2015 Award Winner

James Boland

The officers and directors congratulate James Boland as the 2015 Debs Award recipient.

Mr. Boland is President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. He has been a member of the BAC Executive Board since 1995, became BAC President in February 2010, and was elected to a five-year term in September 2010. Boland served first as an Executive Vice President until June 1999, when he was named Secretary-Treasurer, a position to which he was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2005.

After becoming a BAC member in 1977, Boland spent the next decade working on commercial projects in the San Francisco Bay area in brick, block, stone, and marble. He became Business Agent in 1988 and then President in 1992 of BAC Local 3 California. One year later he was appointed to serve as a member of the International Union’s highest advisory body, the BAC Executive Council.

In 1994 Boland was named to the International Union’s headquarters staff as Assistant to the Vice President for Operations overseeing trade jurisdiction matters. Later that year, he was asked to take on the added field responsibilities of BAC Regional Director for California and Nevada, a position he held until his election to the Executive Board in 1995.

As International Union President, Boland’s responsibilities include formulating and supervising the IU’s programs and activities consistent with the policies established by the IU Convention and in accordance with the Union’s Constitution.

In addition to his Executive Board responsibilities, Boland serves as Co-Chair of the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the training and industry development arm of the organized masonry industry. He is a Trustee of both the International Trowel Trades Pension Fund (IPF) and the International Health Fund (IHF), and serves as Co-Chair of the BAC Canadian Congress.

President Boland is a Vice President of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, and serves on these AFL-CIO Committees: International Affairs; Legislation / Policy; Political; and Immigration. He is a member of the Governing Board of Presidents of the Building and Construction Trades (BCTD) Department, AFL-CIO. In addition, he serves on the General Presidents’ Committee on Contract Maintenance and the National Joint Heavy and Highway Committee. He is also on the Boards of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, ULLICO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the National Labor College.

He studied at University College Dublin and is a 1996 graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Program.

2015 Awards Musical Guest


Dana Lyons

Dana Lyons is the singer/songwriter best known for his dynamic performances and outrageous hit songs “Cows With Guns,” “RV” and “Ride The Lawn.” A global radio and web hit, “Cows With Guns” was #1 for the year on Dr. Demento, #2 on the Australian Country charts, #1 in Seattle and spent six months on the Irish Top 40.

This Bellingham based singer-songwriter has been entertaining and enlightening audiences around the world for nearly 30 years. Music and storytelling connect people and events in powerful ways, and Dana’s performances do so brilliantly. Whether his audience is a dozen children at a house party, hundreds of activists and dignitaries at the Elwha Dam removal ceremony, or thousands of music lovers attending Folklife, every performance is a celebration of life on earth, fueled by his infectious music, sharp wit, keen observation and warm heart.

Dana’s music style includes a bit of everything; his biggest radio hit, “Cows With Guns,” receives crossover radio play on country, rock, alternative, community, college and oldies radio stations worldwide. He has nine releases to date, including his latest, The Great Salish Sea, released in March 2014.