October 2012

On November 6, Cast a Ballot for Union Ironworkers

Safe working conditions, better wages, healthcare, a higher standard of living for you and your family, a retirement with dignity, respect, and a voice in the workplace. These were many of the reasons our union was formed and grew over the past 116 years. Somewhere in this mix is one or more of the reasons you chose to become a union ironworker.

Regardless of the reasons, our future and your future are under attack and at risk. This election, the choice is clear, and although it takes the form of President Obama vs. Mitt Romney, or endorsed candidates vs. others; it is the eternal battle of working people and their union - our union - against an economic vision rewarding the wealthiest one percent for starving the rest.

Under the Ryan plan, endorsed by Romney and passed by the Republican House of Representatives, Mitt Romney would have paid less than one percent in federal taxes. His windfall would be paid for with more taxes on you, higher deficits, and the elimination of many of the programs supporting working families. We will pay more and they will pay less for a government that provides the security, the roads, the infrastructure, and the democracy subsidizing their success.

But the fundamental debate is not one of taxes - that's a fairness issue - but the threat to the basic rights of workers to organize, to stand up for their future, and to have a respected voice in their workplace - freedoms to which all workers should be entitled. Whether it is in the United States or Canadian provinces, the far right agenda is targeting our very right to exist. The hypocrisy of their arguments defies logic. The same candidates who tout freedom of speech do not want you to have a voice in the workplace. Exercise your freedom of assembly, but not if you want a union. You can carry a gun, but not a union card. The same defenders of states' rights are proponents of federal Right-to-Work (for less) legislation. They give corporate incentives to off-shore jobs, but cut off unemployment benefits. The insincerity of their beliefs is only exceeded by the deceit of their words and the greed of their actions.

Up until Election Day, you will be bombarded with a barrage of ads full of lies and innuendoes fueled by the unlimited purses of corporate giants and the ultra-rich. Resist the 15-second allure of sound bites from the media mavens designed to sway your opinion. Fight back by viewing their record, their positions, and the effect those can have on your ability to provide for your family as a union ironworker. It is what we, as a union, do before we support or recommend any candidate. Look to your elected local union leaders for information you can trust regarding their experiences with area legislators or politicians. Our agenda is you and the economic well-being of your family.

With your help, I am confident that we will re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for a second term, a Congress of labor-friendly representatives, and state and local leaders seeking solutions to our problems.

Thank you for helping to build our great union.