David Bolger

Current Company and Position: Business Manager, Mason Tenders' District Council of Greater New York and Long Island.

First Job: First full time job: Seasonal Worker / Grounds Keeper at Mt. Hebron Cemetery.

What it taught me: What it takes to keep a physically demanding job that starts early in the morning. How to work safely and best protect myself from the elements, mostly the hot sun. Working with blacks, Latinos and eastern Europeans, I learned that hard physical labor effects everyone the same, and that the respect and reward for those who perform such labor should be the same for all, regardless of what they look like.

Best advice you could give someone starting out: Respect the experience of those who have been around longer than you, it's worth more than anything you'll find in a book. Ask questions, you'll be surprised how many people are happy to help.

Who is your hero and why? As the father of our nation, George Washington stepped down as President after his second term, establishing the precedent that the Presidency is not a lifetime appointment. The peaceful transfer of power is what made America great and unique in the world, and it so easily could not have come about had he not set the standard.

Biography: In July 2023 David Bolger became the business manager of the 17,000 member Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York and Long Island. The road he traveled to reach his current position within the Laborer’s International Union of North America began nearly 40 years ago, when Dave joined Laborers Local 13 and began his career as a Laborer. Dave Bolger represents a new generation of labor leader, dedicated to organizing, social justice and improving the lives of the members of the union.

Born on Long Island into a bi-lingual family, Dave’s father’s job took the family to different parts of the United States and the world. In 1970 the family returned to Queens, New York, which has been Dave’s home ever since. Bolger entered the construction industry in 1985, following a series of jobs outside the industry.  Most of those jobs were union jobs, and exposed Dave to the important role that unions played in protecting workers, and promoting worker’s rights and respect on the job. Working as a general laborer, Dave soon began his rise through the ranks of the local union, from shop steward, to business agent, to acting business manager, to elected officer.

In 1998 during the period that the Mason Tenders District Council and its affiliated unions were reconfigured, Dave was appointed acting business manager of House Wreckers Local 95, steering the local through bankruptcy, until it was finally merged with the newly chartered Local 79. Recognized by the leadership for the role he played in successfully leading Local 95, Dave was hired as a field representative of the Mason Tenders District Council. For the next 25 years, Bolger became an in-house advocate for thousands of members. His efforts resulted in the Trust Funds collecting millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of members. Members came to Dave to help them receive the benefits they had earned. Dave’s ability to communicate with the membership in both English and Spanish, served him well as he developed a relationship with the members based on mutual respect and trust. 

Time and time again, Dave was called upon to serve in different roles, all in the name of protecting the union and the members’ right. Whether it was serving as acting business manager, an election judge, or a deputy trustee, Dave remained true to his lifelong professional commitment of serving the members of his union. Perhaps his greatest challenge came in the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Dave was tasked with supervising and running the Laborers’ command center during in the massive clean-up.  From September 13, 2001 until the official clean up ended on May 30, 2002, Dave headed the command center, where lead and fit tests were administered on a daily basis, all necessary personal equipment was distributed to members, and given the magnitude of the job and emotional issues the members faced, counseling and mental health support was provided to all who asked for help. 

In addition to leading the Mason Tenders District Council Bolger serves as a member of the Mason Tenders District Council Political Action Committee, as well as a trustee of the New York State Laborers’ PAC, and the New York State Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund, as well as the NYS Organizing Fund. He serves as a trustee of the Mason Tenders’ District Council Trust Funds, the MTDC Scholarship Fund, the Mason Tenders’ Training Fund and the Laborers’ Eastern Region Organizing Fund, LEROF.  Additionally, Dave is an executive board member of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.    

2024 Irish Labor Awards