Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America since 2000, will be retiring effective April 30, the union has announced. Succeeding O’Sullivan will be LIUNA Vice President Brent Booker, a third-generation member of the union.

O’Sullivan, 67, announced his retirement to the union’s general executive board on March 21, which then unanimously elected Booker as his successor. LIUNA formally announced the changes on March 28. With more than 500,000 members, the union is one of the largest among the building trades.

Booker, 48, had been LIUNA’s director of construction until 2012, when he shifted to the North America’s Building Trades Unions as general secretary-treasurer.

Booker moved back to LIUNA last fall and was named a vice president after Vice President Ralph Cole retired.

Brent Booker

Brent Booker has long-standing family ties to the union. His father, Carl E. Booker, was LIUNA’s general secretary-treasurer. Brent Booker’s grandfather, Carl W. Booker, was business manager of the union’s Local #795.  

In another change in LIUNA's leadership team, the board unanimously elected Michael F. Sabitoni as general secretary-treasurer. He will replace Armand E. Sabitoni, who is retiring after more than 22 year in that position.

Michael Sabitoni has been a LIUNA vice president and business manager of the Rhode Island Laborers’ District Council. The Sabitonis are cousins.

Longtime Infrastructure Advocate

Within the union, organizing has been one of O’Sullivan’s top priorities. LIUNA’s spending on organizing programs has risen to $100 million a year from less than $2 million annually, according to the union.

O’Sullivan also has sought to reinforce LIUNA's political presence. For years, he has been a key player in pushing for federal infrastructure legislation, most recently in the drive to develop and pass the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

In O'Sullivan's years as the laborers' general president, the union also has significantly increased its contributions to political candidates. According to the nonprofit political spending research organization OpenSecrets, LIUNA’s political contributions jumped to $24.1 million in the 2020 presidential election cycle, from $3.6 million in the 2000 cycle.

LIUNA has sent the vast majority of its political campaign spending to Democratic candidates, including 87% in 2022.  

However, O'Sullivan broke with the administration of President Obama, whose elections he strongly supported, by advocating for the continued development of oil and natural gas in the U.S.

O'Sullivan also backed building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama canceled in 2015, and President Trump sought to revive via an executive order two years later. In 2021, President Biden revoked the pipeline's permit.