In the 1860’s an organization of Boilermakers and Blacksmiths was formed in Pittsburgh and other cities of Pennsylvania. In 1866 New Orleans, Louisiana (presumably on a government contract) Boilermakers struck for an eight hour day and they were successful however, the men gradually dropped out and the organization was disbanded.
In 1879, the Boilermakers of San Francisco organized the Boilermakers League of the Pacific Coast and demanded an increase in pay and being refused they went on strike and after three weeks they were successful.
Chicago organized in 1880, as did St. Paul, Minnesota and other cities. In October 1880, representatives of nine lodges met in Chicago, Illinois. At this first convention, a constitution and by-laws was adopted and the title of National Boiler Makers Protective and Benevolent Union was established. There were about 1,000 members. The Chicago Union demanded an increase in wages early in 1881, and being refused they went on strike and after six weeks won out.