Sean McGarvey started his building trades career with the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) in 1981 in Philadelphia. He subsequently worked his way up through various IUPAT leadership positions. In 2005, Sean was elected Secretary-Treasurer of NABTU, and in 2012, he was unanimously elected to NABTU’s office of president. Sean is a respected union construction thought leader among labor, government, corporate, and private sectors. He has dedicated his life to improving the economic security and career opportunities of current and future construction workers and their families, and his fervent commitment has strengthened NABTU’s impact and value to owners, contractors and whole communities.
A graduate and proponent of construction registered apprenticeship, Sean has led the development and expansion of Apprenticeship Readiness Programs to recruit more communities of color, women, veterans, indigenous people and the justice-involved into the building trades. Alongside NABTU’s governing board of presidents, he has established Capital Strategies, an expansive program to advance high-road standards in procurement practices and grow partnerships with top Wall Street and Bay Street investment firms supporting job-creating enterprises in commercial, industrial, and residential construction and public-private infrastructure. Throughout his tenure, Sean’s steady bipartisan approach to policy and politics has navigated the building trades through some of the toughest fights to protect and advance labor, training, and industry standards, lower barriers to entry for new energy infrastructure and promote investment in rebuilding public infrastructure.
Sean serves on several private and public sector boards, including the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), Ullico, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, Tradesfutures, CMRAVE/Helmets to Hardhats, CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, and the National Coordinating Committee for Multi-Employer Plans (NCCMP). Sean chairs the Democratic Treasurers Association Labor Council and co-chairs labor-management committees of the American Petroleum Institute, American Chemistry Council, Southern Company-NABTU LMCC, and the Nuclear Power LMCC.
Sean has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, is a graduate of the Harvard University Trade Union Program, and is a member of the National Academy of Construction. Married to his lovely wife, Shari, Sean has two daughters, two stepdaughters, and four grandchildren named Lucas, Leah, Liam, and Finnegan.