What is a Boilermaker?

What Is a Boilermaker?

This question comes up often, and elicits numerous different answers. The fact is that the word has more than one definition. For example, a “boilermaker” might be:

Anyone who works in the boiler construction or repair trade
A member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers
A Purdue University student or alumni
A shot and a beer

The first two are the ones we will discuss here.

Members of Our Union

Any member of The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers may call himself or herself a Boilermaker, and many do even though they do not actually work in boiler construction and repair. Many also refer to themselves by some other trade our union represents through its many divisions. So you may hear our members refer to themselves as blacksmiths, forgers, ship builders, cement workers, stove workers, metal polishers, or numerous other job descriptions.

Who We Represent

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers is a diverse union representing over 100,000 workers throughout the United States and Canada in construction, repair, maintenance, manufacturing, professional emergency medical services, and related industries. With its headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers unites 420 local lodges throughout North America, providing numerous services for local lodges and individual members and uniting all our members in our common endeavor to improve the lives and lifestyles of our members, and to promote and maintain harmonious working relationships with our contractors and owners.


We are a forward-thinking union that has established national funds for pensions, health and welfare, and an annuity trust for participating local lodges. We boast one of the best apprenticeship programs in America and partner in an award-winning alliance with construction industry contractors and owners that has created numerous union/management innovations for improved safety, manpower availability, training, and cost savings.

Founded on the principles of unity, progress and protection, we offer excellent representation services to promote the security, well-being and advancement of our members.