John Penn to retire after 58 years as a Laborer

Springfield, IL— LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) General President Terry O’Sullivan has announced that David A. Frye will serve as the new Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager to lead Laborers in a 10-state region including Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. Frye will replace John F. Penn, who is retiring after 58 years of service.

Penn’s years of service

Penn became a Union Laborer at the age of 16. After serving his country as an Airman in Vietnam, he returned to the workforce, became Business Manager of Local 362 in 1976, Great Plains Laborers’ District Council Business Manager in 1994, and Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager in 2007. Penn built on the region’s success and worked tirelessly on behalf of the many working members, retirees, and veterans in LIUNA, not to mention his numerous contributions to the community. His example has led many to become more involved in community programs like the Special Olympics, youth centers like the YMCA and YWCA, and more. As a Laborer and leader, John’s commitment to bettering the lives of his fellow Laborers has never been stronger.

An article from the Bloomington-Normal, IL., newspaper The Pantagraph on the retirement reception for John F. Penn is available here.

Photos from the retirement reception for John F. Penn.

Frye to take the lead

Frye is a 37-year member of LIUNA Local 120 in Indianapolis. A third-generation Laborer, Frye was born and raised in Martinsville, IN, and went to work in the union on his 18th birthday. In 1994, he was appointed to the Local 120 Executive Board. That same year, Frye became a Local 120 Field Representative, Business Manager in March 2003, and Business Manager–Secretary/Treasurer of the Indiana Laborers’ District Council in 2014.

Frye’s reputation as a problem solver was quickly put to the test as Indiana had turned “right to work” two years earlier. “David was able to win back most of the concessions lost in the right to work fight,” said John Penn, “and keep Indiana in the top 10 construction states despite those challenges.”

David Frye has championed work zone safety and diversity in the work force. He has unified the Laborers in the state of Indiana into a single-minded force to take on all competition and he is dedicated to improving the lives of Laborers and all working people.

More information about the LIUNA Midwest Region is available at

David A. Frye