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LABOR DAY MESSAGE - (8/6/2010)


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope you and your families are surviving this terrible economic downturn. I wish I had better news to report, but unfortunately the road ahead of us continues to look uncertain. This new level of economic distress is in the process of becoming the new norm. If I were to predict in 2008 that one in three construction workers would be unemployed and that the average unemployment period would exceed 40 weeks in 2010, I would have been looked at as unstable and insane. The reality is that we are living under those conditions today.

Even as the work begins to return, we are going to be faced with many obstacles.The advocates of the open-shop business model, headed by the Associated Builders and Contractors (and trumpeted by Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, et. al.), believe strongly that such an approach works best for the benefit of the construction customer, the workers and American taxpayers.  The creation of a rogue union (employers union) that preaches that they are the new alternative to costly union construction workers has now organized several tile companies. The rise in skill levels of the non union worker during our last boom, now gives them the opportunity to build 40 story buildings in New York City. Even our traditional developers and general contractors, who have traditionally built 100% union, are insisting we reduce our wages and concede to certain conditions. They have threatened to go to the “open shop model” if we do not comply.  This is the concept behind the "race to the bottom" that is eroding our wage and benefit structures in the construction industry today.       

There are several challenges ahead of us. I am asking each of the members to take the first step. During this Labor Day holiday I am asking all members to reflect and reconnect with our heritage. Take the time to rekindle the values and principles for which the American labor movement stands for. We can start by engaging in a dialogue about the “value” that unions provide to society. Discuss with your friends and relatives about the changes and new innovations being implemented on a daily basis, through our union in order to increase our value. Demonstrate on a daily basis the “value” that we bring, through our words and deeds, to building a sound American economy. As a union worker we have to justify the additional expense that the employer has taken on by having a unionized workforce, and to demonstrate the value that we bring to the employer.  Understand that no one is “entitled” to anything simply because they are a member of a union. Follow the motto that “we will give a fair day’s work, for a fair day’s pay.” Put simply, union workers have to be better, in every way imaginable, than their competitors in the non-union sector. Talk about the value of our apprenticeship and training programs that provides a pathway for secure and prosperous careers for people of all backgrounds and status, and as a result produces a professional skilled workforce for the future. In this environment the union worker can establish renewed relevancy in the minds of the public. This will be our opportunity to cast aside old, outdated misperceptions and emerge with a new identity that demonstrates the value that we offer to the overall success and endurance of the economy and society as a whole.

If we become determined like never before to demonstrate to the world, the developers and contractors in our industry; the politicians; the media; and the general public, the value that can be obtained when they partner with the world’s safest, most highly trained and productive workforce, the members of the Building and Construction Trades, we will once again return to the lifestyles that we have become accustomed to.

We are the most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth with the most elite workforce in the world. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of rebuilding the American Labor Movement. We are one of the last industries in the United States that can use the stamp on our products "MADE IN AMERICA"

As we implement new strategies  over the next few months we must live by the old slogan 'United we stand and divided we fall"


The Staff at Local 7 would like to thank the membership for staying loyal to our Union during these hard times.

May God bless “you, your family, and America.”

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