November 9, 2016
Dear Building Trades Leader:
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the tremendous hard work and dedication that you exhibited during this election season.
Obviously, we are disappointed that our endorsed candidate, Hillary Clinton, did not win last night. But, as we all know, in politics nothing is ever certain.
We did our best. And we drove home our message to our members about Hillary's support for infrastructure, a sound and reasonable energy policy, and her strong support for wage and benefit standards for our industry through vehicles such as prevailing wage laws and project labor agreements.
But our collective membership and their families have been besieged by a set of challenges that extend over a period of decades, notwithstanding the devastating depression they endured from 2007-2012, and from which many are still not fully recovered.
In many cases, their wages – adjusted for inflation – have remained stagnant for years. At the same time, their health care contributions have been steadily rising, as well as additional contributions to shore up their pension plans.
And as they look around at the industry in which they have chosen their careers, they oftentimes see unchecked abuses, such as misclassification of workers, weakened federal and state labor laws, and abuses of our visa system that undermines our collective ability to compete on a level playing field.
Perhaps most importantly, they maintain a feeling of political alienation. They have worked for and supported members of both political parties who time and again made commitments to promulgate policies that would help level that playing field. And in far too many cases, those commitments were never fulfilled.
You can think of your own examples. The Employee Free Choice, or a prolonged debate to pass a long-overdue and flawed highway bill, are two that come to mind.
Simply put, they have become fed up with endless election year promises by politicians of both parties that never come to fruition.
All Americans in our democracy have their opportunity to let their voices be heard on these and other issues, and that was November 8th.
And the results are in.
So, now it is time to move on.
Of course, I realize that politics is important to the economic trajectory of our members and their families. But I also understand that most of the issues we face we can solve ourselves.
So, I ask that each of you continue to engage in your communities in order to create the ladders of opportunity for women, communities of color and military veterans through our training infrastructure.
I ask you to continue to engage with industry partners and the buyers of construction services in order to promote our value proposition that creates job opportunities for our members and our future members.
And I ask you to continue to be civic leaders in your communities and, yes, to continue to stay engaged in the political and legislative process for the issues that are germane to the economic well-being of our members and their families.
In Washington, DC, we will do the same.
We will attempt to work with new Administration and new Congress to push for:
·A robust and comprehensive infrastructure investment program;
·A sound and reasonable national energy policy;
·Legislation that provides the needed tools to shore up our multi-employer pension plans
·A curb on visa abuse; and
·Modifications to the Affordable Health Care Act, and health and safety protections
Again, I am thankful for the work that you put in during this election cycle. But more than that, I am proud of each and every one of you for the work that you do every day to make North America's Building Trades Unions the success that it is today.
And please convey my thanks to the rank and file membership in your council.
Thank you and God Bless you.
With kind, personal regards, I am,
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