November 2014

A Number of Priorities

It has been three months since General Secretary Eric Dean, Executive Director of Safety Steve Rank and I delivered an emergency webcast to all local unions and contractors regarding the loss of eight brother ironworkers during the first seven months of this year. (Available on both the Iron Worker and IMPACT websites). To date, even with more man-hours worked, we have not suffered another tragic loss. Thank you for your increased vigilance and commitment to safety, but we need to re-double those efforts if we are to finish the year strong with a string of zeros.

As this issue goes to press, we are in the closing days of the 2014 elections when it comes down to Get-Out-The-Vote. I wish to thank all of our members across North America who went to the polls and instilled the precious right of democracy in their family and friends to let their voice be heard in the halls of government. Given the possibility of a new U.S. Congress, we will have to continue our fight to protect and secure the middle class’ right to fair wages, a voice in the workplace and a future for your families.

The value that you bring to the projects we build speaks for itself. Your skills, training and work ethic provide our signatory contractors the ability to deliver projects on time and within budget. It builds the foundation for our growth but only if we embrace the vision of a larger, stronger union. The opportunities abound as we rebuild our nations and will outstrip our existing membership if we do not expand apprenticeship programs and organize the unorganized and their contractors. IMPACT and our business development initiatives are opening doors that have been closed for decades, but it is up to us to deliver the workforce needed, a union workforce. There is a role in our future for each and every one of you. Know a young man or woman who you believe has what it takes to be a good ironworker? Send them our way. Know a journeyman who has left the trade? Let them know that work is available. Know an unorganized ironworker or craftsman? Send them our way. Does your community have returning veterans? We have a future for them. Do you have apprentices or probationary ironworkers in your gang? Instill your pride and safe working skills in them. Working with organized journeymen? Show them the brotherhood that makes us all strong. Your future is tied to them. Larger market share means more bargaining strength and more jobs for everyone. In 1980, we had 7.5 active journeymen for each retiree. Today it is 2.85 active journeymen for each retiree. Your retirement security depends on growth.

We offer our sincere thanks to all veterans for their heroic service to our nations. Whether you are celebrating Veterans Day in the United States or Remembrance Day in Canada, it is a day that we reflect on those who served and our debt to them. That debt is reflected in our support of our troops and to Helmets to Hardhats upon their return. Thank you for your service and welcome home.

I wish you and your families a joyous Thanksgiving holiday. Thank you for helping to build our great union.