The history of the Barbers and Beauticians Association can be traced back to the formation of the American Federation of Labor itself. The Association, then known as the Journeymen Barbers’ Protective Union, played an important role in the foundation of the AFL and was present at its founding meeting in 1886 in Columbus, Ohio.
A year later, barbers from New York, Michigan and Ohio met and formed the Journeymen Barbers’ International Union of America, which was later renamed the Barbers’, Beauticians and Allied Industries International Association.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the Association’s membership had grown to over 3,000, and established its headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. By 1930, the Association had over 50,000 members.
The economic standards as well as the working conditions for barbers and beauticians has dramatically improved since the union’s founding, and continued to improve after the union merged with the United Food and Commercial Workers in September 1980. In 1987, after strong pressure from the UFCW, the U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health expanded hazard communication standards to provide information and training for hair care workers, further bettering the working environment for barbers and beauticians.