning Committee and Coordinating Committee; served as the initial New England Regional Public Employee Coordinator and received the Department’s Founders

Award for his efforts in shaping the PED, its mission and the development of the PED Leadership Academy.

Additionally, Brother Iannazzi has served;

  • Executive Board - Rhode Island AFL-CIO

  • Vice President - Providence Central Federated Council, AFL-CIO

  • Vice President – Rhode Island Laborers District Council

  • Member - AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee

  • Member – RI State Board of Certification; Construction, Distribution and Water Treatment Operators (Representing Labor)

  • Member – Board of Directors Delta Dental of Rhode Island (Representing Labor)

  • Member - Labor Advisory Committee; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island

  • Member – Board of Directors – Rhode Island Institute for Labor Studies

  • Member – RI State Automobile Insurance Task Force (Representing Labor)

  • Member – American Arbitration Association

  • Member – National Eagle Scout Association