Edward R. ‘Bud’ Joyce: 1917-2013
Longtime bricklayers labor leader ‘lived and breathed union’
Edward R. “Bud” Joyce was a leader of what is now the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers — Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois for more than 25 years, first as business agent and later as secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Joyce was part of “a very labor family,” said his daughter, Maryellen Joyce. His grandfather, John T. Joyce, was one of the founders of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. His father, Edward, was president of what was then Bricklayers Local 21. And his brother, also John T., was president of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, based in Washington.
Mr. Joyce, 96, died of a stroke Monday, June 17, in the West Beverly home where he had lived for more than 60 years, according to his daughter.
He grew up in Chicago, joined his father’s union and went to work as a bricklayer soon after attending St. Rita High School.
He served in the Navy during World War II and was already married with children when he was drafted.
After the war, he continued to work as a bricklayer. He started and ran his own construction company, for a time seeing labor issues from the management side.
But the company was closed before he became a business agent for Local 21 around 1978.
As business agent, Mr. Joyce was a field representative for the union, dealing with employers, handling grievances and assisting members with problems, including helping them find work. He covered a territory that took in much of Cook County west of Western Avenue and south of Madison Street.
Michael Lowery met him about the time Mr. Joyce became a business agent.
“He was committed to the union,” said Lowery, who followed Mr. Joyce as a business agent and later succeeded him as secretary and treasurer.
Lowery recalled a time when he wasn’t paid for some work. “He went to bat for me and he got the contractor to pay me,” Lowery said.
Although he was a devout Catholic, Mr. Joyce’s commitment to the labor movement brought him into conflict with the Archdiocese of Chicago and some of its parishes over the hiring of nonunion contractors.
Lambert said he and Mr. Joyce distributed fliers at one church, informing parishioners coming to Sunday Mass of the church’s hiring of a nonunion contractor.
“Ed and I went after it pretty hard,” Lambert said. He noted that the two had done their homework, including research on papal encyclicals on the dignity and value of workers.
“He said it was union wages that allowed him to send his children to Catholic schools,” said Mr. Joyce’s son, Jim, also a bricklayer.
In 1998, Mr. Joyce became secretary and treasurer of his union. He retired about 10 years ago.
“He lived and breathed union — bought union, used union service people,” Jim Joyce said.
“He said if we expected to be paid union wages, we have to pay union wages.”
Mr. Joyce is also survived by sons Edward, Joseph, John and Thomas; 20 grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.
Mr. Joyce’s wife Mary died in 2009. They were married for 68 years.
Services were held.